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 recognises that for some within the Diocese of Gloucester family of schools this may lead to discussion about conversion to academy status as part of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT).
Schools choosing to convert to an academy or join a MAT
There is no current government policy or targets for local authority maintained schools to convert to an academy or join an academy trust, school leaders have been given the autonomy to decide what is best for their school and its community.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the National Society and the Secretary of State is a good point of reference for schools exploring academy status or joining a MAT supplement the information contained in the Gloucester Diocesan Board of Education Policy on the Academisation of C of E Schools
The Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust (DGAT) was established in 2012 to provide a home for any CofE school wanting or needing to become an academy. The DBE’s commitment to considering the application of any school from the Diocese of Gloucester to join DGAT remains , however, the DBE acknowledges that there are many Trust models now established within the Diocese and DGAT may not be the most appropriate or commercially viable for all schools.
In the Diocese of Gloucester, there are three options for schools to consider:
- Apply to join the diocesan MAT (Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust) – any school exploring the possibility of academy conversion is invited to visit The Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust website.
- Apply to establish their own MAT with other schools in their area
- Apply to join an existing MAT, whether Church of England or “mixed” MAT of Church of England and non-Church of England schools.
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 based upon the proposal received. is important that when schools begin considering academy conversion they contact the Diocesan Education Team at the earliest opportunity so that we can help, advise and support.. Gloucester Diocesan Board of Education Policy on the Academisation of C of E Schools outlines the procedure and options open to all schools.
Whether academy conversion and joining the diocesan MAT, setting up a new MAT or joining another MAT is appropriate for a school is very much dependent upon the school’s local context and governing bodies should carefully consider whether academy conversion has the potential to improve sustainable outcomes for the children they serve whilst maintain the school’s ethos and distinctive Christian vision.
For schools issued with an academy order by the Secretary of State for Education
If a school is issued an academy order by the Secretary of State for Education, the DBE will work in partnership with the Regional Schools Commissioner to ensure the robust protection of the religious character of the school.
Other options for collaboration
Schools may also consider establishing a federation or joining an existing federation. Establishing or joining an existing federation is a legal process set out in The School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2012. Federations have one governing body which maintains strategic oversight of all the schools in the federation. Schools retain their existing DfE status and independence, admissions continue to be determined by the local authority.
Schools wishing to establish or join an existing federation are required to publish their proposals to all key stakeholders. Once the federation is approved, a new Instrument of Government is implemented.
For further information, support and advice about academy conversion, please contact Rachel Howie.
Becoming an Academy: resources for maintained schools and academy trusts
The following resources have been produced by the Diocesan Education Team to provide information to help and support with conversations and decision-making about converting to an academy or joining an academy trust.
This glossary is your go-to for all things academy-related and will help you familiarise yourself with key terms and documents used within the conversion process.
The dates included in the documents below are important for Church of England schools within the Diocese of Gloucester considering conversion to an academy and/or joining an academy trust in the academic year 2021/22 to be aware of.
This flow chart provides a visual explanation of the process of applying for conditional consent to convert to an academy trust as set out in the Gloucester Diocesan Board of education Policy on the Academisation of Cof E schools.