ACADEMIES: WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES DO THEY TAKE OVER FROM THE LOCAL AUTHORITY?
The major responsibilities will include:
- Admissions – ensuring compliance with admissions legislation and guidance
- Premises – health and safety, capital building support, details of construction industry law.
- Purchasing – ensuring compliance with EU purchasing law and tendering processes, and achieving best value through competitive tendering.
- Employment – negotiations with Trade Unions and staff if changing staff terms and conditions.
- Training for staff and Governors on all aspects of school management including safeguarding and legal responsibilities
- Payroll and pensions responsibilities.
- Policies regarding, for example, a vision for the academy, HR policies and procedures including discipline and grievance and others covering all aspects of employment (which have to be agreed with the Trade Unions), behaviour (pupil and staff), staff performance, health and safety and bullying.
- Legislation and standards governing statutory company and charity accounts. This includes production of full statutory accounts including income and expenditure accounts, a statement of financial analysis, a balance sheet and all required notes and other regular detailed income and expenditure returns. These accounts will need to be independently audited. Additionally there are responsibilities for accounting for fixed assets and management of VAT directly to HMRC; registration and administration of pensions for both teachers and non teaching staff; along with regular and often more rigorous challenge of financial matters by Governors
- In a maintained school, ultimate legal responsibility rests with the LA, whereas academies bear the risk themselves.
- The risks which will need to be insured against and include, for example, employment risks (tribunals, costs of dismissal /retirement /redundancy, tax liabilities), generally insurable risks (buildings and contents, professional and personal liabilities, liabilities for children and staff in school and out of school on school/educational activities).
Key responsibilities of the Academies Trust will be to:
Ensure the quality of educational provision
- Challenge and monitor the performance of the Academy – areas of challenge will include curriculum, assessment and attainment, behaviour and attendance, views of the school and the community, staffing and budget
- Appoint the Principal
- Manage the Academy Trust’s finances and property
- Fulfil the role of critical friend
- Employ staff
- Approve the Academy formal budget plan each Academy Financial year (Sept – August).
- Comply with (and ensure that the Academy Trust complies with) both charity and company law
- Manage and comply with the obligations in the Funding Agreement – upholding admissions arrangements and arrangements for pupils with SEN, provision of free school meals, ensure a broad and balanced curriculum that includes English, maths, science and RE.
- Determine their own admissions policy and arrangements although participation in the LA co-ordinated schemes is still required.
- Administer their own school admissions appeals.
The Local Authority retains responsibility for:
Home to school transport (including SEN)
- Education psychology,
- SEN Statutory Assessments and Statements
- Monitoring of SEN provision, parent partnership service, etc
- Prosecution of parents for non-attendance
- Individually assigned SEN resources for pupils with rare conditions needing expensive tailored provision.
- Provision of pupil referral units or education otherwise for a pupil who is no longer registered at an academy
- Co-ordinating admission arrangements.