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School Organisation & Reorganisation Advice
The principles of school organisation are centred on how schools arrange their core constitution.
With the help of a good school organisation and management plan, a school will be able to ensure there are adequate and appropriate school places and in doing so meet their statutory duty, and ensure that the school will sustain itself for the long term and provide the best quality of education that is suited to the local community.
What is school organisation?
School organisation relates to the structure of an educational establishment. A school can be structured for example as an infant school with a separate junior school on another site; a combined primary school; a community school which is controlled by the Local Authority; a foundation school; an academy run by a Governing Body and independent from the Local Authority or a grammar school run by a Local Authority, Foundation Body or Trust.
Why is school organisation important?
The way in which a school is structured is important for many reasons and the role of school organisation in the local community is a crucial one. For example, certain structures can improve education quality and planning and can boost continuity for pupils. There have even been instances where the importance of school organisation has shown itself in benefits such as reducing traffic, helping the environment and assisting with family life where infant and junior schools on different sites have been merged for example.
The functions of school organisation are to ensure the smooth running of the establishment with the very best possible use of its resources, to clearly set out the responsibilities of the personnel, to reduce costs and to create an excellent reputation.
What are the elements of school organisation?
The main aspects of school organisation are the structure of the school and how it is run, funded and governed; the number of classes; the way in which teachers work with the children and class length across the various areas of study.
What is involved in school reorganisation?
Sometimes a school will decide to reorganise its restructure to fit in with changes in local demographics, or it may be facing challenges to funding. These are just two of the reasons schools elect to reorganise.
Developments in such situations may include merging infants and junior schools to form a single primary school; adding a new feeder primary school; increasing classes or attaching a sixth form.
In changing a school organisation and management system, there are various steps involved which call for specialist legal guidance, including liaising with the school governors, the Education Funding Agency and Ofsted and working through a set consultation process. Articles of Association and funding agreements will also need to be amended and a business plan prepared and submitted for approval.
What is the process of converting to an academy?
One of the most common ways in which a school organisation and administration structure changes in England is by converting to academy status.
An academy is an independent school that receives its funding directly from central government rather than the Local Authority. The Head Teacher is responsible for the day to day running of the academy and is overseen by individual charitable bodies known as academy trusts which provide support, expertise, advice and offer a strategic viewpoint. Academies are in control of their own admissions process, and enjoy a greater degree of freedom when it comes to being able to innovate.
Schools wishing to convert to academy status must go through a number of steps. Firstly there is the conversion application, then once that has been approved, the school will need to join an Academy Trust, or set one up. Responsibilities will then be transferred following which the school can go ahead and prepare to open as an academy. The Education Funding Agency will send an information pack which will set out all the steps to take within the first few months, and the school will be notified as to when it will receive its first payment.
How can HCB Solicitors help schools to reorganise?
For schools wishing to reorganise, there is a vast amount of knowledge available to tap into courtesy of the education law experts and commercial lawyers at HCB solicitors. Working together, they will advise on the full scope of any redevelopment project and all aspects of school organisation for the resulting reorganised institution, including its day to day operation and promotion, together with assisting in explaining the implications and objectives of school reorganisation to staff, parents and pupils.
We are able to advise on and project manage mergers; conversions; developments; expansions; change of category and closures and deliver with clarity the necessary expertise in all related areas including employment law, property law, commercial law, charity law and tax and financial matters.
Our expertise in the conversion of schools into academies is regularly called upon nationwide and our specialist advice has resulted in numerous smooth-running, highly successful conversions thanks to our experience in working closely with sponsors, promoters and project managers.
Schools wishing to change to foundation status or convert to a trust school can also rely upon our specialist knowledge. For community schools looking to become foundation schools we offer detailed guidance through the legal process, including the steps required by the governors at each stage. Our aim is to ensure schools remain legally compliant throughout the course of the transition and we can offer as much or as little assistance as needed, from checking documentation through to full project management.
If your educational establishment is seeking advice on any of the aspects of school organisation, or looking for guidance through a reorganisation, get in touch with HCB Solicitors. Our expertise is available nationwide and we look forward to working with you.
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You may find picking the phone up and talking to us will answer your questions quicker, so please call us on 02920 291704 and we’ll get you through to the team.