Academies

academyAcademies are state-funded schools in England which are directly funded by the Department for Education and which are independent of local authority control. The terms of the arrangements are set out in individual Academy Funding Agreements. Most academies are secondary schools. However, primary schools are increasingly becoming academies; some of the remaining first, middle and high schools, are also academies. They still have to follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools.
 
Academies are self-governing non-profit making charitable trusts and may receive additional support from personal or corporate sponsors, either financially or in kind. They do not have to follow the National Curriculum, but do have to ensure that their curriculum is broad and balanced, and that it includes the core subjects of mathematics, English and science. They are subject to inspection by Ofsted. Academies may specialise one or more areas, such as science; arts; business and enterprise; computing; engineering; mathematics; modern foreign languages; performing arts; sport; or technology. They still participate in the same Key Stage 3 and GCSE exams as other English schools. Like other state funded schools, academies are required to adhere to the National Admissions Code. In terms of their governance, academies are established as companies limited by guarantee with a Board of Directors that acts as a Trust. The Academy Trust has exempt charity status, regulated by the Department for Education. The trustees are legally, but not financially, accountable for the operation of the academy. The Trust serves as the legal entity of which the school is part. The trustees oversee the running of the school, sometimes delegating responsibility to a local governing body which they appoint. The day-to-day management of the school is, as in most schools, conducted by the Head Teacher and their senior management team.
 
Types of academy
  • Sponsored academy: Originally, these were previously maintained (ie under local authority control) school that has been transformed to academy status as part of a government intervention strategy. They are consequently run by a Government-approved sponsor. Some academies have sponsors such as businesses, universities, other schools, faith groups or voluntary groups. Sponsors are responsible for improving the performance of their schools.
  • Converter academy: A previously maintained school that has voluntarily converted to academy status. It is not necessary for a converter academy to have a sponsor.
An academy trust that operates more than one academy is known as an Academy Chain (Group or Federation). An Academy Chain is a group of schools working together under a shared academy structure that is either an Umbrella Trust or a Multi-Academy Trust. An academy with an official faith designation is sometimes referred to as a Faith Academy. 

Features of an academy

Academies are expected to follow a broad and balanced curriculum but many have a particular focus on, or formal specialism in, one or more areas, such as science; arts; business and enterprise; computing; engineering; mathematics; modern foreign languages; performing arts; sport; or technology. They are required to follow the National Curriculum in the core subjects of maths, English and science, but  are otherwise free to innovate, although they still participate in the same Key Stage 3 and GCSE exams as other English schools. In common with other state funded schools, academies mustadhere to the National Admissions Code.
 
Academies are established as companies limited by guarantee with a Board of Directors that acts as a Trust. The Academy Trust has exempt charity status, regulated by the Department for Education The trustees are legally, but not financially, accountable for the operation of the academy. The Trust serves as the legal entity of which the school is part. The trustees oversee the running of the school, sometimes delegating responsibility to a local governing body which they appoint. The day-to-day management of the school is, as in most schools, conducted by the Head Teacher and their senior management team.
 
In Sponsored Academies, the sponsor can influence the process of establishing the school, including its curriculum, ethos, specialism and building (if a new one is built). The sponsor also has the power to appoint governors to the academy's governing body.
 
There are no academies in Wales or Scotland, where education policy is devolved. 

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