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What should schools consider when reopening as an academy?

Luke Ainsworth, Corporate and Commercial lawyer at berg, delves into academy conversion

Posted by Lucinda Reid | November 07, 2016 | People, policy, politics

Academy conversion is an ongoing process, not one that stops as soon as a newly converted academy reopens its gates. So, in order for the new institution to be afforded legal protection in its academy state, there are many more hurdles to overcome.

Below, are the vital things for newly reopened academy schools to consider:

Make the most of helpful networks

Academy conversion marks a significant change for a school, therefore, it is wise to enlist the support of existing networks such as  Freedom and Autonomy for Schools (FASNA) or Schools, Students and Teacher’s Network (SSAT). These networks are adept in offering advice and guidance to new academies and are well-placed to offer valuable advice and support to schools that have recently converted.

A newly-formed academy may well find it beneficial for them to join, or perhaps even set up their own multi-academy trust.

Be sure to consider HR and Employment issues

A feature of new academies is the increased level of freedom they’re given. However, this means there are decisions to be made regarding employment arrangements and policies. One option is to keep the pre-academy arrangements in place. However, many recently converted academies take the opportunity, offered by conversion, to introduce a new system all together. Any changes that a new academy chooses to make must be communicated and enforced according to the Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) regulations 2006  (TUPE).

Have a legal spring clean

It’s not only HR and Employment arrangements that need to be reviewed and updated. Conversion is an opportunity for schools to ensure all policies are up to date and in-line with Health and Safety, Data Protection, Risk Management and Freedom of Information Acts.

Post conversion, it’s vital to check, update and arrange any new contracts; you’ll need to file all legal documents to the relevant bodies too.

What else?

These are a few of the key things to consider when reopening as an academy, however, there are many more. For a more detailed explanation, take a look at our post academy conversion infographic below.

Post Academy Conversion Checklist.

This post has been written by berg, a law firm that works closely with the education sector and assists schools looking to convert to academies.

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