Following the Brent Labour Education Conference in January, more detailed questions from members and school governors are being asked especially in relation to individual schools. Here are some answers to FAQs.
What will be the impact on Brent children, schools and the local authority if more schools convert to academy status?
Schools are setting budgets at this time of unprecedented cuts to public services. To address the shortfall, some are considering the possibility of academy conversion to gain direct additional funding for services normally provided by the Local Authority.
It is vital to understand the repercussions, impacting on the whole education community:
· Risks of fragmentation and greater insularity as more schools become academies, providing a more difficult context for partnership working and collective solutions which have been a strong feature in Brent and a factor in achieving good outcomes for young people
· Brent Local authority still have statutory functions to fulfil which are of key importance such as
strategic planning of school places
tackling underperformance in schools and some pupils underachieving
meeting needs of vulnerable children ( SEN, LAC, excluded pupils)
co-ordination of admissions and operation of fair access protocols.
If more schools become academies, it will become increasingly difficult for the LA to meet these functions effectively for all schools whatever their status
· If more schools convert, the operation of the top slice will increasingly affect the LA capacity to provide viable services. This will have most impact on those schools who do not wish to pursue academy status with the risk of creating a two tier system
The LA believe that there will be overall adverse effects on children and young people if strong collaboration and collective responsibility is not maintained and if the LA education function reduces to the extent that statutory responsibilities cannot effectively be fulfilled
Brent’s policy is to deliver its duties and services in close partnership with the Family of Schools, currently made up of a mix of maintained, foundation, voluntary-aided and academy schools.