Every school which intends to convert to an academy is required to consult and it is up to the school to decide which parties to involve.
The Governing body of the school will want to include all interested parties, for example parents, pupils, staff and link schools. There is no official requirement as to how the consultation process is run and it is up to the governing body to decide how they want to proceed.
If schools wish to gain the active support of all their key stakeholders on this journey then a well run and inclusive consultation process is important.
Most schools will want to consult widely and give all the interested parties the necessary information and time to be able to express their opinions. They can do this in a number of different ways, for example through holding open meetings, through the school’s website or using the local press or in most cases a combination of all of these ways. The consultation can be conducted at any time before the funding agreement is signed.
The process should be supported by documents and presentations which make it clear exactly what is being proposed, why the change is being considered and the impact of conversion to an academy. The school will need to put in place a mechanism to enable those consulted to be able to provide their feedback, This can be by way of a feedback sheet, email or letter. It is up to each school to decide how long to consult for, but 4 to 6 weeks is generally considered to be sufficient. It is preferable to undertake the consultation in term time to avoid holidays.
The governing body will need to decide how the responses are going to be analysed and reported to the Board, when the Board will decide and how the result of the consultation process will be fed back to the participants.