Greenfield Primary School
Coalheath Lane, Shelfield, Walsall, West Midlands. WS4 1PL Tel: 01922 682234 Fax: 01922 693534 E-Mail: email@example.com Head Teacher: Mrs C Lee BA (Hons) MEd
CENTRAL CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING TRUST CONSULTATION LETTER FOR PARENTS, CARERS AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY 30th January 2023
Dear Parent/Carer or Member of the Local Community,
Our Governing Body’s priority is to enable the school to continue to provide an excellent education for our children while protecting the school’s role at the heart of our community and retaining its unique qualities and strengths. We recognise that the role of Local Authorities in supporting schools is diminishing and that it is Government policy to encourage effective schools to become Academies.
The Governing Body believes the best way of maintaining standards in the future is for our school to join a primary school multi academy trust with Blackwood Primary, Brownhills West Primary, Burton Fields (a junior School), Grange (an infant school), John of Rolleston Primary, Outwoods Primary Redbrook Hayes Primary and William Shrewsbury Primary. The multi academy trust is a Co-operative 'Multi-Academy Trust' (MAT) and each school that joins would become an Academy. Whilst the MAT is known as the Central Cooperative Learning Trust each school keeps its own name which is a decision by the Governing Body. Furthermore, as a Co-operative each school retains much of its independence whilst benefiting from being part of the Trust. Importantly for Greenfield there will also be opportunities for the children and staff to work together across the nine schools.
The Governing Body has therefore agreed to consult on joining the Trust with a view to converting to Academy status from 1st April 2023. This consultation is open to all, including school’s parents, pupils, staff, pre-school and the wider community. We want to hear your views and establish if there is any significant objection for the Governing Body to take into account when making its final decision. The consultation period will end on 15th February 2023.
We have prepared the attached document which includes answers to many 'Frequently Asked Questions'. The Chair of Governors and Headteacher will be available to discuss any questions on Wednesday 8th February at 2.30pm. A feedback form is included within the document for you to return. If you wish to provide feedback, please ensure this is sent to the School Office by midday on Wednesday 15th February 2023.
Mrs C Lee Headteacher
ACADEMY CONVERSION AND CENTRAL COOPERATIVE LEARNING TRUST
his document provides you with information about the proposed change to Academy status and joining the 'Multi-Academy Trust'. The schools currently involved are Blackwood, Brownhills West, Burton Fields, Grange; John of Rolleston; Outwood; Redbrook Hayes and William Shrewsbury.
Why Change our Existing Schools?
In recent years, there has been a drive to create Academies; schools that exist outside of the oversight of the Local Authority. Walsall Council has diminished in size and so has its ability to provide the support and challenge that we believe is necessary to ensure that our school is the very best it can be. Schools have begun to make decisions about their future and we are very conscious that as groups form that choice can become limited. Therefore, as a successful school we want to be able to control our own destiny and to choose the best partners to work with, rather than having this forced upon us.
We know that over the last eleven years, the three schools that formed the MAT have worked together and more recently we have become involved in these activities.
● Networks of subject leaders have been formed to allow them to share ideas and share development plans
● Teachers meet regularly to assess and moderate
● Headteachers meet to discuss the challenges of the changing curriculum.
● Support with implementation of schemes of work in Maths and English.
The eight schools in the MAT have established a shared culture of improvement whilst retaining what they value in their schools which fits with how Greenfield operate. As a co-operative there is engagement throughout the organisation which has been demonstrated in the experiences of the schools who are already part of the MAT. The Governing Body believes this is the right time to join this MAT and to be actively involved in how it develops in the future.
To build on and strengthen existing relationships between schools by making a commitment to school to school support and ensure a more effective self-improvement structure in order to meet our aims. Aims Working together to ensure aspirational outcomes for all learners in the trust and:
● Ensure consistently high expectations across all our schools for pupils, staff, parents and carers.
● Have open and honest relationships with partners, providing support and challenge to achieve common goals.
● Enable all pupils to access high quality teaching and learning experiences by sharing best practice, resources and expertise within the partnership, and developing creative and transformational approaches to help us raise attainment and achievement across our Trust.
● Work effectively with parents, carers and the wider community to develop an aspirational culture and raise standards.
● Work with external partners to enrich learning experiences, thus enabling us to be imaginative and creative in providing opportunities for family and community learning and wider cultural experiences.
● Through the Cooperative ethos, we equip our children with values that will enable them to live fulfilled adult lives, fully embracing the opportunities of the global community and the technological society.
Under these proposals:
• Greenfield remains focussed on delivering excellent teaching and learning within its local community.
• Greenfield will continue to have its local Head with less administration and more time to focus on the teaching and learning within the school.
• Greenfield would continue to have its local governing body.
• All schools will work together on projects to improve education and learning in all schools.
• All schools will share administration and support in order to reduce costs and improve effectiveness.
• A Joint Management Board will exist to provide oversight of the performance of each school and ensure effective investment in improvements across all schools.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is an Academy? An Academy is a state school that is run by an Academy Trust. The Academy Trust 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 and is no longer run by the Local Authority. The Trust is charitable, which means it must operate much like a charity and not for the profit of individuals or businesses.
2. What is a Multi-Academy Trust? A Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is when 2 or more Academies come together in partnership. Our Governing Body believes that the best option is to join a local primary school MAT as that is where our expertise lies. Greenfield Primary school will keep its own name and the overall partnership is known as the Central Co-operative Learning Trust. Greenfield Primary school will convert to an Academy. In the future, it will be possible for other Academies to join the Trust. Through partnership we will support member Academies in:
• developing and sharing best practice in teaching, learning and curriculum
• creating a skilled, motivated, expert workforce
• ensuring high standards through mutual challenge of performance
• making optimum use of their resources.
By joining a Co-operative MAT the Governors are committed to adopting the Cooperative Model for Governance of a Multi Academy Trust. This means Greenfield will be adopting the globally shared values principles of the world wide co-operative movement. A Strategic Advisory group is in place with membership from all of the MAT schools to ensure that there is representation of the views of all members of the Trust, including staff, parents, pupils and the local community.
It will be ‘our co-operative’ where everyone will have a say and everyone’s views will be taken into account. We will be expected to adopt and use the globally recognised set of co-operative values, including; self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.
3. How would converting to an Academy benefit our School? As detailed above, these changes are about enhancing teaching and learning for all children. They would allow us to share skills and operate more effectively.
4. Who will be responsible for running our school? The Central Co-operative Learning Trust has a Board of Directors which is representative of the member schools. The Trust Board will delegate many powers to a Local Governing Body (LGB), which will have a role similar to that of the current School Governing Body. The vast majority of Governors are likely to be the same people as now.
5. What is involved in becoming an Academy? The Governing Body has voted for this proposal in principle and The Secretary of State for Education has approved our application in principle and issued an Academy Order on 28th November 2022 which allows the school to convert if the Governors so decide in due course. The school must complete a consultation with parents, pupils, staff and the wider community which the Governors will take into account in reaching its decision. We are holding an open consultation session on Wednesay 8th February at 2.30pm at the school. We would expect to become an Academy within the Multi-Academy Trust including the eight other schools on 1st April 2023, if the final decision to convert is made by the Governing Body.
6. Would the school have to change its name, logo or uniform? No. There is no obligation for a school to change its name. The school will not be changing its uniform as this would be an unnecessary expense for parents.
7. How will being an Academy affect staff? Currently, the employer for staff at our school is the Local Authority. After conversion all staff will be employed by the Central Co-operative Learning Trust. Staff are legally protected to transfer under the same employment terms and conditions, including pensions. Their continuity of service is protected, and all staff will be consulted in accordance with the Transfer of Undertakings Regulations.
8. How are the children affected? In many ways the children will not notice any immediate difference; they will be in the same uniform, in the same classrooms with the same teaching staff. We will continue to strive for an outstanding education for all our children. However, in time the children may notice changes and improvements in the way that they learn, resulting from the greater training opportunities given to teaching staff to innovate and improve the pupils’ learning. Would the term and holiday dates or the timings of the school day change? No. We would continue to use the term dates published for Walsall schools. There are no plans to change the school day
9. Will we get more money as an Academy? Academies receive the same amount of per-pupil funding as they would receive from the Local Authority as a maintained school. All funding comes direct from Government to the Multi Academy Trust which, through individual school participation on the Board of Directors, then controls the overall budget. Each school does not necessarily have more money, but as a group the schools are better able to control that part of the budget currently "top sliced" by the Local Authority.
10. What are the risks of becoming an Academy? The change to Academy takes a school out of Local Authority control, but does not exclude the school from Local Authority support. For example, Academies can continue to receive finance, HR, behavioural support and other services from the Local Authority and where these represent ‘best value’ the MAT would use these services. Where the MAT feels that others can provide better services or better value the change to Academy increases the freedom to make these changes. There are risks associated with not changing to Academy status. At some stage in the future, any school might be influenced to become part of a broader Academy Chain. We believe that the ability to create a local MAT, under local direction, offers the best opportunity to sustain vibrant, successful local schools
11. How will admissions to the school be affected? We will continue to have clear and fair admission arrangements in line with the admissions law and the School Admissions Code. The Local Authority will continue to have responsibility for making sure there are sufficient places locally and will coordinate the admissions process for all schools. This means parents will still only have to complete one application per child.
12. Does becoming an Academy change the relationship with other schools and the community? No. Academies must ensure that they continue to be at the heart of their community, collaborating and sharing facilities and expertise with other schools and the wider community.
13. Will our responsibilities in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and exclusions change? No. Responsibilities as an Academy in relation to SEND and exclusions will be just the same as they are now.
14. Can a child with a statement or an EHCP nominate an Academy as his or her school of choice? Yes. Schools converting to Academy status can retain the admissions criteria they currently use. These arrangements and related processes must at all times comply with the School Admissions Code.
15. How can I find out more? The best source of information on academies is the Government's own website: https://www.gov.uk/become-an-academy-information-for-schools
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. The Governors and Leadership Team are committed to ensuring that Greenfield Primary School continues to be a good school, serving all members of the community. It is our duty to explore every opportunity to maintain and improve our standards. Your feedback and views really do count and we will keep you fully informed of future developments. Thank you for your continued support.