Schools rated ‘outstanding’, or ‘good’ with one or more outstanding features, by Ofsted in their last inspection that want to convert to become an Academy will need to follow this process:
1. Registration. Complete an on-line registration form. The Department will contact you directly with further guidance and documentation. The person who contacts you will be your named support throughout the process. The Governing Body may wish to start the statutory consultation with interested parties about becoming an Academy (the consultation can start later but must be completed before the Funding Agreement can be signed).
2. Application to convert/eligibility checks. Submit a short application to convert form, including the confirmation of the Governing Body resolution; the agreement of your Foundation and Trustees and those entitled to appoint foundation governors (if applicable); and confirmation of your ‘outstanding’, or ‘good’ with outstanding features, rating from Ofsted. You will also discuss with your named contact your in-principle agreement to support another school to help raise standards. The Secretary of State will confirm whether he is content for your school to proceed to the next stage and, if he is, he will make an Academy Order. The current employer of the school staff starts the formal TUPE process at this stage, prior to the funding agreement being signed.
3. Obtaining funding agreement. The Department will support the Governing Body and headteacher to ensure that all legal documents are completed relating to governance, land, property and staff transfer and company registration. The Governing Body must complete the statutory consultation with interested parties about becoming an Academy before they and the Secretary of State sign the Funding Agreement. This stage of the process is completed when the Academy Trust and the Secretary of State sign the Funding Agreement for the Academy. The Funding Agreement will stipulate the date when the Academy will open and the local authority will cease to maintain the school from that date. The current employer of the school staff will continue (and ideally complete) the TUPE process.
Pre-opening. The Governing Body will need to finalise matters in preparation for the Academy opening. This will include setting up new contractual arrangements as required and completing registrations.
Length of time to convert to an Academy. Schools can complete the conversion process at their chosen pace. We expect the four steps to take a minimum of three months, but it may take longer if there are complicated issues to resolve. Currently schools can convert on the 1st day of the month. From April 2011 schools will need to convert at the beginning of a school term. It is not necessary to follow these steps in sequence. Depending on how quickly schools wish to convert, they may need to undertake some steps in parallel to ensure that the necessary work is complete before a school converts to an Academy.