Academy Conversion Introduction
In October 2011, the Leeds Diocese published details of a way to take the Coalition government agenda for schools forward. The CES (Catholic Education Service) were deliberately slow in responding as the Catholic Sector wanted to protect certain advantages which VA (Voluntary Aided) status brings. For example the fact that the headteacher, deputies and head of RE must be practising Catholics. After working with the DFE, Diocese across the country have different models. In Leeds it is a Catholic Multi Academy Trust. The Diocese split the 93 schools into 5 areas who could form mini trusts.
The two secondary schools (St. Mary's Menston and St. John Fisher, Harrogate) work very well with their partner primary schools, but there is not a tradition of working between the areas. The diocese have stressed that if a school wishes to consider Academy Status, they can only do so within the prescribed trust. One of the principles around this decision is that no school is left behind.
There is no doubt that there are changes that will occur if a school decides to become an academy. However for VA schools, the changes are not as far reaching as community schools. For example, the governors of the school already employ staff and they work under a CES contract. The staff continue to work under a CES contract and be employed by the Trust.
The Schools concerned are clear that the Local Governing Body will be central to the leadership of the school, and the times of the school day, Uniform, name of the school etc. stay the same.