Trust – Academies and free schools

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Academies and free schools  How do academies and free schools fit in?

With the rapidly changing educational landscape and the heavy promotion of the new academies by the Coalition Government, a growing number of schools have approached us about a co-operative model for the ‘type 2’ academies. Whilst not advocating or promoting academies, we recognise that many schools are now seriously considering the option in view of local circumstances and competitive pressures, expectations from local authorities, and the financial advantages. As a result, a group of schools, some existing co-operative trust schools and some interested in a co-operative model for academies, are now working with the Co-operative College and Cobbetts to develop a model that retains the critical elements of co-operative schools identified through our work with trusts.
There are currently two ‘Type 1’ co-operative academies in Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent, with another opening soon in Leeds, sponsored by the Co-operative Group.
How will the co-operative model work in academies and free schools?
The co-operative model for academies will have a clear co-operative governance methodology that gives key stakeholders a central voice and role in ownership of the school (whilst recognising that for free schools those key stakeholder groups can vary).
The Articles of Government for the institution will embed an ethos of co-operation linked to the ICA Statement on the Co-operative Identity.
There will be a commitment to embed co-operation in the curriculum and pedagogy of the school.
Who can become an academy?
The DfE has announced that applications will now be considered for academy orders from maintained schools where one of the following applies:
The school’s Ofsted rating is good with outstanding features.
The school formally agrees to work in partnership with a low-performing school (or schools) to help drive improvement.
The school is a maintained special school rated outstanding by Ofsted.
The government is keen to spread academies into the primary sector.