I have recently had the chance to mull over the model funding document and the model articles of association for the new academies in some detail. It is not a job to be undertaken lightly, as there is a fair amount to get through.
There is lots to comment on, but two issues stand out. It is quite clear to me there has been a massive gap between Gove's rhetoric and sales pitch about outstanding schools being expected to help schools not as 'high-achieving' as them and the reality of what they are being asked to sign up to. There is not a word about any expectation for the academy to help any other school.
Also, there is a vast amount of room allocated to what happens if the school starts not to do well, ie ways that the DfE can shoehorn in Gove's people to 'sort' the school out, if it falls below par. Basically this just seems to be a massive excuse for the chains to come in and take over schools as they begin to not do as well, with the DfE being enablers. Privatisation by the back door?
Just something else for schools to think about as they consider academy status. As governors, our duty is to the school--as it is now and how it will continue in the future. And it is this aspect of continuity that is worrying. A headteacher currently at an outstanding school is clearly doing a good job, and the school will no doubt continue to flourish even if it changes status. But what happens when he/she leaves? This is where things could begin to change at these new academies.
Though some schools are probably keen to move away from their Local Authority, it could be a case of "better the devil you know". At least within local structures there is an opportunity to look someone in the eye and discuss problems face to face and to establish a relationship. Not so with the DfE. Though maybe they are expecting the chains to take over a form of LA role.......? How would we get accountability then, I wonder?