Academies are publicly funded independent schools. They have greater freedom over the education they offer to their pupils as they don’t have to offer the national curriculum. They can also change their school term dates and school opening times. This means they can adapt how the school is run to meet the needs of the pupils and parents in their community.
Academies still have to follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools. They are still assessed against the same government floor standards and inspected by Ofsted.
Academies are also funded differently to other schools as they get money direct from the government, not the local council. They are run by an academy trust which employs the staff. Academies receive the same level of per-pupil funding as they would get from a local authority but they have more freedom as to how they spend their funding as they no longer have to buy services in from the Local Authority. Sometimes this means there is more resources available for teaching and learning.
Some academies which have historically had low results or issues around performance have sponsors, also known as Trusts. These can be businesses, universities, other stronger schools, or in the case of BDAT – the Diocese. Sponsors are responsible for improving the performance of their schools. All staff in the Academies are employed by the Trust and the Trust is ultimately accountable for performance in all their Academies to the Secretary of State through a funding agreement.
Since 2010, the Department for Education (DfE) introduced a presumption that any school falling into an Ofsted category or persistently failing to meet floor standards for attainment and levels of progress would be expected to move to academy status with a sponsor. For church schools falling into this Ofsted category in the Diocese of Leeds , an agreement is in place that assumes the school will be sponsored by one of the Diocese’ Multi-Academy Trusts. To date any school in Bradford in this situation has been sponsored by BDAT.
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