Cotham's Journey to Academy Status

Update - March 2012

As you will probably be aware, Cotham is now a Co-operative Academy and this has a slightly different structure of governance to the orthodox academy. Mrs Geraldine Hill-Male has created a working party with several of our governors and they will be working to facilitate the structure and organisation of a representative body called The Forum. This group will take representatives from staff, parents, students, the local community and Cotham alumni and enable their views to be heard.

Dr Malcolm Willis


Update - July 2011

At the meeting of the Governing Body of Cotham School on 6th April, Governors decided that it was in the best interests of the students that the school should apply for an Academy Order to be made under Section 3 of the Academies Act 2010. In coming to its decision, Governors carefully considered the implications of academy status for the curriculum, governance and funding of the school, together with responses to the recent survey of opinion carried out by an independent consultant. Further areas of work were identified and more information will be published below. (Report on Consultation for DfE added 01-August-2011)

The decision was the next stage in the process of considering whether Cotham should become an Academy. Section 5 of the Academies Act 2010 requires the Governing Body to consult on the question of ‘whether the school should be converted into an Academy’. The Governing Body has now undertaken this consultation in line with its previously published communications strategy. The formal consultation period opened at the start of Term Five (27 April 2011) and closed on Friday 24th June..

At the Governing Body meeting on 29th June, Governors considered the responses to the second phase of the consultation. All of the documents discussed at this meeting have been added below.

The Governors agreed:

1 In principle that Cotham School becomes an Academy using the Co-operative Trust model

2 That Cotham School retains the same name “Cotham School” under Academy status

3 To commend the Charter to the Academy Trust for adoption.

The governors met on the 20th July to agree whether the school should move to the final stage of the conversion process to Academy status.

Governors considered the outcome of the consultation in relation to whether the school should convert into an Academy in principle and whether it should convert into an Academy with Articles of Association devised by the Co-operative Schools Group and agreed with the Department for Education.  In reaching a conclusion, governors gave particular consideration to the protected characteristics under the Equality Act and concluded that the proposals do not, at this stage, adversely affect any particular group of individuals involved with the school.

Governance and accountability in a move to Academy status has been a key concern to Governors and stakeholders throughout the process of considering a change of status of the school.  As a result, a key aspect of Governors’ exploration of the benefits and risks of Academy Status has been ways of ensuring a model of governance that ensures ongoing accountability of governors to the school community, which would be based on the school’s vision, values and objectives, as outlined in the Cotham Charter.  (We intend to revisit and develop the Cotham Charter with wider involvement from parents, staff and students.)

The outcome of our investigations and discussions is that Governors feel that the Co-operative Academy model provides the most robust way of ensuring an ongoing commitment to these principles. Becoming a Co-operative Academy would address a number of concerns that have been expressed by stakeholders, particularly parents and carers, through the consultation process.  This model, which has been shared with stakeholders, has received the support of parents/carers and staff at stakeholder consultation meetings and in the written responses to the consultation.

The governors voted unanimously that it is in the best interests of the school to become an Academy on the 1st September 2011 using the Co-operative model Articles of Association.

The Department for Education is exploring the policy context for a maintained school to become a Co-operative Academy.  They have indicated that this may mean that the school needs first to become a standard Academy.  Governors have agreed that, if the Co-operative Academy model is not available, Cotham School will convert to an Academy on 1 September 2011 using the standard model articles of association, as submitted to the DfE, and convert to Co-operative Model Articles of Association as soon as they are available.   (The proposed amendments aim to adopt several aspects of the Co-operative Academy model.)  This resolution was agreed by a majority of Governors (10 votes for, 2 against and 1 abstention.)

Further resolutions were passed to allow the school (specifically the Academy Trust) to enter into the Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State for Education; the Commercial Transfer Agreement with the Governing Body and the LA; the Lease of the school sites and the lease of the Stoke Lodge playing field, also with the LA.

 The governors now await final approval from the DfE and a decision on the process to be followed to convert to a Co-operative Academy.


The Governors of Cotham School are proud of its achievements and committed to securing its continued success.  During this academic year we have been considering all options for the future status of the school including becoming an Academy.  This school website contains some key documents for your information. Any additional documents and updates will be recorded on this page.

Please click the links below for further information.

Documents Date posted or updated on website
Report on Consultation for DfE v7 01 Aug 2011 

Report to Full Governing Body June 2011


This report was prepared for discussion and agreement by the full governing body on 29.6.11. It reports on the investigations to consider the future status of Cotham School and seeks agreement on the Charter, that the Memorandum and Articles of Association for Co-operative Academies are agreed with the Department for Education, the retention of the name “Cotham School” and on future communications with stakeholders. It also covers the curriculum, admissions, consideration of the type of academy, community partnership, a summary of the outcome of the consultation with parents and stakeholders, governance, details of the Academy Trust and proposed Governing Body, land and property, human resources, financial considerations, timeline, equalities impact assessment, risk assessment and has 8 separate Appendices which are posted separately


13th July 2011

List of Appendices

13th July 2011

Cotham School Charter Appendix 1

This has been revised twice to reflect the feedback from stakeholders.

13th July 2011

VWV Comparison Report to Governors on Articles of Association Appendix 2


This report by legal advisors Veale Wasbrough Vizards summarises for the governors of Cotham School the most significant implications of the two different forms of articles of association that could be adopted by the Academy Trust prior to the School’s planned conversion to academy status on 1 September 2011.


13th July  2011

Parent, Staff & Stakeholder Responses to Second Stage of Consultation Appendix 3


This contains a summary of the responses to second phase of the consultation. The written responses are recorded in full detail.


13th July 2011

VWV Trust Model Diagrams Appendix 4


These diagrams by legal advisors Veale Wasbrough Vizards, set out the structure of the two trust models and their relationship to their governing body in visual form.


13th July 2011

Draft memorandum and Articles of Association for Cotham School - the Academy - Appendix 5

To follow

Proposed composition of the Cotham School (the Academy) Governing Body - Appendix 6


The existing governing body intends that the new governing body will reflect its current size and composition as closely as is possible.


13th July 2011

Cotham School (the Academy) 3 year budget (2011-14) and explanation - Appendix 7


This sets out the income projection, expenditure and employee and other costs over the three year period.


13th July 2011

Timeline to establish the Academy by 1st September 2011 - Appendix 8

To follow

Should Cotham School become an Academy? Seeking your views




This consultation form contains a brief summary of the advantages of becoming an academy and seeks responses to the question “Should Cotham become an academy”

6th June 2011

Further information


This provides an update and further information for stakeholders on Curriculum, Governance, Finance and Staff. It includes links to key documents.  


6th June 2011

Themes from consultation with our stakeholders

A report was commissioned from an independent consultant to analyse and summarise individual responses from our stakeholders to the online opinion survey. This paper notes the themes and potential issues and aims to summarise how these could be addressed in a move to Academy status. The paper aims to present a balanced view, within the context of the proposal to move to Academy status and so also identifies remaining issues and concerns

18th May 2011

Approach to Consultation Phase 2


Following on from the Communications Plan, this document outlines the principles and approach to consultation going forward following the Governors’ decision to apply for an Academy Order (at Full Governing Body Meeting on 6th April 2011).


4th May 2011

Cotham School 2011-2012 Budget Context Document


Schools cannot set a deficit budget and have to make their annual financial forecast of expenditure match the income they are given.

This document provides an explanation of the measures necessary (no redundancies have been made) to reduce expenditure and set a balanced budget


22nd April 2011

Cotham School Provisional Budget 2011-2012


Reviewed and approved by Finance & General Purposes Committee, for approval by the Full Governing Body on 25th May 2011.


22nd April 2011

Statement from the Governing Body of Cotham School   8th April 2011

This statement was issued following the meeting of the Governing Body of Cotham School on 6th April 2011, Governors decided that it was in the best interests of the students that the school should apply for an Academy Order to be made under Section 3 of the Academies Act 2010.

8th April 2011

Report on the Analysis of Survey Responses March 2011


Complete report produced by independent consultant Dave Moore, MRC Ltd.


8th April 2011

Cotham Communications Plan - Phase 2

(Working Document)
Objectives of Communication, Proposed Methods Timing and Milestones for consultation with stakeholders drawn up by the Communications Group.

8th April 2011

Report to Full Governing Body 6th April 2011


Findings of the investigations to consider the future status of Cotham

School to inform the decision on the proposal that Cotham School should become an Academy. Malcolm Willis, Headteacher


8th April 2011

Letter to parents


Invitation to attend information evening and to express views using on-line opinion form.


30th March 2011

Cotham's Approach to Consultation

A summary of the rationale behind the approach to consultation, dating back to December 2010. This paper also details Governors’ aims, principles and approach going forward from March 2011.


14th March 2011

Cotham Q & A


The following questions were created by staff and governors following the decision of Cotham School governors to look into the future status of the school and investigate a range of options including conversion to academy status. The answers have been supplied by the headteacher and Governors’ Working Group on Cotham School’s Future Status.


9th March 2011

Governors Summary Paper


Following the decision of Cotham School governors to consider the future status of the school they are now consulting with all stakeholders to seek their views and suggestions. This paper sets out to explain why Governors are investigating academy status, the options and how stakeholders are able to express their views.


4th February 2011

Report to Governors (8th December 2010)


This report was prepared for discussion by the full governing body in December 2010. As time goes on further information is becoming available and there will be further developments. The governing body decided to publish the report in its original form and to provide updates on the school website together with an evolving set of “Questions and Answers”


4th February 2011

Presentation to Parents


Powerpoint presentation given by the Headteacher, Chair and Vice Chair of Governors at two information evenings in February 2011.


16th February 2011