Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Claremont Well On the Way to Academy Conversion

It appears that the governing body of Claremont High School has moved further along the academy road than I had realised. The Additional Governing Body meeting of February 9th heard representations from the education unions, which mainly focused on changes in pay and conditions and school governance.  The issue of the impact on other schools and the Brent education budget as a whole does not appear to have been addressed

After the union representatives left the governing body went on to discuss conversion to an academy in more detail.  The governors decided not to enter into an open debate between the school leadership and the leadership, in front of staff,  with both taking questions from the staff, as this would give the impression that 'the staff would be voting for or against the conversion and effectively making the decision'.

On salaries and conditions of service,  governors were told that there was no intention to move away from national agreements but no 100% guarantee could be given that this would not happen in the future. It was pointed out that the school had already lost staff to a local academy because they were offered better salaries and conditions: 'the market force is already in evidence and teachers are taking an active part in it'.

Addressing financial aspects Mr Malloy, headteacher, told governors that on initial calculations the school was facing a deficit out-turn of £179,000. When cuts had been made but staffing levels maintained the deficit would be £53,000. He went on to claim that if the school converted to academy status it would receive an additional £657,000 top-sliced from the Brent schools' budget.  In addition there would be a £25,000 one-off start-up grant.  There is no record of any discussion about the impact on other schools. Indeed earlier in the meeting the governors agreed  that they could not predict or influence the government's agenda  and 'their only focus is Claremont High and what is best for the future of the school'.

The governors considered a paper on the next steps in the conversion process that had been drawn up by a firm of lawyers experienced in advising schools converting to academy status. The governing body agreed to delegate authority to a committee to work with the legal team on employment, finances, Trust and articles. Legal fees were expected to be between £12,000 and £13,000.

Governors decided to defer decisions about membership of the Academy Trust until roles and responsibilities were clearer and advice had been sought on the levels of liability members would have. The first meeting of the Trust was scheduled for March 10th when the governing body meets. This meeting would decide on membership.  It was suggested that the funding agreement might be ready by March 10th, to be implemented by April 1st 2011.

Since the governing body meeting, governors have been circulated with Articles of Association of  Claremont High School Academy Trust and were asked to send comments in by last Friday so that it could be registered with Company's House yesterday or today.

Tomorrow's meeting at Kenton Methodist Church should be very interesting!

Documentation on Claremont's Academy Conversion can be found on the school's website HERE


Martin Francis said...

If Claremont does become an Academy it may face something of an identity crisis. 'Claremont Academy' is an on-line game:

"Claremont Academy is a private school for metahumans set in the metropolis of Freedom City, TX on the Texas Gulf Coast. Founded by the retired superhero and billionaire venture capitalist Duncan McNeil, Claremont is dedicated to the training and education of the heroes of the future. For more information, prospective student, take a look around!"

Claremont Students said...

That fact that Claremont High School is changing into an Academy seems to be a little wierd. Even after the change, students of claremont, those other than the 6th formers, still are unaware of the change and how it affects the whole economical effects of this. Over 70% of the staff at claremont were against this plan, and yet they were threatened to accept this plan.

Already claremont has to spend money on electrical repairs on the science block of the school. Hopefully, on behalf of the studetnts at claremont, none of this change should affects the teachers and the students at clarmeont.

Martin Francis said...

It is good to hear from you. I am a great believer in school students having a voice in decisions that affect them. Have Claremont students been consulted/informed about academy conversion? Have you had the chance to hear BOTH sides of the debate? One of the issues ignored when the discussion is only about the interests of one school is that extra money given to Claremont will come off the budget of other local schools. If ALL the secondary schools became academies the budgets of primnary schools would all be reduced.

Students at Nower Hill High School in Harrow have demonstrated in protest at not being adequately consulted about plans for 7 local high schools to become academies. See Wembley and Willesden/Harrow Observer this week or www.harrowobserver.co.uk