Academies are classed as independent state schools that have the freedom to determine their own policies on such things as the curriculum taught, school hours, term dates and staff pay. They are accountable to the Secretary of State.
Academies are supported by their own Academy Trust, i.e. Wardle Trust, and are not the responsibility of the local council. Academies are given directly the money what would have been given to the council so they can choose how to spend the money in a way that will benefit them the most.
There are two types of Academies. Converter and Sponsored. Sponsors include businesses, charities, universities, FE colleges, faith bodies – there are a wide range. Sponsored Academies often aim to make a break with the past and develop a new vision for the school. Schools joining the Wardle Trust would be sponsored Academies.
Wardle closed as a high school and converted to academy status in September 2013. Staff, parents and students noticed little change, other than in the name of the school. Financially, the school benefited with approximately an 8% increase in its budget (individual schools will differ).
Based upon our experiences, the changes were as follows:-
Flexibility regarding the curriculum model.
Greater opportunities to support community initiatives.
Greater governing body effectiveness and accountability.
Control over resources and premises.
Additional funding to reinvest into the school.
We would hope that for schools joining the Trust, they too would benefit from these changes.
What would not change when joining the Wardle Trust:
The name of the school (other than ‘School’ being replaced by ‘Academy’).
Changes to staff pay and conditions.
Effective local leadership and governance.
The advantages of joining the Wardle Trust are outlined on the ‘benefits of joining’ page. We believe that sponsored status brings with it the additional support that comes from economies of scale, the sharing of resources, shared expertise and shared professional development.
The biggest change to the school is that it frees up time and enables the governors, school leadership and staff to focus exclusively upon the education of their children thereby maximising the opportunities for them to make good progress.