Where to Begin
What should we do first?
Following open discussion it is important to get legal advice as soon as the school feels it is necessary, even paying some of the costs before the government funding package is available.
Read the DfE guidance and associated papers.
This outlines the process.
Read the publicly available guidance documents on academies and conversion on the Lee Bolton Monier-Williams website.
Papers describe further process and technical guidance step by step through conversion.
Most dioceses have already produced some guidance and have established some criteria that they feel schools should meet. It is important find agreeable ways forward rather than having to pay lawyers to argue them out. Dioceses may consider academy day conferences or similar to talk through the issues with a wide range of their schools, not just those pushing to convert quickly.
Schools that have already converted or are well into the process nearby can help. Note that community schools are not likely to be aware of the complexities of a church school situation. The conversion of a community school is usually much more straightforward.
There may be commercial consultants available, but the same provisos apply.
When a school is ready to formally agree to apply to the Secretary of State for an Academy Order then DfE funding kicks in. This is normally £25,000 but more may be available in exceptional cases. Schools will need lawyers at this point and may need half the grant to pay them. This can increase if the land situation is complex or there are complications or disagreements.