Fiona's great thread on BAU/Mentora may have served as a catalyst for halting the Mentora Trust's bid to turn three Oxfordshire schools into boarding schools for Turkish children. However we are left with a lot of questions as to how things got to such an advanced stage before sanity kicked in and stopped the deal. I'm not sure what all Local Authority policies around academies are but I do know Oxfordshire's.
In July 2012, OCC Cabinet approved the county‟s policy statement on academies:
1 The county council wishes to support all schools to become academies. The council recognises that this is a process and some schools will be at different stages in taking this step.
2 The council wishes to encourage governing bodies and the leadership of the school (headteachers and leadership teams) to consider how they might become an academy as part of a larger group of schools. This is to ensure that schools are not isolated and are mutually supportive of each other in raising attainment standards.
3 The council will ensure that support services for schools continue to be available, whether they are provided in-house or through the commercial market place. We will not seek to retain them in-house unless there is strategic value in doing so, but will work with schools to ensure they have access to services.
Now, that doesn't sound like there is a choice to be made does it? ALL Oxfordshire schools WILL become academies. Shortly after that Policy was sent to all County schools, reps from the LA started holding meetings in partnerships, discussing the different types of academies/trusts that could be formed. They were not prepared to discuss any school's desire to remain a maintained school.
In my opinion, this has sent schools into a panic. And where there is panic, bad decisions are always found.
I just wonder if similar policies are in place in other LAs?