Sidmouth Road, Welling, Bexley, DA16 1DR          Tel: 020 8303 4949        Fax: 020 8303 4828       Email: admin@hillsgrove.bexley.sch.uk      

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What was our Academies Proposal

 

Background

Our proposal was to create a new local Multi Academy Trust of like-minded, successful primary schools in Bexley in order to increase collaboration, to enhance leadership capacity, to ensure future security and to build on shared outstanding practice.  Four local Primary schools are proposing to form the Amadeus Primary Academy Trust from September 2015.  All of the schools have worked successfully together as members of the Anglican Schools Partnership and the Bexley Collaborative but we believe that joining together as an academy provides an exciting opportunity to improve further the education for all our children.  Post conversion to Academy status, each school will retain their current name, respective ethos and values.

What are academies?

Academies are publicly funded schools, which are not controlled by the Local Authority and therefore have additional independence in a number of important areas. This greater independence brings increased responsibilities and opportunities to build upon our current success and ensure that we continue to improve our service to families in our local community. You can view further detail on academies at the Department for Education website at: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/academies.

What is a multi-academy Trust?

A Multi-academy Trust, builds on the principles above, and is where two or more schools convert to academy status together.  A single academy board (a company limited by guarantee) is formed to provide the strategic leadership and oversight of the schools in the trust.  Each school will retain its Local Governing Body, which will operate in much the same way as it does at present.

What is Amadeus Primary Academy Trust?

The Amadeus Primary Academy Trust (APAT) is a proposed Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) made up of Holy Trinity Lamorbey CE Primary School and St Paulinus CE Primary School with Old Bexley CE Primary School and Hillsgrove Primary School, who already work together in a formal Collaboration, the Old Bexley CE and Hillsgrove Partnership.  The proposal has received approved from the Department for Education, Bexley Council and Rochester Diocese and we now wish to consult with community and stakeholders.

APAT proposes a board made up of thirteen trustees as representatives from the four constituent Schools – the head and two governors from each, along with the CEO of the trust.  Two of the governor trustees would also be members, one to represent faith schools and one to represent community schools.

Why join APAT?

Our schools have been part of the Anglican Schools’ Partnership, Bexley Primary School Leaders’ Conference and the Bexley Collaborative for some time, where the Head Teachers of all the schools meet regularly to support each other in the common goal of improving teaching and learning.  Over recent months our schools have worked more closely together to achieve this through shared expertise, developing common systems and reviewing improvement procedures transparently, supporting one another to improve standards.  We believe, like many other schools that have already done so, that this can be made significantly more effective if our four schools were to join together formally in an academy chain with stronger relationships and greater autonomy.  This will be achieved through collaboration, common vision, mutual values, collective responsibility and effective accountability, ensuring continued improvement and security within a local autonomous Trust of equal partners.

Why Convert to Academy status?

First, becoming an academy would allow us to strengthen cohesion between the four schools in order to improve the education of our children by strengthening our mutual support, sharing leadership, expertise and best practice as well as providing more local responsibility and accountability for a group of like-minded schools.  Secondly, there would be greater flexibility in how we spend our funding.  At present the Local Authority retain a significant percentage of our budget to provide centralised services.  As an academy, we would be able to determine for ourselves which, if any, of those services we want the Local Authority to provide.  Any funding saved would then be available to our Academy schools for our own priorities.  Finally, academies are becoming a reality across the country and many of our neighbouring schools have either recently converted or are in the process of converting.  Many of the traditional services provided by the Local Authority are being withdrawn as a result of increasing funding pressures and this situation is only likely to worsen.  It is the Governing Body’s considered view that the time is now right for our schools to seize the initiative and take control of our own destiny.

What might change?

Accountability would be direct to the Department for Education rather than the Local Authority.  There would be some additional financial reporting required to satisfy the requirements of Companies House and the Charities Commission.  This burden will be managed centrally and not by individual schools.  In the years ahead, the education system faces further significant changes, which will be of concern.  These changes will affect us whether we become an academy or not.  However, the governing body firmly believe that as a member of the proposed Amadeus Primary Academy Trust, we will manage change more effectively, protect our autonomy, support each other during times of challenge and strengthen our ability to meet the future together as a united and committed group.

What would stay the same?

Schools joining the MAT will retain their own distinctive character and identity, including their own uniform, logo and web site.  Most importantly, our schools will keep their own ethos and values.  Our aim as a Multi-Academy Trust is that other than improving resourcing, school to school support and the organisation ‘behind the scenes’, things should not seem any different on a day to day basis for our staff, pupils and parents.

What happens next?

We are now entering a consultation period running from 29th April 2015 to 24th June 2015. During this period we will be consulting with parents/carers, students, staff, unions, the Local Authority, the local community and local schools.

 

Each school will hold an open Community Consultation Meeting, to provide more information and the opportunity for you to ask questions. Details of this are available in the consultation letter and on each school’s website.