Towards Academy Conversion: Challenges and Opportunities for Catholic Schools

Author(s): David Fincham, John Lydon

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Abstract: The Academies Act 2010 made provision for all publicly-funded schools in England to become academies. In principle, schools would still be funded by the government but they would enjoy an increased degree of autonomy. In this respect, it is possible to draw parallels with the introduction of Grant-Maintained Schools (GMS) in the 1990s. As then, the prospect of converting to academy status has divided opinion amongst Catholic school leaders. In response to the government's initiative, though, and despite initial concerns, the Catholic Education Service (CES) has worked with the Department for Education (DfE) so that, providing their Bishop agrees that they do so, Catholic schools can apply for academy status. This paper draws on the findings of an investigation based on responses to a questionnaire survey of seventeen headteachers in Catholic primary and secondary schools across eight of the twenty-two dioceses in England and Wales. The intention of the investigation was to elicit their views about the prospect of Catholic schools applying for academy status.

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