Consultation - Academy Status

Building on the successful shared headship arrangement with St Mary’s Cockerton C of E Primary School the Governing Body are exploring converting to academy status in partnership with St Mary’s Cockerton C of E Primary School creating a Multi Academy Trust (MAT).


A letter has been sent today to inform parents and stakeholders of a four week consultation period during which the governors would very much like to hear your opinion. Click here to download a copy of this letter. 

There is a consultation response sheet attached to the letter if you wish to provide a written response to the consultation. Alternatively, we have set up a designated email address if you prefer.

We will be holding drop in sessions attended by the Headteacher and Governors as follows:

  • Monday 11th January 9.00 – 9.45am
  • Thursday 14th January 7.00 – 8.00pm
  • Tuesday 19th January 3.00 – 4.00pm

Frequently Asked Questions – Academy Status

To learn more about what this will mean for you, your child and the wider community, we have provided some questions and answers about Academy schools. The closing date for responses is 5pm on Friday 29th January 2016 and details of how to respond are also included.

What are academy schools?

Academies are publicly funded independent schools, free from local authority control.

So what is different?

Academy Schools have additional responsibilities and freedoms that ‘maintained’ schools do not enjoy. These include:

  • Freedom from Local Authority control
  • Ability to set pay & conditions for staff
  • Freedom from following the National Curriculum
  • Ability to change length of term and school days
  • Greater control over school budgets
  • Freedom to spend the money the Local Authority currently spends on behalf of the school

Why are the Governing Body and Leadership Team of the school considering Academy status?

 The Government signalled their desire to see all schools move to academy status to enjoy greater freedom and flexibility in how they can deliver education. Like many other schools both locally and nationally, our school has looked at the benefits and freedoms Academy status can bring and feel it is something we should explore.  Darlington is a relatively small local authority and the vast majority of schools within the Borough have already converted to academy status or are in the process of doing so.   

Do converting schools need to have a sponsor?

Schools that are performing well such as ours are not required to have a sponsor.

Who will sit on the Academy Trust?

Some of the existing Governors drawn from each school in the partnership are likely to make up a significant number of the people who will sit on the new Trust Board. In addition each school will have a Local Governing Body who will continue to ensure that the needs of each school are monitored closely.

 What about working with other schools?

Our school already has very strong partnerships with other local schools. We are therefore very interested in models that allow us to build on these partnerships through academy status. For this reason we are seeking to form a multi academy trust with our partner school.  This will allow us to continue the strong and established partnership we already have, provide better opportunities for our pupils, and save money by sharing some back office services. 

 Does it mean more money?

Academies are funded in a similar way to other schools but the funding comes from central Government not via the Local Authority. In addition the Academy would also receive its share of the funding which the Local Authority currently receives to pay for Town Hall services.  By receiving this funding directly, this will mean that we have choice over which services to buy or not to buy, to meet the needs of our children.

 Will admissions arrangements change?

The Academy Trust would be responsible for setting the admissions arrangements for our school. It must be stressed however the admissions criteria must have regard to the national Admissions Code of Practice. The Governing Body has no plans to either increase the number of children admitted to our school, or change the admissions criteria.

When would the school change to become an Academy?