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The Benefits Of Academies

Although academisation has had its critics, we believe there are lots of benefits to being an academy. It offers more flexibility and a chance for schools to run in a way that will benefit their staff and students.

Some of the main pro’s of being an academy are:

  • Independence – academies are different from other schools as they are independently run, whereas state schools are under the control of the local authority (LA). This gives the academy more control and flexibility over how the school is run, for example financially and in deciding term dates/lengths. As a result of this, academies are able to put better focus on the bits that are important to their staff and students.
  • Finance – as academies are independent of the LA, they receive their funding from the government directly. They can decide where their money goes, which means they can put funding where they need it and don’t have to wait for it to be allocated to certain areas. As not every school is the same, and not every school will have the same needs, this is a much better solution. The staff and governing body know what is best for the school and can address those areas straight away.
  • Curriculum – being independent of the LA gives academies more flexibility over their curriculum. Not only will this be of great benefit to students, but also to teachers. They can identify the best way to teach their students and therefore adjust the curriculum they teach to reflect this. It often results in students being more engaged in their learning and therefore more likely to do well.
  • MATs – now, we may be a bit biased, but being part of a multi-academy trust (MAT) is often of huge benefit to academies, their staff and students. MATs provide support not just academically but also in other areas the school may not be equipped for, like finance and admin support. Another great thing about being part of a MAT is the ability to share with other schools. Academies can give each other advice and guidance on what works and perhaps doesn’t work well for them, and help each other deliver the best education that works for their students.

If you want to find out more about what academisation is, read our article on academies here.

What Are Academies?

We understand that with all the different guidance available, it can be a little confusing if you’re unfamiliar with academies and academisation.

We believe that academies are an exciting opportunity for schools and all their students. They offer more opportunities to work together to bring about school improvement and better outcomes for students at all phases of education.

So, why is an academy different?

Whereas in the past all state schools came under the control of the local education authority, an academy is a school that is funded directly by central government, and is therefore independent of the local authority (LA).

This independence grants academies more power to run the school how they see fit – which is a great opportunity for schools whose needs aren’t being met by the LA. This includes deciding term times, the length of the school day, the ability to develop their own curriculum and to prioritise where to spend their money. Ultimately being an academy means more flexibility and autonomy.

The majority of academies are part of multi-academy trusts (MATs), like Inspirational Futures Trust (IFT). These trusts provide support and advice for academies, including expertise in specialist areas, such as budgeting.

Won’t my child’s school lose its identity in a MAT?

Absolutely not, especially not as part of IFT. Each academy that is part of our Trust still maintains its individuality, having its own headteacher and governing board.

Ultimately, a lot of the power still remains with the school, more so than schools under LA control. The role of the MAT is providing their expertise to each individual academy based on their needs and aims.

Having multiple academies under one trust provides a unique opportunity to also receive advice from other academies and share successes.

We celebrate the individuality of all our academies and want them to achieve outstanding, so we are here to support them in any way that they need.

St. Katherine’s school joins the Inspirational Futures Trust

A North Somerset secondary school has become the latest to join the Inspirational Futures Trust, a multi-academy trust (MAT) sponsored by the Weston College Group.

St Katherine’s School, in Pill, officially became the fourth academy to join the Trust on Wednesday 1st June and a celebratory event will be held at Weston College, in Knightstone Road, Weston-super-Mare, to mark the occasion.

Dr Paul Phillips, Principal and CEO of Weston College, said: “St Katherine’s School is a dynamic school with high aspirations, it is dedicated to seeing its learners achieve to the best of their ability and it is fantastic to have them officially on board.

“I am delighted that, as a sponsor of the Trust, the College will be able to support St Katherine’s in raising its standards even further and, most importantly, its young people will have more opportunities within their reach than ever before.

“The aim of the Inspirational Futures Trust has always been to raise the standards of teaching and learning in both North Somerset and Bristol, so it really is great news to have St Katherine’s School on board.”

St Katherine’s School joins the North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College, Bristol Futures Academy and Herons’ Moor Academy, who are all part of the Inspirational Futures Trust.

The Trust was set up to raise education standards and aspirations and offer inclusive learning at all levels. It operates with the understanding a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not effective and so its academies retain their own character and values, while receiving support to raise their overall standards.

In 2015 St Katherine’s School was rated as good by education watchdog Ofsted in 2015 and it achieved some of its best ever GCSE results – with 65% of students achieving grade C or above in maths.

St Katherine’s School’s Headteacher, Chris Sammons, said: “I am delighted St Katherine’s has been given the opportunity to join the Inspirational Futures Trust.

“We have developed a strong reputation within our community for the excellent education we provide; we treat each child as an individual, promoting not just high levels of achievement but also individual character, resilient attitudes and a healthy mind, body and spirit.

“We are looking forward to working as part of the Trust to enhance our offering for students which will in turn ensure they leave us with the values and social skills which will equip them for the rest of their lives.”

Inspirational Futures Trust
Weston College Group