What does reintroducing grammar schools back into Britain's educational landscape mean?

What does reintroducing grammar schools back into Britain's educational landscape mean?

In the summer of 2016 the Prime Minister Theresa May announced her intentions to reintroduce grammar schools back into Britain's educational landscape.

At the age of eleven pupils are to be formally tested in order to ascertain their perceived educational level. Those of equivalent educational ability are to be placed together for their secondary education. The reason behind such a proposal is that, by dealing with a classroom of students of a perceived equal educational level, the students will benefit from specifically tailored curriculum.

Grammar schools are just one of many different schooling profiles within the U.K. Others include public, private, state and academy schools.

Academies, although state funded, are different to other mainstream state schools in that they are separate from the Local Education Authorities, and instead are part of a trust. This offers a level of independence to the school, providing the school with a degree of autonomy in all aspects of its day-to-day running.

Such autonomy takes different forms. One is a relaxation of the requirements to strict adherence to the National Curriculum except in 'core' subjects such as Maths or English. This gives the school the opportunity to specialise in other areas such as arts or science. Another advantage is that power over teachers' pay and school term times is delegated to the school. What is more, the Department for Education offer each proposed-academy a grant of up to £25,000 to aid the conversion process.

Their proponents claim that academies have a record of improvement twice as fast as non-academies. Opponents argue that conversion is leading to a privatisation of the schooling system. This said, academy conversions are becoming a popular choice, with reports in 2016 that of the 3,381 secondary schools, 2,075 now have academy status.

Conversion to academy status is started either voluntarily (converter academies) or compulsorily (sponsored academies). Sponsored conversion, which is imposed by a government or local authority on to a school, is becoming more widespread, with the Education Secretary claiming that all schools would have academy status by 2022. Therefore the autonomy that comes with a voluntary conversion makes it a very attractive proposition.

What do we offer?

At Clapham and Collinge we understand that no two conversions are the same so our service is tailored to your school's individual needs. Whether you require assistance with the legalities, or a fully supervised service throughout the conversion process – we are equipped to provide a bespoke service at a competitive price.

We are able to assist in all areas of the conversion. These include:

  • Initial advice during the consultation period.
  • Assistance and support during Governor's meetings.
  • Facilitating the merger with an existing multi-trust or creating a brand new trust.
  • Assistance with adherence to the articles of association and Department for Education's governance requirements.
  • Advising and carrying out the legalities required from by the Land Registry.
  • Assisting with full employment advice including TUPE transfers.
  • Providing assistance with the assessment and revision of existing contractual obligations.
  • Advising and assisting with the Commercial Transfer Agreement.
  • Making you aware of any legal updates during the process.

If you are a school currently considering the voluntary process of conversion to academy status, or are part of a sponsored conversion, our Education Solicitors will be delighted to help. Contact us today on 01603 693500 for appointments at our Norwich, North Walsham, Sheringham or Brooke office or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form.