Swiss Foundation Trust Consultation

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  • Changing status – Going Foundation
    The minimum time for completing the process is 14 weeks
    WEEK 1
    • Information gathering

    Agree a draft proposal to put to the governing body
    WEEK 2
    • Governing body meeting to agree to consult

    Inform the LA by letter of the date and time of this meeting
    If you are a VC school inform the Diocese of Trustees by letter of the date and time of this meeting
    WEEKS 3 – 7
    • Issue consultation document and allow four weeks for responses

    WEEKS 8 – 9
    • Governing body considers responses to consultation and decides whether or not to proceed

    WEEKS 10 – 13
    • Publish statutory notice – start of statutory 4 week ‘representation period’

    WEEK 14
    • Governing body meeting to consider responses and make decision about whether to proceed with changing status

    WEEKS 14 – 15
    • Apply for a new Instrument of Government

    • Inform parents and other consultees of your final decision
  • BACKGROUND
     
    Local authorities or school governing bodies seeking to change the category of a school must follow procedures set out in the Education (Change of Category of Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2000 (the ‘Principal Regulations’) (S1 2002/195) (as amended), which provided for schools to change from their current category to another. This guidance sets out the procedures that governing bodies should follow to change category to foundation, under the regulations as amended in 2005 to implement the streamlined route.
     
    Since 1997, only 20 schools, other than those which previously acquired grant maintained status, have taken advantage of existing rights to become foundation schools.
     
    CHANGING CATEGORY: PROCEDURAL REGULATIONS
     
    Consultation
     
    The governing body should inform the local authority if a motion to consult on change of category proposals is to be discussed at a meeting of the governing body. Once the local authority has been informed of the governing body’s intentions, it may not dispose of any property which is used for the purposes of the school or cease to hold it for use for the school until the proposals are decided or withdrawn.
     
    Following the meeting of the governing body, where is has been decided that the school should change to category foundation, the governing body should consult the local authority, parents and other stakeholders on its proposals. This will give the local authority, as the current employer and landowner, an opportunity to identify any liabilities and responsibilities that will transfer to the governing body. It will also enable parents to put forward their views on the proposals.
     
    It is for the governing body to determine the period of consultation but it should ensure it offers sufficient time for people to put forward views taking account any school holidays.
     
    The Government has removed the School Organisation Committee from the decision-making process for schools changing category to foundation status. Schools will not have to submit the proposal to the School Organisation Committee. The new formal consultation process requires only a four week, instead of the former six week, timescale.
     
    The Government does not prescribe the form that this consultation should take. It is for governing bodies to decide the nature of the consultation, including whether to hold public meetings and to whom they will issue letters. Schools are required to provide sufficient information and allow enough time for people to understand and form a view of the proposed changes. Schools are further required to provide an opportunity for the school community and other interested parties, to comment, as those publishing statutory proposals must be able to show how they took into account the views of others.
     
    There is no time limit specified in law for consultation. A consultation exercise, however, must allow sufficient time for people to consider the proposals and respond. It is also vital that adequate time is set aside to consider responses to the consultation. If a new option emerges during consultation which the proposals wish to pursue schools are required to consult on those new options so that people can comment before the revised proposals are published.
     
    PUBLICATION OF STATUTORY PROPOSALS
     
    Governing bodies will not be required to consult before publishing proposals. The governing body may determine its own proposals. Its determination is final. Once a proposal is made, the governing body is required to publish a statutory notice in at least one appropriate local community newspaper. It must also be posted on the main entrance of the school and at some conspicuous place in an area served by the school, e.g. post office, community centre.
     
    A copy of the notice must be sent to the local authority. If the school is maintained by one authority but located in another, copies of the proposals must be sent to both authorities. A copy must also be sent to the DfES, School Organisation Unit, 38 Podium, Mowden Hall, Staindrop Road, Darlington DL3 9BG. It may be sent also by email to schools.organisation-unit@dfes.qsi.gov.uk. The school does not have to inform the local authority. Schools no longer have to state, “the rationale of the proposal”, as required in previous regulations.
     
    Following consultation, and after having considered the views expressed, if the governing body wishes to proceed they must publish statutory proposals to change category to foundation. The regulations prescribe the information that must be included in this statutory notice. The DfES’s School Organisation website provides assistance for proposers to draft a statutory notice: www.dfes.gov.uk/schoolorg.
     
    The notice must give the names of the school or schools for which a change is proposed, or in the case of a new school, the address of the site proposed for the new school.
     
    REPRESENTATION
     
    A four week period for representation must follow the publication of statutory proposals. This should not include any school holidays. This period of representation enables parents and other local stakeholders to put forward statements of support or any objections to the governing body. This is the final opportunity for those wishing to express views on the change of category to foundation so that they can be taken into account by the governing body.
     
    DECISION BY THE GOVERNING BODY
     
    Following the four week period of representation the governing body must meet to consider formally any objections and representations. The final decision on the proposals must be made by a majority vote of the governing body within six months of the date of publication of the proposals. The governing body must inform the local authority and the DfES School Organisation Unit that the school is changing category to foundation.
     
    If the proposals are approved, the governing body has the duty to implement them. The implementation period begins on the date the governing body decides the proposals. The governing body may modify the implementation date in respect of the proposals after consulting the relevant local authority.
     
    If the governing body decides before the implementation date not to proceed with the change of category, the local authority and the DfES School Organisation Unit must be informed.
     
    Secondary schools in special measures cannot use this streamlined route to foundation status. They will, however, be able to propose becoming foundation schools through the existing regulations applying to primary and special schools.
     
    THE GOVERNING BODY
     
    The Role of Sponsor Governors
     
    All foundation schools may appoint up to four sponsor governors. Sponsor governors are appointed by the governing body. It is at the discretion of the governing body whether or not sponsor governors are appointed. If the governing body wishes to appoint sponsor governors, it must seek nominations from the sponsor(s). The governing body can appoint a maximum of four persons as sponsor governors.
     
    EMPLOYMENT ISSUES
     
    The conditions of service of teachers in maintained schools are generally governed by the Conditions of Service for Schoolteachers in England and Wales (‘Burgundy Book’) giving entitlements in areas such as sick pay, maternity pay, notice periods. Even though there will be a change of employer for school staff members upon change of category to foundation school status from community or voluntary controlled, their position is protected by Schedule 3 to the Education (Change of Category of Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2000.
     
    This provides that the contract of employment between the teacher and the local authority shall have effect, upon the change in schools, as if made between the governing body and the teacher. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (TUPE) provide similar protection on transfer.
     
    The Burgundy Book is nationally recommended for adoption by all maintained school employers but it is not legally obligatory in relation to new appointees. Some foundation school governing bodies have indicated an intention to introduce their own conditions of service. This cannot be done in relation to transferred staff without their agreement and any attempt to do so in relation to new appointees should be resisted. The NUT believes that foundation school governing bodies should conform both to the Burgundy Book and to the provisions of local agreements made with the maintaining LEA which improve on Burgundy Book conditions.
     
    For the purposes of redundancy payments, continuity of service will be preserved so that previous unbroken service in a voluntary-aided school or community school will count in the computation of redundancy payments upon dismissal by reason of redundancy from a foundation school. Other employment rights which depend on a period of continuous employment will be preserved for those who transfer into a foundation school.
     
    Governing bodies of foundation schools have the same powers over pay matters as the governing bodies of other local authority maintained schools. The change of status will not, in itself, necessarily lead to any change in a school pay policy.
     
    ADMISSIONS
     
    In foundation schools, the governing body is responsible for school admissions. The governing body may delegate the function of determining applications for places in the school to a committee, which will administer the admission process as determined by the governing body. The function cannot be delegated to an individual. While head teachers can be appointed onto admissions committees, they cannot act in place of their governing bodies in determining the admission policies of their schools or in deciding on the admission of individual children.
     
    Admission Authorities within local areas must consult each other on all aspects of their proposed admission arrangements, before determining the arrangements they intend to use.
     
    Foundation schools are subject to the DfES Code of Practice on School Admissions when deciding their own admissions criteria.
     
    TRANSITIONAL MEASURES
     
    The Regulations provide that admissions arrangements for the current year carried out by the local authority as the admissions authority before the implementation date, must be honoured by the governing body. The governing body of the new foundation school will be required to honour any decisions taken by the local authority in respect of admissions to the school, both in respect of admission arrangements and offer of places, for the existing admission round.
     
    TRANSFER OF STAFF
     
    Change of school category to foundation will result in a change of employer for the staff of a school. Schedule 3 to the Regulations provides for all rights, powers, duties and liabilities to transfer from the local authority to the governing body or vice versa, as appropriate. Another consequence of changing category is that anything done by the authority in respect of the employee is considered, from the implementation date, to have been done by the governing body.
     
    The effect of this schedule is to protect an individual’s employment rights on transfer. Any agreements entered into by the local authority or governing body before this date, in respect of an individual’s terms and contract of employment must therefore be honoured by the new employer. Equally, if any action has been taken by an employee against the former employer in respect of a liability or duty, of that employer before a school changes category, the liability transfers to the new employer.
     
    LAND TRANSFER
     
    Schedule 6 to the Regulations and Section 198 and Schedule 10 to the Education Reform Act 1988 (as modified by the Education (New Procedures for Property Transfers) (Regulations 2000) (S1200/3209) have effect in relation to the transfer of land. Any land, which immediately before the implementation date was held, or used, by the local authority for the purposes of a community school, will on that date, be transferred to the Foundation School Trustees, to be held in trust for the purposes of the school. If the parties are unable to reach agreement in relation to a transfer, the Secretary of State may give a direction. The change of category can occur whether or not the deeds conveying ownership have been transferred by the local authority. The DfES has provided the contact details of its Schools Assets Team (01325 392 136).
     
    LAND EXCLUDED FROM TRANSFER
     
    Land may be excluded from transfer by agreement between the local authority and the school concerned with the prior written approval of the Secretary of State, or by order of the Secretary of State on application from either party.
     
    RIGHTS TO USE LAND
     
    Where land held by another body was used by a school prior to its change of category, the rights and liabilities connected with the use of that facility enjoyed by the school prior to the change of category will continue to apply. This applies, for instance, to private playing fields, church halls or swimming pools. Where, for example, a community school has by agreement been allowed to use a playing field owned by a sports club prior to changing category to foundation, the school cannot be disqualified from using the facility merely because of the change in category.
     
     
     
     
     
    RELIGIOUS CHARACTER
     
    Voluntary controlled Church of England schools are required to seek and have regard to the advice of their Diocesan Board of Education before publishing proposals to change category. (Section 3 of the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1991 (No 2).
     
    While any voluntary of foundation school may be established with a religious character, it is not possible for any school to gain, lose or change religious character through the change of category process. To effect a change from, for example, a community school to a voluntary school with a religious character, the local authority would need to publish proposals to close the community school, and the Diocese or faith group, as promoters, would be required to bring forward linked proposals to establish a new voluntary school.
     
    ASSETS
     
    Once a governing body has given notice to the local authority that it is to discuss a motion to consult on change of category proposals, an embargo is placed on the local authority from disposing of that property. This embargo lasts until the proposals are decided or withdrawn.
     
    If the local authority believes with reason, however, that foundation school governors are failing to maintain the premises to a reasonable standard, it has the right to intervene. Otherwise the governors have power to use the premises as they wish. If they wish to sell off assets, permission must be sought from the local authority and the Secretary of State who may then decide that the local authority can share the proceeds.
     
    ADVICE TO DIVISIONS IN ENGLAND
     
    Divisions are urged to consider the following points when considering a change of school category to foundation status and to advise members whose governing bodies are considering such a proposal.
     
    The NUT considers that major disadvantages arise from a change in school category to foundation status. Governing bodies in Foundation Schools will be less democratic and less representative. The foundation will be able to appoint a majority of governing body places. This will require a major change to the composition of the governing bodies of community schools when they change to foundation status. This is likely to reduce the numbers of elected parent governors. Governors elected by parents will be replaced by parents appointed by the Foundation.
     
    Four sponsor governors will be appointed as opposed to the current two. This will compound the reduction in democratically elected places on governing bodies. There is the potential for there to be tensions between foundation and sponsor governors, and the remnants of the directly elected constituency of governors.
     
     
    The NUT has grave concerns about the influence of sponsors, not least because educational expertise is not a condition of involvement. Individual sponsors may have backgrounds in construction, recruitment, transportation, publishing, football clubs, holidays and leisure rather than education. Even sponsors from religious education foundations or the independent school sector have little experience in dealing with the multitude of social factors facing inner city schools.
     
    Schools will not receive the same level of support and advice from the local authority particularly in key areas such as preparing for school inspections. This can only be to the detriment of the quality of education provided by schools and the work done by local educational authorities.
     
    Schools will no longer enjoy the value-added of local authority services such as EMAG; school improvement support and subject consultancy services but be confined to receiving the purchased contracted time, if they choose to buy.
     
    The streamlining arrangements may enable, or even encourage, schools to acquire foundation status without adequate consideration. There is a clear danger that much time and effort at school and local authority levels will be diverted from the continuing pursuit of improved standards into establishing and supporting new structures.
     
    The Government proposes to make changes so that in future a Foundation School should be able to increase sponsors from two to four. In effect, this will reduce the number of democratically elected governors on governing bodies. There could be potential tensions between foundation sponsors and the remnant of the directly elected constituencies of governors such as parent governors and staff governors.
     
    Divisions considering a change of school category to foundation status should check whether new arrangements are different from the Burgundy Book arrangements. Where governing bodies seek to alter their position and seek to determine teachers’ conditions of service, the relevant NUT regional office will need to be contacted for advice.
     
    The Government’s proposals envisage a major transfer of the stewardship of public assets to school governing bodies and the acquisition of new responsibilities by governing bodies. The Government describes foundation status as a means to promote, “innovation and educational entrepreneurship, giving school leaders more freedom to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils, parents and wider communities”. The Government has yet to publish any evidence that supports its arguments that the quality of education is enhanced by a school acquiring foundation status.
     
    Further advice and information to divisions will be circulated when the proposed new regulations come into force.
     
  • BACKGROUND
     
    Local authorities or school governing bodies seeking to change the category of a school must follow procedures set out in the Education (Change of Category of Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2000 (the ‘Principal Regulations’) (S1 2002/195) (as amended), which provided for schools to change from their current category to another. This guidance sets out the procedures that governing bodies should follow to change category to foundation, under the regulations as amended in 2005 to implement the streamlined route.
     
    Since 1997, only 20 schools, other than those which previously acquired grant maintained status, have taken advantage of existing rights to become foundation schools.
     
    CHANGING CATEGORY: PROCEDURAL REGULATIONS
     
    Consultation
     
    The governing body should inform the local authority if a motion to consult on change of category proposals is to be discussed at a meeting of the governing body. Once the local authority has been informed of the governing body’s intentions, it may not dispose of any property which is used for the purposes of the school or cease to hold it for use for the school until the proposals are decided or withdrawn.
     
    Following the meeting of the governing body, where is has been decided that the school should change to category foundation, the governing body should consult the local authority, parents and other stakeholders on its proposals. This will give the local authority, as the current employer and landowner, an opportunity to identify any liabilities and responsibilities that will transfer to the governing body. It will also enable parents to put forward their views on the proposals.
     
    It is for the governing body to determine the period of consultation but it should ensure it offers sufficient time for people to put forward views taking account any school holidays.
     
    The Government has removed the School Organisation Committee from the decision-making process for schools changing category to foundation status. Schools will not have to submit the proposal to the School Organisation Committee. The new formal consultation process requires only a four week, instead of the former six week, timescale.
     
    The Government does not prescribe the form that this consultation should take. It is for governing bodies to decide the nature of the consultation, including whether to hold public meetings and to whom they will issue letters. Schools are required to provide sufficient information and allow enough time for people to understand and form a view of the proposed changes. Schools are further required to provide an opportunity for the school community and other interested parties, to comment, as those publishing statutory proposals must be able to show how they took into account the views of others.
     
    There is no time limit specified in law for consultation. A consultation exercise, however, must allow sufficient time for people to consider the proposals and respond. It is also vital that adequate time is set aside to consider responses to the consultation. If a new option emerges during consultation which the proposals wish to pursue schools are required to consult on those new options so that people can comment before the revised proposals are published.
     
    PUBLICATION OF STATUTORY PROPOSALS
     
    Governing bodies will not be required to consult before publishing proposals. The governing body may determine its own proposals. Its determination is final. Once a proposal is made, the governing body is required to publish a statutory notice in at least one appropriate local community newspaper. It must also be posted on the main entrance of the school and at some conspicuous place in an area served by the school, e.g. post office, community centre.
     
    A copy of the notice must be sent to the local authority. If the school is maintained by one authority but located in another, copies of the proposals must be sent to both authorities. A copy must also be sent to the DfES, School Organisation Unit, 38 Podium, Mowden Hall, Staindrop Road, Darlington DL3 9BG. It may be sent also by email to schools.organisation-unit@dfes.qsi.gov.uk. The school does not have to inform the local authority. Schools no longer have to state, “the rationale of the proposal”, as required in previous regulations.
     
    Following consultation, and after having considered the views expressed, if the governing body wishes to proceed they must publish statutory proposals to change category to foundation. The regulations prescribe the information that must be included in this statutory notice. The DfES’s School Organisation website provides assistance for proposers to draft a statutory notice: www.dfes.gov.uk/schoolorg.
     
    The notice must give the names of the school or schools for which a change is proposed, or in the case of a new school, the address of the site proposed for the new school.
     
    REPRESENTATION
     
    A four week period for representation must follow the publication of statutory proposals. This should not include any school holidays. This period of representation enables parents and other local stakeholders to put forward statements of support or any objections to the governing body. This is the final opportunity for those wishing to express views on the change of category to foundation so that they can be taken into account by the governing body.
     
    DECISION BY THE GOVERNING BODY
     
    Following the four week period of representation the governing body must meet to consider formally any objections and representations. The final decision on the proposals must be made by a majority vote of the governing body within six months of the date of publication of the proposals. The governing body must inform the local authority and the DfES School Organisation Unit that the school is changing category to foundation.
     
    If the proposals are approved, the governing body has the duty to implement them. The implementation period begins on the date the governing body decides the proposals. The governing body may modify the implementation date in respect of the proposals after consulting the relevant local authority.
     
    If the governing body decides before the implementation date not to proceed with the change of category, the local authority and the DfES School Organisation Unit must be informed.
     
    Secondary schools in special measures cannot use this streamlined route to foundation status. They will, however, be able to propose becoming foundation schools through the existing regulations applying to primary and special schools.
     
    THE GOVERNING BODY
     
    The Role of Sponsor Governors
     
    All foundation schools may appoint up to four sponsor governors. Sponsor governors are appointed by the governing body. It is at the discretion of the governing body whether or not sponsor governors are appointed. If the governing body wishes to appoint sponsor governors, it must seek nominations from the sponsor(s). The governing body can appoint a maximum of four persons as sponsor governors.
     
    EMPLOYMENT ISSUES
     
    The conditions of service of teachers in maintained schools are generally governed by the Conditions of Service for Schoolteachers in England and Wales (‘Burgundy Book’) giving entitlements in areas such as sick pay, maternity pay, notice periods. Even though there will be a change of employer for school staff members upon change of category to foundation school status from community or voluntary controlled, their position is protected by Schedule 3 to the Education (Change of Category of Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2000.
     
    This provides that the contract of employment between the teacher and the local authority shall have effect, upon the change in schools, as if made between the governing body and the teacher. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (TUPE) provide similar protection on transfer.
     
    The Burgundy Book is nationally recommended for adoption by all maintained school employers but it is not legally obligatory in relation to new appointees. Some foundation school governing bodies have indicated an intention to introduce their own conditions of service. This cannot be done in relation to transferred staff without their agreement and any attempt to do so in relation to new appointees should be resisted. The NUT believes that foundation school governing bodies should conform both to the Burgundy Book and to the provisions of local agreements made with the maintaining LEA which improve on Burgundy Book conditions.
     
    For the purposes of redundancy payments, continuity of service will be preserved so that previous unbroken service in a voluntary-aided school or community school will count in the computation of redundancy payments upon dismissal by reason of redundancy from a foundation school. Other employment rights which depend on a period of continuous employment will be preserved for those who transfer into a foundation school.
     
    Governing bodies of foundation schools have the same powers over pay matters as the governing bodies of other local authority maintained schools. The change of status will not, in itself, necessarily lead to any change in a school pay policy.
     
    ADMISSIONS
     
    In foundation schools, the governing body is responsible for school admissions. The governing body may delegate the function of determining applications for places in the school to a committee, which will administer the admission process as determined by the governing body. The function cannot be delegated to an individual. While head teachers can be appointed onto admissions committees, they cannot act in place of their governing bodies in determining the admission policies of their schools or in deciding on the admission of individual children.
     
    Admission Authorities within local areas must consult each other on all aspects of their proposed admission arrangements, before determining the arrangements they intend to use.
     
    Foundation schools are subject to the DfES Code of Practice on School Admissions when deciding their own admissions criteria.
     
    TRANSITIONAL MEASURES
     
    The Regulations provide that admissions arrangements for the current year carried out by the local authority as the admissions authority before the implementation date, must be honoured by the governing body. The governing body of the new foundation school will be required to honour any decisions taken by the local authority in respect of admissions to the school, both in respect of admission arrangements and offer of places, for the existing admission round.
     
    TRANSFER OF STAFF
     
    Change of school category to foundation will result in a change of employer for the staff of a school. Schedule 3 to the Regulations provides for all rights, powers, duties and liabilities to transfer from the local authority to the governing body or vice versa, as appropriate. Another consequence of changing category is that anything done by the authority in respect of the employee is considered, from the implementation date, to have been done by the governing body.
     
    The effect of this schedule is to protect an individual’s employment rights on transfer. Any agreements entered into by the local authority or governing body before this date, in respect of an individual’s terms and contract of employment must therefore be honoured by the new employer. Equally, if any action has been taken by an employee against the former employer in respect of a liability or duty, of that employer before a school changes category, the liability transfers to the new employer.
     
    LAND TRANSFER
     
    Schedule 6 to the Regulations and Section 198 and Schedule 10 to the Education Reform Act 1988 (as modified by the Education (New Procedures for Property Transfers) (Regulations 2000) (S1200/3209) have effect in relation to the transfer of land. Any land, which immediately before the implementation date was held, or used, by the local authority for the purposes of a community school, will on that date, be transferred to the Foundation School Trustees, to be held in trust for the purposes of the school. If the parties are unable to reach agreement in relation to a transfer, the Secretary of State may give a direction. The change of category can occur whether or not the deeds conveying ownership have been transferred by the local authority. The DfES has provided the contact details of its Schools Assets Team (01325 392 136).
     
    LAND EXCLUDED FROM TRANSFER
     
    Land may be excluded from transfer by agreement between the local authority and the school concerned with the prior written approval of the Secretary of State, or by order of the Secretary of State on application from either party.
     
    RIGHTS TO USE LAND
     
    Where land held by another body was used by a school prior to its change of category, the rights and liabilities connected with the use of that facility enjoyed by the school prior to the change of category will continue to apply. This applies, for instance, to private playing fields, church halls or swimming pools. Where, for example, a community school has by agreement been allowed to use a playing field owned by a sports club prior to changing category to foundation, the school cannot be disqualified from using the facility merely because of the change in category.
     
     
     
     
     
    RELIGIOUS CHARACTER
     
    Voluntary controlled Church of England schools are required to seek and have regard to the advice of their Diocesan Board of Education before publishing proposals to change category. (Section 3 of the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1991 (No 2).
     
    While any voluntary of foundation school may be established with a religious character, it is not possible for any school to gain, lose or change religious character through the change of category process. To effect a change from, for example, a community school to a voluntary school with a religious character, the local authority would need to publish proposals to close the community school, and the Diocese or faith group, as promoters, would be required to bring forward linked proposals to establish a new voluntary school.
     
    ASSETS
     
    Once a governing body has given notice to the local authority that it is to discuss a motion to consult on change of category proposals, an embargo is placed on the local authority from disposing of that property. This embargo lasts until the proposals are decided or withdrawn.
     
    If the local authority believes with reason, however, that foundation school governors are failing to maintain the premises to a reasonable standard, it has the right to intervene. Otherwise the governors have power to use the premises as they wish. If they wish to sell off assets, permission must be sought from the local authority and the Secretary of State who may then decide that the local authority can share the proceeds.
     
    ADVICE TO DIVISIONS IN ENGLAND
     
    Divisions are urged to consider the following points when considering a change of school category to foundation status and to advise members whose governing bodies are considering such a proposal.
     
    The NUT considers that major disadvantages arise from a change in school category to foundation status. Governing bodies in Foundation Schools will be less democratic and less representative. The foundation will be able to appoint a majority of governing body places. This will require a major change to the composition of the governing bodies of community schools when they change to foundation status. This is likely to reduce the numbers of elected parent governors. Governors elected by parents will be replaced by parents appointed by the Foundation.
     
    Four sponsor governors will be appointed as opposed to the current two. This will compound the reduction in democratically elected places on governing bodies. There is the potential for there to be tensions between foundation and sponsor governors, and the remnants of the directly elected constituency of governors.
     
     
    The NUT has grave concerns about the influence of sponsors, not least because educational expertise is not a condition of involvement. Individual sponsors may have backgrounds in construction, recruitment, transportation, publishing, football clubs, holidays and leisure rather than education. Even sponsors from religious education foundations or the independent school sector have little experience in dealing with the multitude of social factors facing inner city schools.
     
    Schools will not receive the same level of support and advice from the local authority particularly in key areas such as preparing for school inspections. This can only be to the detriment of the quality of education provided by schools and the work done by local educational authorities.
     
    Schools will no longer enjoy the value-added of local authority services such as EMAG; school improvement support and subject consultancy services but be confined to receiving the purchased contracted time, if they choose to buy.
     
    The streamlining arrangements may enable, or even encourage, schools to acquire foundation status without adequate consideration. There is a clear danger that much time and effort at school and local authority levels will be diverted from the continuing pursuit of improved standards into establishing and supporting new structures.
     
    The Government proposes to make changes so that in future a Foundation School should be able to increase sponsors from two to four. In effect, this will reduce the number of democratically elected governors on governing bodies. There could be potential tensions between foundation sponsors and the remnant of the directly elected constituencies of governors such as parent governors and staff governors.
     
    Divisions considering a change of school category to foundation status should check whether new arrangements are different from the Burgundy Book arrangements. Where governing bodies seek to alter their position and seek to determine teachers’ conditions of service, the relevant NUT regional office will need to be contacted for advice.
     
    The Government’s proposals envisage a major transfer of the stewardship of public assets to school governing bodies and the acquisition of new responsibilities by governing bodies. The Government describes foundation status as a means to promote, “innovation and educational entrepreneurship, giving school leaders more freedom to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils, parents and wider communities”. The Government has yet to publish any evidence that supports its arguments that the quality of education is enhanced by a school acquiring foundation status.
     
    Further advice and information to divisions will be circulated when the proposed new regulations come into force.
     
  • BACKGROUND
     
    Local authorities or school governing bodies seeking to change the category of a school must follow procedures set out in the Education (Change of Category of Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2000 (the ‘Principal Regulations’) (S1 2002/195) (as amended), which provided for schools to change from their current category to another. This guidance sets out the procedures that governing bodies should follow to change category to foundation, under the regulations as amended in 2005 to implement the streamlined route.
     
    Since 1997, only 20 schools, other than those which previously acquired grant maintained status, have taken advantage of existing rights to become foundation schools.
     
    CHANGING CATEGORY: PROCEDURAL REGULATIONS
     
    Consultation
     
    The governing body should inform the local authority if a motion to consult on change of category proposals is to be discussed at a meeting of the governing body. Once the local authority has been informed of the governing body’s intentions, it may not dispose of any property which is used for the purposes of the school or cease to hold it for use for the school until the proposals are decided or withdrawn.
     
    Following the meeting of the governing body, where is has been decided that the school should change to category foundation, the governing body should consult the local authority, parents and other stakeholders on its proposals. This will give the local authority, as the current employer and landowner, an opportunity to identify any liabilities and responsibilities that will transfer to the governing body. It will also enable parents to put forward their views on the proposals.
     
    It is for the governing body to determine the period of consultation but it should ensure it offers sufficient time for people to put forward views taking account any school holidays.
     
    The Government has removed the School Organisation Committee from the decision-making process for schools changing category to foundation status. Schools will not have to submit the proposal to the School Organisation Committee. The new formal consultation process requires only a four week, instead of the former six week, timescale.
     
    The Government does not prescribe the form that this consultation should take. It is for governing bodies to decide the nature of the consultation, including whether to hold public meetings and to whom they will issue letters. Schools are required to provide sufficient information and allow enough time for people to understand and form a view of the proposed changes. Schools are further required to provide an opportunity for the school community and other interested parties, to comment, as those publishing statutory proposals must be able to show how they took into account the views of others.
     
    There is no time limit specified in law for consultation. A consultation exercise, however, must allow sufficient time for people to consider the proposals and respond. It is also vital that adequate time is set aside to consider responses to the consultation. If a new option emerges during consultation which the proposals wish to pursue schools are required to consult on those new options so that people can comment before the revised proposals are published.
     
    PUBLICATION OF STATUTORY PROPOSALS
     
    Governing bodies will not be required to consult before publishing proposals. The governing body may determine its own proposals. Its determination is final. Once a proposal is made, the governing body is required to publish a statutory notice in at least one appropriate local community newspaper. It must also be posted on the main entrance of the school and at some conspicuous place in an area served by the school, e.g. post office, community centre.
     
    A copy of the notice must be sent to the local authority. If the school is maintained by one authority but located in another, copies of the proposals must be sent to both authorities. A copy must also be sent to the DfES, School Organisation Unit, 38 Podium, Mowden Hall, Staindrop Road, Darlington DL3 9BG. It may be sent also by email to schools.organisation-unit@dfes.qsi.gov.uk. The school does not have to inform the local authority. Schools no longer have to state, “the rationale of the proposal”, as required in previous regulations.
     
    Following consultation, and after having considered the views expressed, if the governing body wishes to proceed they must publish statutory proposals to change category to foundation. The regulations prescribe the information that must be included in this statutory notice. The DfES’s School Organisation website provides assistance for proposers to draft a statutory notice: www.dfes.gov.uk/schoolorg.
     
    The notice must give the names of the school or schools for which a change is proposed, or in the case of a new school, the address of the site proposed for the new school.
     
    REPRESENTATION
     
    A four week period for representation must follow the publication of statutory proposals. This should not include any school holidays. This period of representation enables parents and other local stakeholders to put forward statements of support or any objections to the governing body. This is the final opportunity for those wishing to express views on the change of category to foundation so that they can be taken into account by the governing body.
     
    DECISION BY THE GOVERNING BODY
     
    Following the four week period of representation the governing body must meet to consider formally any objections and representations. The final decision on the proposals must be made by a majority vote of the governing body within six months of the date of publication of the proposals. The governing body must inform the local authority and the DfES School Organisation Unit that the school is changing category to foundation.
     
    If the proposals are approved, the governing body has the duty to implement them. The implementation period begins on the date the governing body decides the proposals. The governing body may modify the implementation date in respect of the proposals after consulting the relevant local authority.
     
    If the governing body decides before the implementation date not to proceed with the change of category, the local authority and the DfES School Organisation Unit must be informed.
     
    Secondary schools in special measures cannot use this streamlined route to foundation status. They will, however, be able to propose becoming foundation schools through the existing regulations applying to primary and special schools.
     
    THE GOVERNING BODY
     
    The Role of Sponsor Governors
     
    All foundation schools may appoint up to four sponsor governors. Sponsor governors are appointed by the governing body. It is at the discretion of the governing body whether or not sponsor governors are appointed. If the governing body wishes to appoint sponsor governors, it must seek nominations from the sponsor(s). The governing body can appoint a maximum of four persons as sponsor governors.
     
    EMPLOYMENT ISSUES
     
    The conditions of service of teachers in maintained schools are generally governed by the Conditions of Service for Schoolteachers in England and Wales (‘Burgundy Book’) giving entitlements in areas such as sick pay, maternity pay, notice periods. Even though there will be a change of employer for school staff members upon change of category to foundation school status from community or voluntary controlled, their position is protected by Schedule 3 to the Education (Change of Category of Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2000.
     
    This provides that the contract of employment between the teacher and the local authority shall have effect, upon the change in schools, as if made between the governing body and the teacher. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (TUPE) provide similar protection on transfer.
     
    The Burgundy Book is nationally recommended for adoption by all maintained school employers but it is not legally obligatory in relation to new appointees. Some foundation school governing bodies have indicated an intention to introduce their own conditions of service. This cannot be done in relation to transferred staff without their agreement and any attempt to do so in relation to new appointees should be resisted. The NUT believes that foundation school governing bodies should conform both to the Burgundy Book and to the provisions of local agreements made with the maintaining LEA which improve on Burgundy Book conditions.
     
    For the purposes of redundancy payments, continuity of service will be preserved so that previous unbroken service in a voluntary-aided school or community school will count in the computation of redundancy payments upon dismissal by reason of redundancy from a foundation school. Other employment rights which depend on a period of continuous employment will be preserved for those who transfer into a foundation school.
     
    Governing bodies of foundation schools have the same powers over pay matters as the governing bodies of other local authority maintained schools. The change of status will not, in itself, necessarily lead to any change in a school pay policy.
     
    ADMISSIONS
     
    In foundation schools, the governing body is responsible for school admissions. The governing body may delegate the function of determining applications for places in the school to a committee, which will administer the admission process as determined by the governing body. The function cannot be delegated to an individual. While head teachers can be appointed onto admissions committees, they cannot act in place of their governing bodies in determining the admission policies of their schools or in deciding on the admission of individual children.
     
    Admission Authorities within local areas must consult each other on all aspects of their proposed admission arrangements, before determining the arrangements they intend to use.
     
    Foundation schools are subject to the DfES Code of Practice on School Admissions when deciding their own admissions criteria.
     
    TRANSITIONAL MEASURES
     
    The Regulations provide that admissions arrangements for the current year carried out by the local authority as the admissions authority before the implementation date, must be honoured by the governing body. The governing body of the new foundation school will be required to honour any decisions taken by the local authority in respect of admissions to the school, both in respect of admission arrangements and offer of places, for the existing admission round.
     
    TRANSFER OF STAFF
     
    Change of school category to foundation will result in a change of employer for the staff of a school. Schedule 3 to the Regulations provides for all rights, powers, duties and liabilities to transfer from the local authority to the governing body or vice versa, as appropriate. Another consequence of changing category is that anything done by the authority in respect of the employee is considered, from the implementation date, to have been done by the governing body.
     
    The effect of this schedule is to protect an individual’s employment rights on transfer. Any agreements entered into by the local authority or governing body before this date, in respect of an individual’s terms and contract of employment must therefore be honoured by the new employer. Equally, if any action has been taken by an employee against the former employer in respect of a liability or duty, of that employer before a school changes category, the liability transfers to the new employer.
     
    LAND TRANSFER
     
    Schedule 6 to the Regulations and Section 198 and Schedule 10 to the Education Reform Act 1988 (as modified by the Education (New Procedures for Property Transfers) (Regulations 2000) (S1200/3209) have effect in relation to the transfer of land. Any land, which immediately before the implementation date was held, or used, by the local authority for the purposes of a community school, will on that date, be transferred to the Foundation School Trustees, to be held in trust for the purposes of the school. If the parties are unable to reach agreement in relation to a transfer, the Secretary of State may give a direction. The change of category can occur whether or not the deeds conveying ownership have been transferred by the local authority. The DfES has provided the contact details of its Schools Assets Team (01325 392 136).
     
    LAND EXCLUDED FROM TRANSFER
     
    Land may be excluded from transfer by agreement between the local authority and the school concerned with the prior written approval of the Secretary of State, or by order of the Secretary of State on application from either party.
     
    RIGHTS TO USE LAND
     
    Where land held by another body was used by a school prior to its change of category, the rights and liabilities connected with the use of that facility enjoyed by the school prior to the change of category will continue to apply. This applies, for instance, to private playing fields, church halls or swimming pools. Where, for example, a community school has by agreement been allowed to use a playing field owned by a sports club prior to changing category to foundation, the school cannot be disqualified from using the facility merely because of the change in category.
     
     
     
     
     
    RELIGIOUS CHARACTER
     
    Voluntary controlled Church of England schools are required to seek and have regard to the advice of their Diocesan Board of Education before publishing proposals to change category. (Section 3 of the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1991 (No 2).
     
    While any voluntary of foundation school may be established with a religious character, it is not possible for any school to gain, lose or change religious character through the change of category process. To effect a change from, for example, a community school to a voluntary school with a religious character, the local authority would need to publish proposals to close the community school, and the Diocese or faith group, as promoters, would be required to bring forward linked proposals to establish a new voluntary school.
     
    ASSETS
     
    Once a governing body has given notice to the local authority that it is to discuss a motion to consult on change of category proposals, an embargo is placed on the local authority from disposing of that property. This embargo lasts until the proposals are decided or withdrawn.
     
    If the local authority believes with reason, however, that foundation school governors are failing to maintain the premises to a reasonable standard, it has the right to intervene. Otherwise the governors have power to use the premises as they wish. If they wish to sell off assets, permission must be sought from the local authority and the Secretary of State who may then decide that the local authority can share the proceeds.
     
    ADVICE TO DIVISIONS IN ENGLAND
     
    Divisions are urged to consider the following points when considering a change of school category to foundation status and to advise members whose governing bodies are considering such a proposal.
     
    The NUT considers that major disadvantages arise from a change in school category to foundation status. Governing bodies in Foundation Schools will be less democratic and less representative. The foundation will be able to appoint a majority of governing body places. This will require a major change to the composition of the governing bodies of community schools when they change to foundation status. This is likely to reduce the numbers of elected parent governors. Governors elected by parents will be replaced by parents appointed by the Foundation.
     
    Four sponsor governors will be appointed as opposed to the current two. This will compound the reduction in democratically elected places on governing bodies. There is the potential for there to be tensions between foundation and sponsor governors, and the remnants of the directly elected constituency of governors.
     
     
    The NUT has grave concerns about the influence of sponsors, not least because educational expertise is not a condition of involvement. Individual sponsors may have backgrounds in construction, recruitment, transportation, publishing, football clubs, holidays and leisure rather than education. Even sponsors from religious education foundations or the independent school sector have little experience in dealing with the multitude of social factors facing inner city schools.
     
    Schools will not receive the same level of support and advice from the local authority particularly in key areas such as preparing for school inspections. This can only be to the detriment of the quality of education provided by schools and the work done by local educational authorities.
     
    Schools will no longer enjoy the value-added of local authority services such as EMAG; school improvement support and subject consultancy services but be confined to receiving the purchased contracted time, if they choose to buy.
     
    The streamlining arrangements may enable, or even encourage, schools to acquire foundation status without adequate consideration. There is a clear danger that much time and effort at school and local authority levels will be diverted from the continuing pursuit of improved standards into establishing and supporting new structures.
     
    The Government proposes to make changes so that in future a Foundation School should be able to increase sponsors from two to four. In effect, this will reduce the number of democratically elected governors on governing bodies. There could be potential tensions between foundation sponsors and the remnant of the directly elected constituencies of governors such as parent governors and staff governors.
     
    Divisions considering a change of school category to foundation status should check whether new arrangements are different from the Burgundy Book arrangements. Where governing bodies seek to alter their position and seek to determine teachers’ conditions of service, the relevant NUT regional office will need to be contacted for advice.
     
    The Government’s proposals envisage a major transfer of the stewardship of public assets to school governing bodies and the acquisition of new responsibilities by governing bodies. The Government describes foundation status as a means to promote, “innovation and educational entrepreneurship, giving school leaders more freedom to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils, parents and wider communities”. The Government has yet to publish any evidence that supports its arguments that the quality of education is enhanced by a school acquiring foundation status.
     
    Further advice and information to divisions will be circulated when the proposed new regulations come into force.
     

  • Schools will not receive the same level of support and advice from the local authority particularly in key areas such as preparing for school inspections. This can only be to the detriment of the quality of education provided by schools and the work done by local educational authorities.
     
    Schools will no longer enjoy the value-added of local authority services such as EMAG; school improvement support and subject consultancy services but be confined to receiving the purchased contracted time, if they choose to buy.
     
    The streamlining arrangements may enable, or even encourage, schools to acquire foundation status without adequate consideration. There is a clear danger that much time and effort at school and local authority levels will be diverted from the continuing pursuit of improved standards into establishing and supporting new structures.
     
    The Government proposes to make changes so that in future a Foundation School should be able to increase sponsors from two to four. In effect, this will reduce the number of democratically elected governors on governing bodies. There could be potential tensions between foundation sponsors and the remnant of the directly elected constituencies of governors such as parent governors and staff governors.
     
    Divisions considering a change of school category to foundation status should check whether new arrangements are different from the Burgundy Book arrangements. Where governing bodies seek to alter their position and seek to determine teachers’ conditions of service, the relevant NUT regional office will need to be contacted for advice.
     
    The Government’s proposals envisage a major transfer of the stewardship of public assets to school governing bodies and the acquisition of new responsibilities by governing bodies. The Government describes foundation status as a means to promote, “innovation and educational entrepreneurship, giving school leaders more freedom to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils, parents and wider communities”. The Government has yet to publish any evidence that supports its arguments that the quality of education is enhanced by a school acquiring foundation status.
     

  • The streamlining arrangements may enable, or even encourage, schools to acquire foundation status without adequate consideration. There is a clear danger that much time and effort at school and local authority levels will be diverted from the continuing pursuit of improved standards into establishing and supporting new structures.
     
    The Government proposes to make changes so that in future a Foundation School should be able to increase sponsors from two to four. In effect, this will reduce the number of democratically elected governors on governing bodies. There could be potential tensions between foundation sponsors and the remnant of the directly elected constituencies of governors such as parent governors and staff governors.
     
    Divisions considering a change of school category to foundation status should check whether new arrangements are different from the Burgundy Book arrangements. Where governing bodies seek to alter their position and seek to determine teachers’ conditions of service, the relevant NUT regional office will need to be contacted for advice.
     
    The Government’s proposals envisage a major transfer of the stewardship of public assets to school governing bodies and the acquisition of new responsibilities by governing bodies. The Government describes foundation status as a means to promote, “innovation and educational entrepreneurship, giving school leaders more freedom to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils, parents and wider communities”. The Government has yet to publish any evidence that supports its arguments that the quality of education is enhanced by a school acquiring foundation status.
     
  •  
    The Government proposes to make changes so that in future a Foundation School should be able to increase sponsors from two to four. In effect, this will reduce the number of democratically elected governors on governing bodies. There could be potential tensions between foundation sponsors and the remnant of the directly elected constituencies of governors such as parent governors and staff governors.
     
    Divisions considering a change of school category to foundation status should check whether new arrangements are different from the Burgundy Book arrangements. Where governing bodies seek to alter their position and seek to determine teachers’ conditions of service, the relevant NUT regional office will need to be contacted for advice.
     
    The Government’s proposals envisage a major transfer of the stewardship of public assets to school governing bodies and the acquisition of new responsibilities by governing bodies. The Government describes foundation status as a means to promote, “innovation and educational entrepreneurship, giving school leaders more freedom to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils, parents and wider communities”. The Government has yet to publish any evidence that supports its arguments that the quality of education is enhanced by a school acquiring foundation status.
     
  •  
    Divisions considering a change of school category to foundation status should check whether new arrangements are different from the Burgundy Book arrangements. Where governing bodies seek to alter their position and seek to determine teachers’ conditions of service, the relevant NUT regional office will need to be contacted for advice.
     
    The Government’s proposals envisage a major transfer of the stewardship of public assets to school governing bodies and the acquisition of new responsibilities by governing bodies. The Government describes foundation status as a means to promote, “innovation and educational entrepreneurship, giving school leaders more freedom to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils, parents and wider communities”. The Government has yet to publish any evidence that supports its arguments that the quality of education is enhanced by a school acquiring foundation status.
     

  • Schools will not receive the same level of support and advice from the local authority particularly in key areas such as preparing for school inspections. This can only be to the detriment of the quality of education provided by schools and the work done by local educational authorities.
     
    Schools will no longer enjoy the value-added of local authority services such as EMAG; school improvement support and subject consultancy services but be confined to receiving the purchased contracted time, if they choose to buy.
     
    The streamlining arrangements may enable, or even encourage, schools to acquire foundation status without adequate consideration. There is a clear danger that much time and effort at school and local authority levels will be diverted from the continuing pursuit of improved standards into establishing and supporting new structures.
     
    The Government proposes to make changes so that in future a Foundation School should be able to increase sponsors from two to four. In effect, this will reduce the number of democratically elected governors on governing bodies. There could be potential tensions between foundation sponsors and the remnant of the directly elected constituencies of governors such as parent governors and staff governors.
     
    Divisions considering a change of school category to foundation status should check whether new arrangements are different from the Burgundy Book arrangements. Where governing bodies seek to alter their position and seek to determine teachers’ conditions of service, the relevant NUT regional office will need to be contacted for advice.
     
    The Government’s proposals envisage a major transfer of the stewardship of public assets to school governing bodies and the acquisition of new responsibilities by governing bodies. The Government describes foundation status as a means to promote, “innovation and educational entrepreneurship, giving school leaders more freedom to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils, parents and wider communities”. The Government has yet to publish any evidence that supports its arguments that the quality of education is enhanced by a school acquiring foundation status.
     
  • Swiss Foundation Trust Consultation

    1. 1. This presentation is in four sections. 1. Questions to ask at consultation meetings. 2. A look at the 14 week process of becoming a Foundation School. 3. TRUST SCHOOLS 4. FOUNDATION SCHOOLS 5. What we can do.
    2. 2.  The governors that are appointed by the Trust – who are they going to be? How are they chosen?
    3. 3.  Why is this new trust/foundation status needed if the proposed “partnership” schools are already working in highly successful relationships with each other?  What are the problems currently being faced that are making the proposed school governing bodies consider going down this route?
    4. 4. It has been stated that schools in the SWISS partnership can only meet the requirements of 14-19 learning by working in a partnership. If this is the case then: a. Are we not meeting the requirements at present? b. How is it that the majority of state schools are not trusts or foundation and yet they appear to manage successful partnerships where necessary?
    5. 5. Linked to the thought from question 3, do you mean that students will have to move between “partner” schools to cover the 14-19 curriculum? If so: 1. What will be the impact on school budgets of transportation costs for the students and staff involved? 2. How is it proposed that this will happen without the cost being detrimental to the education of the students?
    6. 6. How will school communities and pastoral care be addressed effectively with the institution of multi-school trust/foundation status? 1. What will be the impact on Every Child Matters for instance? 2. How is the lost travelling time to be made up? 3. Will the school day have to be lengthened? 4. How will this improve the lot of the average “partnership” student?
    7. 7. It is amiable that the “partnership” schools intend to continue the good work of building business links. 1. Could Foundation Status lead to school fields and property being sold off for development in the future? 2. What safeguards are in place to prevent this from happening? 3. Is this how sustainability is to be achieved by the partnership?
    8. 8.  Can schools in a “partnership” continue to have individual vision and aims? How much room for individual development is there?  If a school does not feel that membership of the “partnership” is benefitting their school can they opt out of it in the future?
    9. 9. Please, for the following partners, can you detail exactly what they are going to invest into the “partnership” schools and what exactly they will receive back from the partnership?  East of England Cooperative Society  Ipswich Town Football Club  ISG Jackson  SNOASIS  Willis What were the criteria used to select these partners and where were the guidelines for this drawn from?
    10. 10.  How is the greater autonomy that Foundation Schools will have in employing staff and securing services going to benefit the students and staff at the schools, and indeed the wider community?  Will duplicating services and weakening the LEA lead to a hike in costs?  What will be the role of the LEA in this? How will it have changed?
    11. 11. What efforts have been made to involve the recognised trades unions in these consultations?  The Association of Teachers and Lecturers  The NASUWT  The National Union of Teachers  Voice  Unison Will these unions continue to be recognised in the proposed partnership schools should they become Foundation/Trust schools? Is SWISS aware of how many trades union members will be effected by this?
    12. 12. WEEK 1 • Information gathering Agree a draft proposal to put to the governing body
    13. 13. WEEK 2 • Governing body meeting to agree to consult Inform the LA by letter of the date and time of this meeting If you are a VC school inform the Diocese of Trustees by letter of the date and time of this meeting WEEKS 3 – 7 • Issue consultation document and allow four weeks for responses
    14. 14. WEEKS 8 – 9 • Governing body considers responses to consultation and decides whether or not to proceed WEEKS 10 – 13 • Publish statutory notice – start of statutory 4 week ‘representation period’ WEEK 14 • Governing body meeting to consider responses and make decision about whether to proceed with changing status
    15. 15. WEEKS 14 – 15 • Apply for a new Instrument of Government • Inform parents and other consultees of your final decision
    16. 16.  We are concerned that private sector involvement as sponsors of Trust schools could lead to them having control of school land and premises; enable them to shape the curriculum and dominate the governance of schools.  Trust school status could undermine the communities of schools. Local authorities would no longer have the capacity to target, flexibly support and advise schools and the ability to co-ordinate effectively the ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda.  Each Trust would have its own admissions policy; a situation which could lead to an increase in covert selection.  The NUT believes, therefore, that the Government’s promotion of Trust school status will lead to the establishment of a framework which will facilitate the ability of a future government to dismantle comprehensive education.
    17. 17. Governing bodies in Foundation Schools will be less democratic and less representative.  The foundation will be able to appoint a majority of governing body places. This will require a major change to the composition of the governing bodies of community schools when they change to foundation status. This is likely to reduce the numbers of elected parent governors. Governors elected by parents will be replaced by parents appointed by the Foundation.
    18. 18. Four sponsor governors will be appointed as opposed to the current two. This will compound the reduction in democratically elected places on governing bodies. There is the potential for there to be tensions between foundation and sponsor governors, and the remnants of the directly elected constituency of governors.
    19. 19. The NUT has grave concerns about the influence of sponsors, not least because educational expertise is not a condition of involvement. Individual sponsors may have backgrounds in construction, recruitment, transportation, publishing, football clubs, holidays and leisure rather than education. Even sponsors from religious education foundations or the independent school sector have little experience in dealing with the multitude of social factors facing inner city schools.
    20. 20. Schools will not receive the same level of support and advice from the local authority particularly in key areas such as preparing for school inspections. This can only be to the detriment of the quality of education provided by schools and the work done by local educational authorities. Schools will no longer enjoy the value-added of local authority services such as EMAG; school improvement support and subject consultancy services but be confined to receiving the purchased contracted time, if they choose to buy.
    21. 21. The streamlining arrangements may enable, or even encourage, schools to acquire foundation status without adequate consideration. There is a clear danger that much time and effort at school and local authority levels will be diverted from the continuing pursuit of improved standards into establishing and supporting new structures.
    22. 22. The Government proposes to make changes so that in future a Foundation School should be able to increase sponsors from two to four. In effect, this will reduce the number of democratically elected governors on governing bodies. There could be potential tensions between foundation sponsors and the remnant of the directly elected constituencies of governors such as parent governors and staff governors.
    23. 23. Divisions considering a change of school category to foundation status should check whether new arrangements are different from the Burgundy Book arrangements. Where governing bodies seek to alter their position and seek to determine teachers’ conditions of service, the relevant NUT regional office will need to be contacted for advice.
    24. 24. The Government’s proposals envisage a major transfer of the stewardship of public assets to school governing bodies and the acquisition of new responsibilities by governing bodies. The Government describes foundation status as a means to promote, “innovation and educational entrepreneurship, giving school leaders more freedom to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils, parents and wider communities”. The Government has yet to publish any evidence that supports its arguments that the quality of education is enhanced by a school acquiring foundation status.
    25. 25. As you are probably aware the NUT has major concerns about the proposal to form foundation schools and to adopt charitable trust status. We are urging our members in the schools affected to meet together and to discuss this proposal. Reps should also try to co-ordinate meetings with the other unions in the schools. REMEMBER OUR MAIN CONCERNS ARE: - the possibility of altering pay and condition for teachers and support staff after Foundation Status has been adopted. - the increased involvement of business in education - the possibility of altering admissions policy and the effect on the future of comprehensive education. - the feeling that this proposal is being rail-roaded without real consultation. As part of the consultation process opponents of the proposal are entitled to write to parents expressing their concerns. The school NUT reps should also write to the governing body outlining their opposition.
    26. 26. Your local NUT officers are here to support you, just click on a link to email: Ipswich Association Ed Sedgwick, Secretary Roger Mackay, Treasurer Anthony Dooley, Disabilities Officer Kathy More, Equal Opportunities Officer Margaret Bulaitis, Campaign Secretary Division Graham White, Secretary Martin Goold, Assistant Secretary Fexixstowe Association Michael Sharman, Secretary 130 CHELSWORTH ROAD FELIXSTOWE SUFFOLK IP11 2UJ 01394 213071 NUT Regional Office Eastern Region TEL: 01638555333 FAX: 01638666480 Email: eastern@nut.org.uk

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