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Academy Status

Please find below further information regarding the school's application for Academy Status.

Key Guidance Consultation for Parents, Carers and our Local Community

WHY CHURCH SCHOOLS ARE JOINING MATS

Mission and Ethos

Ø  Diocesan MATs and their schools share the same mission: to nurture the whole child through encouraging them all to flourish as children of God - spiritually, morally, socially, culturally as well as academically. 

Ø  Headteachers and governors trust their Diocese, already feel part of the Diocesan family and wish to extend this relationship by joining its MAT as a way of securing and strengthening the Christian ethos of their school. 

Ø  Diocesan Boards of Education have a distinguished record of supporting Church schools over many years because of their creditable and respected Officers and Advisers.

Ø  In these uncertain times Diocesan MATs offer schools a strong sense of stability and continuity. 

 

Collaboration Opportunities

Ø  Leaders and other staff can share thinking and planning with like-minded colleagues to spread expertise and tackle challenges together. 

Ø  Shared professional development can more easily be arranged, whether led by staff from one of the MAT schools or an outside body. 

Ø  Members of Local Governing Bodies can come together to share strategic thinking, combine skills and support each other during challenging times. 

Ø  Leaders and other staff who have a common purpose can be shared across more than one school, enabling schools to find creative solutions to recruitment challenges, retain staff by providing new opportunities within the group and plan succession more effectively.

 

Pupil Outcomes

Ø  Evidence shows that the strong collaboration with shared accountability offered by MAT membership leads to better academic and other key outcomes for pupils and help schools meet the ever-rising external expectations.

 

Economies of Scale

Ø  MAT schools find it easier to recruit, share, fund and deploy specialist expertise (for example: data analysis, finance, health and safety) and provide richer curricular and extra-curricular activities.  

Ø  The economies of scale and collective purchasing made possible within larger groups help schools cope better with shrinking budgets. 

 

THE SOUTHWARK DIOCESAN BOARD OF EDUCATION  MULTI-ACADEMY TRUST – (SDBE MAT)

OUR VISION & MISSION

 Vision

Our vision is to establish a culture and context in which schools can grow and flourish and provide an excellent education with Christian values at its heart. We will seek to enable all children and young people in our schools to realise their God-given potential, aspire to exceed their expectations and to build a Christ-centred community.

 

Mission

To be a high performing Diocesan Multi-Academy Trust which promotes excellence, inclusion and diversity.

 

In partnership with the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education, to lead schools rooted in Christian values.

 

To enable a strong collaborative approach between schools which enriches and develops best practice and celebrates success.

 

To enable the mission of God through the work of the Diocesan Multi-Academy Trust.

 

To provide exemplary service to its schools in partnership with the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education.

 

Further information on academy conversion and consultation process

What is an academy?

An academy is a state school that is run by an academy Trust and not the Local Authority. The academy Trust is a charitable body, which enters into an agreement with the Secretary of State for Education that sets out its responsibilities and accountabilities for the effective running of the academy. The academy is funded directly by the Government not through the Local Authority.

 

What is a Multi-Academy Trust?

A Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is where a number of schools join together and form a single Trust with a Board of Trustees answerable to the Trust’s Members. Members of the Trust are a group of independent people who are responsible for the strategic oversight of all Academies within the Trust. They are the conscience of the Trust, ensuring that the objectives are upheld and monitor the effectiveness of the individual Academies, manage central services and report to the Secretary of State. They work to ensure that individual Academies are performing to the best of their ability and that they get the support and challenge that they require. The MAT will have a Board of Directors which will include individuals from some of their member Academies. The Trust will delegate many powers to a local governing body (LGB) which will have a role similar to that of the current School governing body. These powers are agreed by both the school and the Trust.  The LGB will consist of the same governors as we have now.

 

Why is the school considering converting to an academy? 

The school is currently in a very strong position but the educational landscape is changing rapidly and our concern is that the school will become isolated. The expectation of the Government is that all schools will become academies, work together and support one another. It is imperative to safeguard the ethos and success of the school and protect the students and staff from future isolation or threats and to widen the support we offer to other schools. Local Authority support is also diminishing along with the scope to apply for additional funding to enhance the educational experience of the students. 

We think we have something to offer the wider community of schools and feel that we will also benefit from working with the other schools within the Trust, improving together.

If the decision is made to convert, it is intended that the school will become an academy within the SDBE MAT. This will mean that the school will be in a position to work more closely with other schools. The priority will be to work with schools within the local community ensuring current and future students receive the best educational experience to which they are entitled.

 

Consultation Process 

Monday 15 May 2017 Full consultation period commences.

Thursday 25 May 2017 Public consultation meeting takes place.

Monday 12 June 2017 Consultation period ends.

Thursday 29 June 2017 Views from the consultation will be considered by Governors and the decision as to whether to proceed or not will be made.

1 September 2017 - If the decision is to proceed, it is anticipated that the school will open as an Academy on 1st September 2017.

 

Parents can be assured that your children’s education will not be affected during this period.

 

Why the SDBE MAT?

There are 106 schools within the Diocese, the majority of which are in a very strong position with 90+% rated as Good or Outstanding, by Ofsted.   Mindful that the educational landscape is changing and Local Authority support is diminishing we believe that by forming our own Trust and offering the opportunity for our schools to join, we can continue to build on the success of the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education.  It enables us to create greater security, provide stability, offer more services, and develop greater relations and knowledge sharing not just within regions but across the Diocese, ultimately improving the educational experience for our children.

The SDBE MAT Board and Executive Team have a very clear understanding of how we want the Trust to operate, specifically our clear and joint commitment to the protection of our schools’ autonomy.  

 

Advantages of joining the SDBE MAT:

Ø  Protection of the school’s ethos and inclusive philosophy by maintaining control of our own identity

Ø  Better opportunities to share best practice and professional development

Ø  Control of our own curriculum, continuity of education and opportunities for all children

Ø  Further strengthening of transition between phases

Ø  Programmes across the schools, adding real value to the education of all children

Ø  Increased opportunities for children to work with other local schools, broadening their social horizons

Ø  Recruitment of staff – better opportunities to work across all schools

Ø  Greater access to partnerships and links

Ø  More opportunities for staff retention, deployment and promotion, by keeping good staff within the Trust who might otherwise further their career elsewhere

Ø  A good, strong base for developing leadership

Ø  Increased economies of scale and efficiencies in the running of central services such as finance (purchasing and resourcing), HR, and premises

Ø  Greater freedom on how best to utilise our allocated budget

 

What will stay the same?

Ø  Distinctive Christian character and identity

Ø  Ethos, aims and values

Ø  School name, logos and uniform

Ø  Parental community and staff representation on the local governing body

Ø  Foundation governors remain in the majority

Ø  Curriculum

Ø  OFSTED & SIAMS Inspections

Ø  Educational Partnership and collaboration with other schools

Ø  Arrangements relating to Special Educational Needs

Ø  Pupil admission criteria

Ø  Free School Meals

Ø  Staff Pay and Conditions.

Ø  Commitment to the community

 

The decision on whether to join the SDBE MAT will be taken by the Governing Body and Headteacher based on what is considered best for your school, children, staff and wider community. As part of the decision-making process, the governing body will always undertake a full consultation with our stakeholders and will take their views into account before any final decision is made. 

If the Governors decide not to join the MAT, there remains a possibility of being required by the Government in the future to convert to Academy status and join an established MAT.

 

How can I make my views known?

You are invited to submit your comments and views using the following email address: admin@st-michaels.bexley.sch.uk or in writing via the school office. We have prepared a short questionnaire which is included in this consultation pack and can also be returned via the school office. In addition, we invite you to attend the Public Consultation meeting detailed below. Any views expressed at this meeting will be captured and included in the final considerations of the Governing Body. 

A public consultation meeting will be held at St Michael’s Primary School on Thursday 25 May 2017 at 7pm. A record will be made of all questions raised and placed on the school website. The formal consultation period will close at 5pm on Monday 12 June 2017.

Our proposal for conversion to MAT status is underpinned by a shared commitment to ensure the best possible outcomes for children at St Michael’s Primary School and that the individual identity, characteristics and ethos of the schools are maintained and strengthened.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (Parents, Carers & Communities)

Q: Who determines whether a school applies to become an academy and join the SDBE MAT?

A: The governing body. In the case of a maintained school the formal resolution to convert to an academy must be recorded in the minutes of a full meeting of the governing body.

Q: We work closely with our local schools. Can we continue to do so within a Diocesan MAT?

A: Absolutely. This is a fundamental aspect of our MAT’s philosophy. It will be important to maintain existing links with local schools. Our aim is for local hubs to develop within the Diocesan MAT so that local schools support and strengthen each other. Good and Outstanding members of school staff will be encouraged to share their expertise across both these local hubs and more widely across the MAT.

Q: What would be the timescale and process for conversion?

A: The DfE estimates that it usually takes between 4-5 months for a school to convert to an academy. Conversion can take place at any time during the year from the 1st of a month. Should your school decide to join our MAT, we would work closely with your school through the conversion process, providing project management support to make the conversion process as seamless as possible for your school.

Q: If we convert will we lose our individuality?

A: No. We recognise that schools have their own unique identity, and we want to celebrate this. We see this as a key benefit of being part of our MAT. There is currently no expectation that your school’s uniform, name or its distinctiveness would be altered as a result of your school’s conversion, other than losing the term Voluntary Aided or Controlled.

Q: How will the Diocesan SDBE MAT be structured? 

A: As with other MATs there will three levels of governance: Members, Directors and Local Governing Bodies (LGBs). The Members of the SDBE MAT company have the strategic oversight and are responsible for reporting annually to the DfE on the performance of the Trust, holding the directors to account for the performance of the SDBE MAT. They appoint the Directors.

The Directors have responsibility for the overall management of the Company and hold the master Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State They will oversee the delegation of responsibilities to the LGBs of each academy and hold the LGBs to account, manage compliance and monitor performance of the Academies in the SDBE MAT. The LGB is likely to mirror the current VA model and will have delegated powers from the Directors (see below).

Q: Who is the MAT accountable to?

A: The MAT is accountable to the Secretary of State. As a company limited by guarantee, the MAT must prepare and file an independently audited annual report and accounts with Companies House.

Q: Will the school’s Governing Body remain the same when it joins the SDBE MAT?

A: Each school within the SDBE MAT will have a local governing body (LGB). The SDBE intends that these will mirror the VA model as closely as possible and, therefore, that those currently on the governing body will remain. Technically, however, the SDBE MAT appoints all governors including those traditionally appointed by PCCs, Deaneries, etc. In practice the SDBE MAT would seek nominations from these bodies. Local incumbents would, as now, be ex officio governors and current links with local parishes/deaneries would be retained. Staff and parent governors would continue to be elected by their constituencies.  

Q: Will the LGB have powers?

A: LGBs will have delegated responsibility for the governance of their school under a Scheme of Delegation. We envisage that good or outstanding schools will see a minimal change in governance and will have delegated responsibility for appointing senior staff, admissions, finance, buildings, etc. The SDBE MAT would technically have the right of veto over all decisions, but is likely to exercise such rights only in extreme circumstances.

Q: Will a church school retain its religious character on becoming an academy?

A: Yes. The religious character remains the same for an academy and cannot be changed through the process of acquiring academy status. The academy would be deemed to be an independent school with a religious character. The SDBE MAT will ensure that the school’s Christian ethos is protected. The SDBE will insist on certain safeguards in its Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State and any supplemental agreements for each academy in relation to RE and collective worship, appointment of the Headteacher, etc. 

Q: Will our school ethos change as a result of joining the SDBE MAT?

A: No. Each church school will retain its individual ethos and unique identity as part of the diverse Diocesan church family. The SDBE is determined that the Diocesan family of schools stays together and it is committed to continuing and enhancing its support for and development of the church school family. Academisation is a process to a different status and different way of working, but it must do nothing to diminish the Church of England foundation of our schools. The SDBE will do all in its power to secure the Christian ethos of our schools for future generations of children.

Q: Will the role of the Headteacher remain the same?

A: Yes. It is anticipated that the Headteacher’s role will remain the same. Each school will retain a Headteacher unless there is a need to consider a different model for an individual school or schools on the retirement, or resignation, of a Headteacher.

Q: Will staff be able to work in other schools within the MAT? Will they have to?

A: Staff will have the opportunity to work in other schools within the MAT. We believe this will be a great opportunity for staff development.

Q: How much say do individual schools have in their own budgets?

A: Individual schools will still set their own budgets with assistance from the MAT. Budgets will need to be signed off by the school’s local governing body, and then the MAT Board, prior to formal submission to the EFA.

Q: How will SEN funding work?

A: Special needs remains the responsibility of the Local Authority so the LA is obliged to deliver the same levels of support to academies as they do to Local Authority maintained schools. This includes access to high tariff needs funding as well as access to specialist provision via the same systems and procedures that maintained schools are subject to.

Q: Will we still have OFSTED and SIAMS inspections?

A: Yes, OFSTED is responsible for monitoring academies and SIAMS inspections will continue for Church schools. 

Q: What will be the process should our school’s results drop, or an OFSTED report identify areas for improvement?

A: As the SDBE MAT is responsible for standards, it will regularly monitor the performance of schools in the SDBE MAT and intervene as necessary (e.g. if pupils are not making required progress). The SDBE MAT would support the school’s action plan and broker external support if required. It would also be responsible for ensuring that areas for development in an OFSTED or SIAMS report are followed up. We would also expect schools to notify the SDBE MAT of any issues.

Q: Are there benefits of conversion in terms of educational outcomes?

A: Evidence suggests that schools working together in formal partnerships leads to improved standards. Joining the MAT will give you increased opportunity to collaborate with other Academies within our MAT. 

Q: Will there be greater flexibility in the curriculum?

A: Yes. Academies do not have to teach the national curriculum. However, all academies must teach a broad and balanced curriculum which includes RE. For pupils below Key Stage 1, academies are required to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The SDBE MAT Board will determine how much flexibility there is to depart from the national curriculum and, as such, schools will be expected to put a case to the SDBE MAT if they wish to exploit this flexibility. It is anticipated that the SDBE MAT will wish to support creative, exciting curricular approaches.

Q: Does the LA still have responsibilities for academies within the MAT?

A: Yes, the LA still has responsibility for the following:

Ø  home to school transport, including transport for pupils with special educational needs (SEN)

Ø  education psychology, SEN statements and assessment

Ø  assigning SEN resources for pupils who require high levels of additional resource (this is a top-up to formula funding under a separate contract with the LA)

Ø  monitoring of SEN provision and parent partnerships

Ø  prosecuting parents for non-attendance

Ø  provision of pupil referral units for a pupil no longer registered at an academy.