Consultation on becoming part of an Multi Academy Trust
As you may already be aware, the government is encouraging schools to become an Academy or part of a Multi Academy Trust. We are in a very fortunate position as we are not one of the schools being forced to do this. For us, this is entirely optional and any changes we may make will be carefully considered with the interests of the students and the local community at the heart of decision making.
During the last year, the Governing Body and I have been considering the possibility of joining a Multi Academy Trust. We have come to a decision that to become part of a Multi Academy Trust is the right thing for The Pingle School at the present time. This means that the school would become independent of the Local Authority and we would have increased flexibility to ensure that services meet the needs of our students and provide good value for money.
We are proposing to become part of The de Ferrers Multi Academy Trust, which is a close neighbour in Burton-on-Trent. This would be subject to due diligence taking place. We already work closely together and joining the Trust is an obvious next step. The Trust is extremely successful and we are very fortunate to have this opportunity. We would be the first secondary school to join the Trust and it is a very exciting venture for both The de Ferrers Trust and for us. The CEO, Steve Allen is a great supporter and friend of the school.
It is important that everyone understands that the school will still be The Pingle School; we will retain the same staff and our inclusive values and ethos. It would mean that we would become a member of a local “family” of schools, rather than a Local Authority school. Any changes which take place in the future would be to make the school even more successful.
What is an Academy?
An Academy is essentially a school which is funded by the state. It is independent of the Local Authority.
It is proposed that The Pingle School will become an Academy as part of The de Ferrers Multi Academy Trust.
What are the benefits of being an Academy?
There are numerous benefits, for example:
- Academies are independent of Local Authority control – this means that Academies have more freedom.
- Academies have more flexibility to decide the curriculum to be taught – Academies do not need to teach parts of the National Curriculum which they do not consider appropriate for their students.
- Academies can choose the most appropriate and effective services to support their students.
Will the admissions arrangements change?
The Trust would deal with admission arrangements and would also still be bound by the national Admissions Code and Admissions Appeals Code.
The current admission arrangements will remain in place. If the Academy wanted to change its admission arrangements, consultation would be required.
Will staff leave?
Staff currently employed by The Pingle School will remain.
Will The Pingle School definitely become part of a Multi Academy Trust?
The Governing Body has submitted an application to become part of The de Ferrers Multi Academy Trust, but the school will not become an Academy until the contract between the Academy Trust and the Department for Education (known as the Funding Agreement) is signed.
We will not sign the Agreement until parents and carers of students at the school, staff at the school and students themselves have had the opportunity to comment on the proposals. We have held meetings with staff and will be keeping students informed throughout the process. There will be an open meeting on Wednesday 14 December 2016 at 5:30pm, to learn more about and to comment on the proposals. David Baker, Chair of Governors and other members of the Governing Body will be present and Steve Allen, CEO of The de Ferrers Multi Academy Trust, will also be present to answer any questions.
Any comments or representations which are made about the proposals will be considered before a decision is taken.
The Agreement will not be signed unless there is confidence that this would be in the best interests of the school.
Will The Pingle School change?
We do not intend to change The Pingle School except in ways which we think will further improve the school. For students, it is unlikely that they will see much, if any, change in their day to day school lives. We will retain the same uniform and our inclusive ethos. Academies do have the power to vary their curriculum and vary the length of the school day, but, it is not intended to take any such steps at this stage and we would engage with parents/carers, staff and students if we did ever intend to make such changes in the future.
We will continue to work with Derbyshire County Council as an important local partner, for example in the placement of children with SEND within the school.
How can I find out more?
You can attend the meeting, which will be held at the school on Wednesday 14 December 2016 at 5:30pm. We would encourage you to attend if you have any questions, or simply want to learn more. If you have any questions and cannot attend the meeting, you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I give my view or make representation?
The closing date for views and representations to be made is Thursday 19 January 2017. Representations can be made in writing to the school’s address, marked for my attention, or emailed to email@example.com.
Please be assured that the Governors and I will continue to strive to ensure we have in place the very best provision for your sons and daughters and we will do our very best to ensure the school goes from strength to strength.
Mrs V Sharples