Dunchurch Infant likely to be the first of many academies in Rugby as state support ceases

editorial image
Share this article

Dunchurch Infant School could be the first of many to convert to academy status as expert education advice is no longer available for schools from Shire Hall.

According to the school, Warwickshire County Council has scaled back its school improvement team from 40 to below five as part of spending cuts. The school - rated ‘good’ by Ofsted - claims there is now little specialist advice for schools to fall back on.

According to consultation documents, conversion to an academy could solve the problem by giving teachers access to expert services.

It could be the start of many state-run schools converting to academies and buying expert advice en masse, as support from Shire Hall is no longer available unless schools are considered to be failing.

Last year Newbold primary in Rugby became an academy sponsored by the London-based trust REAch2, meaning that the trust was granted a 125-year lease on the school’s capital assets such as land and buildings.

While the trust cannot run the school for profit, it does control the school’s finances and provide human resources, payroll, insurance and estates management services through its business partnership with Strictly Education, a profit-making organisation part of the Bond International Software corporation.

A new consultation document on the school’s website this week tackles many questions put forward by parents.

It explains that the school would still have control over its curriculum. It states: “REAch2 operate on a policy of earned autonomy.

“This means they do not interfere in the day-to-day running of the school, unless a school is struggling. Clearly this is not the case at our school.

“We would still have autonomy over how we implement our new curriculum.”

On the subject of the school’s governing body, it said that governors on the existing body would not be replaced, but that four would be appointed by the trust.

“There would be four Trust Governors appointed by REAch2 – these are often the same governors as on the existing governing body, but these governors are not elected, they are appointed.

“There are then two staff governors elected, two parent governors elected, the headteacher and up to three other co-opted Governors.”

A Warwickshire County Council spokesperson added: “All schools, regardless of whether they have academy status or not, have a controllable budget. Rather than a budget cut, the government now gives money to schools rather than the local authority.”

The school’s consultation will conclude on December 20 and a final decision will be made by governors in January.