As you may already be aware, International School has applied to become an academy under the Academies Act 2010 and is proposing to join Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust.
Further information about what becoming an academy means and how to comment on the proposals is set out below:
Will International School become an Academy?
The Interim Executive Board has received an academy order from the Secretary of State approving it to become an academy and is working towards a conversion date of 1 January 2017. However, the school is not obligated to become an academy until the contract between the academy trust and the Department for Education (known as the Funding Agreement) is signed.
The academy trust will not sign the Funding Agreement until parents and carers of pupils at the school, staff at the school, and pupils themselves have had the opportunity to comment on the proposals. We have written to all parents and carers and have also invited them to a meeting on Thursday 13th October 2016 4pm – 5pm, to learn more about the proposals to become an academy, or to comment on the proposals.
We will hold meetings with staff, and will be keeping pupils informed throughout the process.
Any comments or representations which are made about the proposals will be considered by the academy trust before a decision is taken to sign the Funding Agreement. Details of how to provide comments and representations are set out below.
The academy trust will not sign the Funding Agreement unless they are content that conversion would be in the best interests of the school taking account of all the legal and practical ramifications.
What is an academy?
An academy is essentially an independent school which is funded by the state. It is independent of the local authority and receives its funding direct from central government.
It is proposed that International School will become an academy part of Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust. This means that the school will be part of an academy group comprising Washwood Heath Academy, Brownmead Academy, Saltley Academy and Gossey Lane Acadmey.
What are the benefits of being an academy?
In the school’s opinion the benefits are numerous:
academies are independent of the local authority control – this means that academies have more freedom about how they conduct themselves
academies receive their funding direct from central government – this means that academies receive more funding because none is retained by the local authority for the provision of central services
academies have more freedom over the curriculum taught – this means that academies do not need to teach parts of the National Curriculum which they do not consider appropriate for their pupils
academies can set their own pay and conditions of service for their staff – academies have the freedom to alter the pay and conditions of their staff (subject to normal employment law protections for staff) and so can provide staff with better pay and conditions than previously
academies have more freedom to undertake innovative projects – such as setting and utilising trading subsidiaries
Are there any disadvantages to becoming an academy?
Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust will be directly liable for matters such as insurance, employment, pensions, health and safety, and property maintenance. However, as mentioned above, academies receive more funding from central government to help them meet these additional costs, and in any event, Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust already deals with these matters for Washwood Heath Academy, Brownmead Academy, Saltley Academy and Gossey Lane Academy.
Will the admissions arrangements change?
International School admissions arrangements are set by the local authority, and the local authority also decides which pupils should be offered places at the school. As an academy, Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust will put in place admission arrangements, and decide which pupils should be offered places in accordance with those arrangements. The academy will still be bound by the national Admissions Code, and Admissions Appeals Code.
The current admissions arrangements will remain in place for the time being. If the academy wanted to change its admission arrangements consultation would be required.
Will staff leave?
If the school converts to an academy, all staff currently employed by the local authority will automatically transfer to the new academy on their current pay and conditions. Although the academy will have more freedom to amend those pay and conditions in the future, the Academy Trust does not intend to take such a step in the foreseeable future and in any event, any change to pay and conditions would need to be consulted upon with staff representatives.
Will International School Change?
We do not intend to change International School except in ways which we think will improve the school even more. For students, it is unlikely that they will see much, if any, change in their day to day school lives. Academies do have the power to vary their curriculums and vary the length of the school day; however, it is not intended to take any such steps at this stage and would engage with parents/carers, staff and student if we did ever intend to make such changes in the future. We do propose changing the name of the school from The International School to Tile Cross Academy and would welcome your thoughts on this proposed name change
How can I find out more?
A meeting will be held at the school Thursday 13th October 4pm – 5pm. We would encourage you to attend if you have any questions, or simply want to learn more.
There is also more information about academies on the DfE website:
If you cannot find the answer to your question here, or on the DfE website, and cannot attend the meeting please email firstname.lastname@example.org who will try to assist.
How can I make representations?
The closing date for representations to be made Friday 4th November 2016. Representations can be made in writing to:
WHMAT Board of Directors
Please mark the envelope with ‘Academy’