Rated as outstanding in all areas by Ofsted in 2009, Healing School near Grimsby converted to academy status in 2010 and became Healing Science Academy. Mrs Ann Addison, a National Leader of Education and Principal of the school for 10 years shares her thoughts behind the success of the academy.
“One of the things that really appealed to me about becoming an academy was that rather than receiving our funding via our local authority, with them holding some of that back to pay for certain services, we now receive all of our funding direct. This means that we as a school can decide on what services we need, how to get best value for money and what are our spending priorities.
“Since becoming an academy, we have been able to employ an extra Maths and an extra English teacher, which has made a real difference to pupils, who are now taught these key subjects in smaller classes. We’ve also built a much needed extension to our dining facilities, which means that our senior pupils get a much better dining experience.”
Academies have freedom from the national curriculum which means they have the authority to tailor their curriculum according to pupils’ needs. For example, the most academic students get a thorough academic education which includes the EBacc subjects. Whereas the pupils for whom this approach would not be suited are able to study a range of BTEC qualifications alongside the main academic subjects.
“At the same time as working to make our school the very best it can be, I have always been keen to work with other schools, not only to share knowledge and expertise, but also to provide increased opportunities to our staff and pupils. We had previously worked with another school to successfully bring it out of special measures, which was a challenging, but hugely rewarding process. We therefore jumped at the chance to become one of the first teaching schools when the opportunity arose in 2011.”
While the Healing Science Academy demonstrates the flexibility that academy status offers, groups wanting to convert to academy status must deliver a high level of detail in their plans and meet rigorous criteria, including providing robust financial plans, and how the school will provide value for money.
At Nicklin, our expertise in the education sector means that we are ideally placed to advise groups considering applications to convert to academy or multi academy status or, if they are already there, we can help them maximise their financial efficiency. For more information, please contact us.