Our Reasons for considering Academy conversionPosted: 27/09/11
Did you know that around one third of secondary schools in England are either now academies or are in the process of becoming an academy? In 29 English Local Authorities, the majority of secondary schools are now academies. In Hounslow three have recently converted and another four including Chiswick are currently in or beyond the stage of formal consultation.
Our decision to consider Academy status for Chiswick Community School is not one that has been taken lightly. As an organisation we are focused on providing the very best opportunities for our students. In the current financial climate we need to assess carefully how to position the school to enable us to react to emerging realities with speed and agility, it is our considered opinion that Academy status puts us in the best position to do this effectively.
As an Academy we would receive funding direct from the government rather than via the local authority. We would be accountable for the effective use of this funding to the Secretary of State directly, and would in effect operate as a medium sized charitable organisation.
Admissions, exclusion procedures and the provision made for students with additional educational needs are protected by law; these would not change at Chiswick as a result of Academy conversion.
The promise of greater autonomy is a reason bandied about by converting schools, we feel that this is somewhat misleading; we already have a great degree of autonomy when making decisions that affect Chiswick students. No one knows the challenges faced by the school, students, parents or staff better than we do, and it is thus right and proper that the decision-making process should reside at the very heart of the organisation.
Financially there is no denying that we will be better off as an organisation as a result of Academy status, as money that would otherwise have been top-sliced to provide central services through the local authority, instead comes direct to the school. This allows us to decide where to purchase additional services and ensures a greater level of accountability. As the funding is also received by the school in one payment, this also provides a degree of financial transparency that will allow us to plan more effectively over the medium and long term.
We will not change our name as a result of conversion; the school will continue to be known as Chiswick Community School as we wish to continue to position ourselves at the very heart of the local community. We will continue to be an outward looking school, willing to share our expertise and strengths whilst at the same time being always ready to learn from the experience of others.
We have a vision for outstanding education that goes beyond the Ofsted definition, it is our belief that Academy status allows us to best position all aspects of the school to make this vision a reality.
T. Ryan - Headteacher
Andrew Dodge - Chair of Governors