Discussions and Consultations

Who should we talk to early on?

Dioceses, trustees, schools and bodies appointing foundation governors.

Other local schools (church or non-church) to see whether a group is possible and/or desirable.

Outstanding schools should start discussions with schools they might offer to support, as is required by the Act.

A failing school may be directed to become an academy and to find a partner or partners.

Other schools may be approached by other schools or may make approaches on their own initiative. Talk to the diocese first, as they will be able to help and guide.

How much should we try to do before we begin the formal process?

The main issues should be discussed and agreed before the formal and costly part of the process. Try to agree to use the relevant model to provide an academy company acceptable to all parties. This should not be finalised without legal advice, but look carefully at it to see if an agreement is possible or whether there will be a debate.

Discuss the single or multi issue - you may need some technical advice – to find out if there is broad agreement.

The more that can be agreed in principle the less trouble and expense there will be in the formal process. Schools must be fairly clear about these matters before going out to consultation.

Who decides to begin the formal process?

The governing body alone decides to begin the formal process. Consent from various other bodies is needed quite quickly, so keep them informed to avoid protracted wrangles. Schools must consult with DBEs at this stage and secure their written consent before applying.