This Questions and Answers page features a list of questions that are commonly asked by parents, and their answers which are as concise and as truthful as possible. The staff at Maryhill High School and UCAT want you to be as comfortable and informed about these proposed changes as possible, so any further information can also be forwarded to the headteacher directly through the school office.
What is an Academy?
Academies are Government funded schools that provide a first class, free education to local students of all abilities. Each Academy is unique, able to provide solutions to each school’s precise needs, working together based on outcomes from a thorough consultation period involving staff, students, parents and the wider community and drawing on the expertise of the Sponsor UCAT to offer support. They have additional flexibility to be more creative in what they offer and how they are organised and run. All offer a broad, balanced and innovative curriculum, consistent with national curriculum requirements, but offer unique opportunities for courses, experiences and enrichment programmes that are desired by the students’ aspirations.
Successful Academies share specialist experience and facilities with other primary, secondary and special schools, together with the local community. In this way, they play their part in the regeneration of communities, providing a focus for learning and raising aspiration.
What are the benefits of becoming an Academy?
The Academy will raise standards by innovative approaches to management, governance, teaching, training and the curriculum and have the freedoms to make decisions quickly based on the precise needs of their particular school. The Academy will offer a broad range of academic and vocational programmes designed to support students’ progression to a wide range of destinations. Throughout the curriculum there will be a commitment to raising students’ aspirations and developing skills and competencies that give students the confidence and maturity to enter further and higher education or the world of work. The Academy will offer an exceptional learning environment that challenges and engages learners using the very latest technology, which is personal, diverse, and empowering, and which promotes individual and group learning as well as high quality teaching.
When will the Academy Open?
Subject to a successful consultation process and meeting all the DfE requirements. We are hoping to convert by the summer term.
Why should Maryhill convert to become Academy?
Academies bring a distinctive approach to school leadership drawing on the skills of the existing Leadership Team and of the sponsor and the Local Governing Body. They give new opportunities for developing educational strategies that will raise standards and contribute to diversity in areas experiencing a range of difficulties.
The Academy will be an all ability independent school working in innovative partnerships with central government and local education partners. The Department for Education will meet the capital and running costs for the Academy in full, as a part of an overall strategy to raise standards.
How will the curriculum be different?
The main purpose of the curriculum will be to further raise standards and achievement and to ensure we become an outstanding Academy as soon as possible. This will be achieved by providing consistently high quality teaching and learning where success is recognized, celebrated and students are supported to make outstanding progress across all aspects of the curriculum and in their personal development.
Will the Academy be inspected by Ofsted?
Yes, all Academies are inspected by Ofsted using the same framework as for maintained schools. A full inspection is carried out on an Academy within its first few years of opening.
Will the Academy be accountable?
The Local Governing Body and the school’s Senior Leadership Team will continue to have responsibility for managing the Academy day to day. Just like before the Local Governing Body will remain in place including representatives of staff, parents and Local community members. The Board of Directors of UCAT would be the overarching governing body and accountable to the Secretary of State for Education through the legally binding requirements of a Master Funding Agreement. As charitable companies, Academies must also prepare and file annual accounts with the Charity Commission, prepare an annual report for the Charity Commissioners, and ensure that their accounts are independently audited.
Will I be consulted?
Yes we will encourage all feedback, we want everyone to input into the future of this school. Following the first consultation meetings, there will be a range of opportunities for students, staff, parents and the local community to make their voices heard.
UCAT’S website and the school’s website are updated regularly and also include an email feedback mechanism and a wish wall.
The sponsor UCAT can be emailed or written to directly.
A range of further meetings will be held with groups representing all elements of the community. There will be workshops to discuss your needs and aspirations for your school and the Academy logo and brand design.
Whose decision is it whether the proposed Academy goes ahead?
Ultimately it is Secretary of State that will approve the Academy status and this application.
Why do the schools need to become Academies, why can’t they just stay open as they are?
The Academy programme is an integral part of the educational White Paper. The national strategy to introduce Academies aims to strengthen the diversity of education offered, increase choice for parents, and introduce new ways of educational thinking. Fundamentally, Academies aim to raise aspirations and attainment of all the children and young people. They will also play a key role in helping the regeneration of local communities.
How open will the Academy be in its communication with parents through reports, parent/teacher meetings, open evenings, newsletters and website?
There will be continuous, consistent & clear channel of communication with students’ families, with a focus on engaging parents as partners in their children’s learning. There will also be good use of new technologies, including a wide range of resources, information and interactivity on the Academy’s website. This will help support the increased focus on engaging the family of Academy students to promote their wider involvement in Academy life.
What are the qualifications of the teaching staff?
The Department for Education recommends that all teachers are qualified; all the staff at Maryhill High already have qualified teacher status, these teachers and all staff will stay the same and professional CPD will be available to all staff through the Academy UCAT model.
UCAT is the leading University multi- sponsor of Academies in the country and the highly successful sponsorship arm of the University of Chester which has over 170 years of experience of delivering educational excellence and has an education faculty categorised as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. This places UCAT in a unique position to deliver high levels of teaching and learning, training, business support and bespoke CPD to us and for us to share and contribute to a collaborative learning network across its family of Academies.
UCAT’s transformational approach is underpinned by its clear vision and ethos. UCAT’s core values stem from raising aspirations, improving self-esteem. Their approach can be exemplified three pillars of learning: Believe, Belong and Belong; this allows:
- Individuals to believe in themselves and others;
- Cultivates a true sense of belonging to the Academy, the UCAT family and the whole community;
- Unlocks each individual’s potential through personalised learning pathways, so all students become all that they are capable of becoming.
Will the Academy be open to all students?
All Academies’ admissions arrangements are agreed with the Secretary of State as a condition of the Funding Agreement, following local consultation, and are consistent with the School Admissions Code of Practice.
The Academy’s Admissions Policy reflects the fact that the Academy will be an inclusive school that brings together families from all backgrounds, and makes an important contribution to community cohesion.
Will the Academy admit students with a statement of educational needs?
Yes, the Academy will be inclusive and the funding agreement sets out how the Academy is required to follow admission law to cater for children of all abilities. The Academy will regard to the SEN Code of Practice and statutory guidance on inclusion.
Do students attending an Academy follow the National Curriculum?
Academies must agree to follow National Curriculum requirements. However, the National Curriculum itself has become more flexible. Students attending an Academy follow a broad and balanced curriculum, with an option to develop this into a varied and innovative curriculum offering a lot more choice for students. There will also be extra-curricular activities and many educational trips to enrich the curriculum. Furthermore, the Academy will also benefit from being a family member UCAT.
What will happen to staff at the school if it becomes as Academy?
The staff all remain the same they will have the right to transfer to the Academy on their existing terms and conditions of employment. The transfer of their employment is protected by the application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). All staff will therefore transfer to the new Academy on their existing terms and conditions of employment. There are no plans to move away from National Teacher’s pay and conditions and Local Government terms and conditions for support staff.
What is TUPE?
TUPE stands for the Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment and is a law that protects employees when transfers to a new employer. Broadly speaking, TUPE preserves the continuity of employment and terms and conditions of those employees who are transferred to the new employer. This means that eligible employees employed by the previous employer at the date of transfer automatically become employees of the new employer on the same terms and conditions of employment.
Will staff be involved in shaping of any changes to the curriculum?
We will work together with the Senior Leadership Team on developing the Education Brief. We want to consult the staff, because they know what will and will not work and we want to ensure that all key stakeholders are involved in shaping proposals, so that we can build on existing best practice, and offer a curriculum and educational programme that will work and meet the needs of every student.
Will the term dates and hours change?
The Academy will be part of the wider network of schools which means that the Academy will have to have the same term times as the other schools, in particular, during the 14-19 phase.
Will Unions be recognised?
Yes. The support and work of Unions is important and therefore open and honest channels of communication will remain between the Academy, UCAT and Unions.
Is the Academy going to have a new uniform?
We believe this exciting new era in our school’s life warrants a significant and positive acknowledgment of change so the school are proposing to have a new academy name and uniform. The UCAT blazer etc. has been sourced widely to be able to provide a uniform that is high quality and yet inexpensive, durable and machine washable. This includes a black blazer with a red trim, a new tie and a new PE top. Students and staff will have the opportunity to come along to branding workshops to provide input on the new brand and logo for the Academy and to offer their feedback.