The view of Gloucester Diocesan Board of Education is that all Church of England schools should be proactive in planning for the future, in developing strong collaborative arrangements, and in considering options for conversion to academy status as part of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT).
Further to the initial announcement in the White Paper that all schools should become academies by 2022, the government has announced that it will not bring in legislation to enforce this. Nevertheless, is likely that the government will require all schools to convert to academies in due course.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the National Society and the Secretary of State is a good point of reference for schools to supplement the information contained in the policy and procedure developed by the Board of Education.
The Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust (DGAT) was set up in 2013 to provide a home for any CofE school wanting or needing to become an academy. This remains the case, however, the DBE acknowledges that a ‘one size fits all’ model may not be the most appropriate for all schools.
In the Diocese of Gloucester, schools have three options:
- Join the diocesan MAT (Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust)
- Establish their own MAT with other schools in their area
- Join an existing MAT, whether Church of England or “mixed”
In all cases of voluntary conversion, the DBE’s legal consent to proceed is required. This is not automatic and should not be assumed. The DBE will consider each request individually. The policy and procedure outlines the options open to schools.
Gloucester Diocesan Board of Education Policy on the Academisation of C of E Schools
Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust
The Diocese has established its own multi-academy Trust. Any school exploring the possibility of academy conversion is invited to visit The Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust website. The Trust’s vision is to be able to offer ‘a home’ to a family of schools who want to benefit from academy status but value the added benefits of being part of a larger ‘family’. This can provide exciting opportunities for staff to come together and work collaboratively, supporting their own professional development for the benefit of the pupils they serve.
In addition to strengthening the already well established relationship that church schools have with the Diocese, the Trust will support schools with many of the additional responsibilities and opportunities associated with academy conversion.
Whether academy conversion is appropriate for a school is very much dependant upon the school’s local context and governing bodies need to carefully consider whether academy conversion has the potential to improve outcomes for the children they serve.
For further information, support and advice about academy conversion, please contact Rachel Howie.