Please see below Correspondence from Martin Straker Welds –
School Collaborations and Partnerships
I asked Colin Diamond, Executive Director (Education) for an aide-memoire that addresses the following 11 key questions about academy conversions. He has produced a measured response that attempts to separate myth form reality through a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS).
- The Advantages: Inter-school collaboration is wholly constructive. However, a MAT is not the only vehicle for creating a partnership or federation. A range of alternatives already exist. All of these are capable of securing economies of scale, stronger professional collaboration and benefits for students’ learning.
- Added Value: Such collaboration offers shared professional development in the interests of students, teachers and leaders. MATS may be the preferred option of the government, but should not be seen as the only option for school cooperation.
- Birmingham LA Services: HR, Finance, Payroll, Legal, IT, Asset Management are available for purchase by mainstream schools, academies and free schools.
- Estimated Cost: MATs vary. However, additional costs for auditing would be incurred. A sum would also be top-sliced to cover cost on behalf of its schools.
- Additional Funding: No enhanced funding is available as an incentive for conversion.
- Local Accountability: MATs do not insist on accountability to parent governors. Appointments would be based on specialist expertise rather than on whom governors represent.
- School Autonomy: MATs would decide whether school governors function in an advisory or executive capacity. Governance varies within MATs, a key issue for consultation with parents and community.
- Parental Influence: Consultation with parents is necessary before conversion to a MAT.
- Government Pressure: No compulsion is present, unless Ofsted judges a school to merit ‘special measures’. Academisation is not the only option for collaboration. Other current models include federations and cooperatives.
- LA Future: The demise of Birmingham LA is a myth. It retains legal responsibility for Early Years, Admissions & Placement, Special Educational Needs, Safeguarding and School Improvement.
- Admissions & Placement: Birmingham LA coordinates the admissions for all mainstream and most academies and free schools.
Please feel free to share this letter and the attached information with other parents and their action groups
With best wishes and many thanks for your commitment and support
Martin Straker Welds
Labour Councillor for Moseley & Kings Heath
Mobile: 07973 675 732
Document included in email from Martin Straker Welds