You may be aware of the announcements by the Government making it clear that it wants all schools to become academies, or have a plan in place to become an academy. Whilst the compulsory nature of this has been removed it appears that this is still the long term policy of the current Government.
The preferred structure when becoming an academy is a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), which is where a group of schools/academies join together and form a single Trust company with a single board of trustees who are responsible for the strategic running of the Trust and are accountable for the Trust. The Department for Education, Ofsted and the Regional Schools Commissioner are all supportive of MATs as are all three main political parties. There is also an increasing body of evidence demonstrating clear benefits when groups of schools work collaboratively within a MAT arrangement. An Academy receives its funding directly from the Government and does not have any money withheld by the Local Authority to fund its services.
Over the last 12-18 months, our Governing Body has continued to revisit the issue of Academies and MATs and whether or not this model was in the best interests of the children, teachers and staff at our school. They believe it is and have voted unanimously to explore this in more detail. At the same time, a number of our partner schools have arrived at a similar conclusion and their Governing Bodies have voted similarly to ours.
Our governing body would now like to consult more broadly with parents as to the best way forward for the school; the ten other schools identified above are also consulting on forming the MAT at the same time. This means the proposed MAT will be made up of 7 community schools, 2 foundation schools and 2 church schools; this is often referred to as a ‘mixed MAT’ and they are becoming more common as MATs increasingly reflect local partnerships or ‘families of schools’. For the avoidance of any doubt, the community schools will remain as community schools, foundation schools as foundation schools and the church schools as church schools and the structure of the MAT will protect and enshrine the individual character and ethos of each school.
The 6 week consultation period (30 school days) will take place from Monday 30th October – Friday 8th December. As part of the consultation we will be holding a meeting on the evening of 9th November 2017. The evening will take the form of informal table top discussions where representatives of the Governing Body and Senior Leadership Team will be on hand to discuss academy status with attendees. The meeting will start at 5.30pm and last for approximately one hour.
We have included two additional attachments with this information:
- A detailed FAQ document (I trust that this answers a number of initial questions)
- A feedback form; please complete this and return to school
We want and value your feedback and would encourage you to engage in the consultation process. I would like to thank you in advance for making the time to get involved with this important issue.