School Leaders Get Academy Training
More than fifty Cumbrian headteachers and governors have attended events to find out more about the process of converting to an Academy.
Academy Status – How to Convert was held from 10am – 2pm at Carlisle Racecourse on 6th May and at the Newby Bridge Hotel on 13th May.
The sessions were hosted by the nationally recognised education law team at Burnetts, a Cumbrian law firm with offices in Carlisle and West Cumbria.
As well as straightforward explanations of the legal issues around the transfer of staff, land and contracts, and the options for collaboration between schools, the seminar also gave headteachers the chance to hear the first-hand experiences of Lesley Grace, Head of the Cumbria’s first new-style academy, Seaton Academy.
The sessions were chaired by Stephen Wilkinson, Headteacher of Queen Katherine School in Kendal, which became an Academy in April 2011.
Before the government introduced its Academies Act in 2010, Burnetts was already advising all the County’s Academies. Following the new legislation, Burnetts advised Seaton Infant School on its transformation into an Academy. At the time, Seaton Infant School was one of only 32 in England and Wales to take advantage of the new legislation which aimed to make it easier for schools to achieve Academy status. Since then the firm’s specialist Academy team has supported many more schools during their conversion including Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith and Trinity High School and Caldew High School in Carlisle.
John Noctor is Head of the Academies Team and a Partner at Burnetts. He said, "We have been extremely pleased with both the attendance and the feedback from both events. There is a lot of information available for schools but we could see that it was almost impossible for headteachers and governors to identify what were likely to be the key issues for them. We now have considerable experience in Academy conversions: we wanted to share that knowledge and also to make headteachers and governing bodies aware that the legal expertise they need to convert is right here in Cumbria."
Academies are publicly funded independent schools. Their independence from the local authority allows them to set their own pay and conditions for staff, change the lengths of terms and school days and also gives freedom from following the National Curriculum.
From left to right. Stephen Wilkinson Headteacher of Queen Katherine School in Kendal, Caroline Redhead and Hazel Phillips, both Associate Solicitors at Burnetts, Lesley Grace, Headteacher at Seaton Academy and John Noctor, Head of Academies at Burnetts.
For further information about becoming an Academy, contact John Noctor or Caroline Redhead at Burnetts or visit www.burnetts.co.uk.
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