Consultation - St Thomas More

Welcome to the Consultation page for the proposed conversion of St Thomas More Catholic First School to Academy Status and joining the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Multi Academy Company.  Here you will find frequently asked questions that hopefully will provide you with information on the rationale for the proposal, what Academies are and who the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Multi Academy is.

There are also links to other websites where further information can be found.

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered please log a question via the ‘Ask a Questions’ link. 

Please use the consultation form to respond to the consultation, it is important that views from all Stakeholders are given. 

Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation – the consultation period is now closed.

The consultation period runs from Monday, 11th November till noon Monday, 2nd December.  The responses will be viewed by the Governing Body and form part of the final decision making process.

The outcomes of the consultation and responses to questions asked will be published after the consultation period has closed.

Thank you for taking time to respond to this important consultation.

Ask a question about the process

If you have any questions that are not answered below we can help.

Complete the Consultation

Please complete the consultation online to share your views

Consultation meeting for parents

Thank you to everyone who took time to talk to us at the Consultation Meeting. Wednesday 13th November from 1:30pm - 6:30pm at St Thomas More.

General questions and answers

Multi-Academy Trusts/Companies remain a key objective of Government education policy with Schools being encourage to convert and join existing arrangements. 

The Birmingham Diocesan Education Service (BDES) have set an Academy strategy where all schools within the Archdiocese will become Academies and form or join existing Catholic Multi Academy Companies.  Our Catholic Partnership schools, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic First School, St Peter’s Catholic First School, St Bede’s Catholic Middle School and St Augustine’s Catholic High School are already part of the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC. 

The Governors of St Thomas More Catholic First School have been evaluating the School’s options over a number of years and believe that joining the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC is the best course of action for the long term benefit of pupils and staff at the School.

No. The Governors of St Thomas More Catholic First School believe that joining the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC is the best long term solution for the School.

The Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC was incorporated in May 2014 as a charitable company.  The MAC was formed by four of the Redditch and Bromsgrove Partnership Schools.  The Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC Board of Directors is accountable for the quality of education in all the schools as well as being responsible for the use of public money, the employer of all the staff and responsible for the use of all sites under the terms of the leases.  Each school maintains a Local Board of Governors who oversee the operational running of their school.

The Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC is committed to providing Seamless Catholic Education for All from Reception to Sixth Form.

Academies are publicly funded independent schools that are not managed by a local authority but their funding and accountability is directly with the Department For Education.

The planned conversion date is 1st April 2020.

The Academies Act 2010 requires Governors to consult “such persons as they think appropriate” on whether the school should become an academy. The Governing Body has agreed to work jointly with the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC to consult with all key stakeholders about the academy conversion including parents, staff, pupils and other stakeholders.  The consultation period is from Monday, 11th November 2019 to Noon Monday, 2nd December 2019.

No. The Academies Act 2010 has removed the need for the Local Authority to approve plans for the school to become an Academy.

This is for individual Academies or Multi Academy Companies to determine – there is no statutory requirement for any formal relationship between Local Authorities and Academies. Academies are directly funded and accountable to central government (Department for Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency).

The Local Authority retains statutory duties for aspects of Special Educational Needs, admissions coordination and provision of home-to-school transport. Local Authorities are also expected to play a key strategic role locally in areas such as pupil place planning admissions and sharing good practice.

The Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC have a Central Operations team that provide key operational functions to the Schools within the MAC.

No. The school will not change its name or uniform after it becomes an academy

Schools converting to Academies will continue to be inspected in the normal way.

The Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC has a Board of Directors, the constitution of the Board will change when St Thomas More Catholic First School joins.  The board will be made up of Foundation Directors appointed by the Bishop. There will be a number of sub-committees whose membership will comparise Directors and Representatives of the Local Governing Body or School Leadership.

Most day to day operations of the School will be delegated to the Headteacher and the Local Governing Body under a formal Scheme of Delegation.

As St Thomas More Catholic First School is proposing to join an existing Multi Academy Company, there is no need to set up a separate company.

However, the conversion process includes the following key legal processes:

  • Putting in place a Supplementary Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State for the running and funding St Thomas More Catholic First School;
  • Transferring the employment of the staff from St Thomas More Catholic First School Governing Body to the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC following a statutory process (TUPE);
  • Agreeing a Commercial Transfer Agreement for the transfer of assets and contracts to the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC;
  • Arranging a 125 year lease for the land and buildings with the Archdiocese of Birmingham and local authority.

Staff related questions and answers

Under employment legislation the Governing Body which is the current employer will need to conduct a TUPE* consultation with all staff (both teaching and non -teaching) and the relevant unions as part of the staff transfer process.

*TUPE = Transfer of Undertaking – Protection of Employment

The terms and conditions of staff are protected on transfer under by the TUPE regulations. Academies do have the freedom to vary terms and conditions from national ones but the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC does not have any plans to do this.

Teachers working in an academy fall within the scope of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS), just as if they were employed in a Local Authority maintained school.

 

Non-teaching staff at schools are able to join the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). This is administered by Worcester County Council as at present. Employees will pay the same rate as at present under both schemes, subject to any nationally imposed changes.

As the current employer the Governing Body is responsible for informing and consulting with staff.  The Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic MAC is responsible for informing the employer of any ‘measures’ which will impact on their employment. The Academy Company writes to each member of staff confirming that they will transfer under existing terms and conditions

Finance related questions

The Government is clear that becoming an Academy should not bring about a financial advantage or disadvantage to a school. However, academies do have greater freedom to decide how they use their entire budget.

Special Educational Needs provision related questions

No. Responsibilities as an Academy in relation to Special Educational Needs and exclusions will be just the same as they are now as a maintained school.

Yes. These arrangements and related processes must at all times comply with the School Admissions Code and responsibilities as an Academy in relation to Special Educational Needs will be just the same as they are now as a maintained school.

Academies are required by their Funding Agreement to follow the law and guidance on exclusions as if they were maintained schools. This includes reporting exclusions to the Local authority. However, Academies do not have to consult the Local Authority before deciding to exclude a pupil and they can arrange their own independent appeals panel.

If you would like to find more information about academies:

There is also more information about academies on the DfE website: http://www.education.gov.uk/academies and the Birmingham Diocesan Education Service website https://www.bdes.org.uk