14th June 2023
Formal consultation begins.
The consultation period ends on Monday 17th July.
For more information see the letter below:
If you have any feedback on the decision that you would like to share with the Governing Board, then please use the online form below. The information gathered will be reported to Governors and all points considered.
13th June 2023
Document detailing the benefits of joining True Learning Partnership published, see attachment below.
1st June 2023
First round of FAQs published.
22nd May 2023
Parents were informed of the outcome of the governor votes in a letter sent home, this started a phase of informal parental consultation in the form of a FAQ list. Parents were invited to submit any questions they had to: email@example.com
Summer Term 2023
The full Governing Board met to review all the information that was presented to them. Governors then passed a resolution to move from Local Authority control to become an academy. In addition, Governors also voted to pursue joining the True Learning Partnership. A link to their website is provided below.
Spring Term 2023
The shortlisted MATs were both invited into Bramhall High to present to our Governing Board and Senior Leaders. Both MATs presented and held a Q&A session with us. They also responded to further questions following the meetings once governors had time to digest the information.
Autumn Term 2022
In September 2022 the Governing Board formed an academisation research group. The group set out to research multi academy trusts (MATs). We primarily looked at trusts within the north west of England but also investigated some national trusts.
The research group researched a considerable number of MATs and narrowed the list down by using the set of criteria. We wanted to retain our community identity, ethos and values as well as not lose our drive for outstanding outcomes and student development.
Our Chair of Governors and members of the Senior Leadership Team invited a number of MATs to engage in initial conversations. These were fact finding meetings and an opportunity for the representatives of the MATs to explain how Bramhall High could improve further and how our school community would become an integral part of their organisation.
After these initial discussions took place, Governors reviewed the feedback. They set up a further meeting with the CEOs of two local MATs that were strong candidates with whom to partner.
Our Journey Started
Summer Term 2022
In 2022 the Government published a white paper outlining its policy that all schools should become academies by 2030. We decided as a school to respond and plan our own way forward rather than have arrangements imposed. Whilst the white paper is now on hold it is difficult to envisage that the policy will not be in place in the near future. As part of this policy schools judged as Requiring Improvement twice would be directed to join a particular Multi Academy Trust (MAT).
In the summer term 2022 the Governing Board discussed and agreed that it would be in the best interests of Bramhall High School to investigate converting to academy status and maintain control of the process.
We agreed a number of non-negotiable criteria against which we would research MATs.
Academy Frequently Asked Questions
The information in this fact sheet is intended to help answer some of the questions that may arise when considering conversion to academy status and joining a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT). As the Governing Board of Bramhall High School, we are confident and positive that this is the best strategy for our school going forward.
This information cannot in any way replace the informal conversations and formal consultation that will take place during the conversion process.
What is an academy?
An academy is an all-ability school that is directly funded by central government and independent of direct control by local government. Ofsted inspects academies under the same framework as maintained schools. Academies are self-governing. It is the Government’s ambition for all schools to be part of a MAT; in fact 85% of all secondary schools already have academy status. As a board we have acted proactively in the interests of keeping the identity of our school, our educational offer and also our place in the wider community
What is a MAT?
A MAT is a charitable company, limited by guarantee and non-profit making, which is formed to oversee a group of schools that are academies. The MAT is the employer of staff and holds the land and buildings of each academy in Trust.
How does governance work?
There is a Board of Trustees who are ultimately responsible for the work of the trust and the academies. However, they devolve much of the responsibility for the running of schools to the individual academies and their respective local governing boards. Each academy has its own governing board which works with the academy Headteacher to check that the academy is making good progress and add additional challenge and scrutiny to the work of the school.
Why does our school intend to join a MAT?
If schools are judged by Ofsted to be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ they do not have to join a MAT if they don’t want to. Nevertheless, some are choosing to join MATs because of the benefits this brings, good and outstanding schools all have different reasons for joining or not joining a MAT. Those schools, which are judged to be ‘Inadequate’ or have been judged as ‘Requires Improvement’ twice, may receive an academy order from the Department for Education (DfE) and will have to plan to join a MAT as soon as they can. Whilst judged as ‘Requires Improvement’ at our last inspection we are not in receipt of any academy order from the DfE.
What are the advantages for Bramhall High School in becoming an academy?
- We continue to remain in charge of our destiny
- To shape the provision to meet the future needs of our children, families and community based on a local and collaborative proposal of working together and building on existing good practice
- The Local Authority (LA) capacity is limited. Pooling the resources of a number of schools means we can re-create some of the services once received from the LA
- To develop the expertise of all staff to further improve effectiveness and outcomes for students
- To generate financial efficiencies to invest back into the classroom for the benefit of the students
- To create opportunities to secure investment in school buildings and educational facilities for the benefit of current and future students, for example, the opportunity to apply for funding for refurbishment of our old buildings.
What consultations have to take place?
Staff, students, parents, and parents of children in years 5 and 6 of feeder primary schools will consulted as part of the process to move towards academy status and joining a MAT.
Is an academy like a business?
No. A business makes profit for its shareholders. An academy is a charitable trust that cannot make profit.
Who makes the decision to become an academy?
The Governing Board. The Department for Education then approves the request. The timescale for conversion to an academy is difficult to predict but it is likely to take up to a year.
Does joining a MAT reduce autonomy?
In some respects, yes.
To ensure consistency in practise in schools in the MAT there may be changes to:
- systems and operating procedures
- the way in which data is collected
- methods of assessment and reporting student progress
- Human Resource operations
But not in every respect. Areas delegated to the school include:
- culture and ethos
- enrichment clubs and activities
- relationship with the community
- local networks
Are academies bound by the same rules and regulations as other schools?
Academies are required to follow the law and guidance on admissions, special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and exclusions.
QUESTIONS SPECIFIC TO BRAMHALL HIGH SCHOOL
Will the character of Bramhall High School change?
- The school is not proposing to change its character except in ways which we think will improve the school even more. It will continue to look, feel and be the same as it is now.
- The School Leadership Team and Governing Board will continue to run the school daily as they do now, and parents will continue to be represented on the Governing Board.
- The name of the school will not change.
- Students with special needs will continue to receive additional support in the way they do now.
- In a MAT, schools will share some central services which will help them be more efficient and make sure that funding is focused on teaching, learning and support for children.
- The MAT will work very closely and co-operatively with local partners, including other schools, community groups and organisations as well as the LA.
Will there be any changes to the Curriculum?
No, the recent changes and work we have done with our curriculum will continue. We will continue to ensure that what we teach is relevant to our students and their specific needs and continues to be broad and balanced.
Does joining a MAT change our relationship with local schools and the community?
No. Academy funding agreements state that academies must ensure that they will be at the heart of the community, collaborating and sharing facilities and expertise with other local schools and the wider community. By being part of a MAT there is further support to ensure that we achieve our aims.
As an academy, will it still work with the LA?
Academies are independent of the LA, but as part of a MAT we will continue working with the LA, other local schools and local partners.
Who will be responsible and pay for assessments of pupils/students with additional needs?
The LA retains the same statutory responsibility for students with SEND in academies as they would for a maintained school. We would continue to work closely with the LA to ensure that our SEND students are well provided for and to ensure that the LA meets their statutory commitments with regard to students.
Will the school remain non-selective?
Yes - academies are non-selective schools. Academies are required to follow the law and guidance on admissions, SEND and exclusions as if they were maintained schools.
Will there be a new uniform?
No. The True Learning Partnership encourage the individuality of each school therefore there are no plans to change the Uniform or current logo.
Will there still be a school bus network?
Yes – students arriving by bus will not notice any difference.
Will my child still be able to claim free school meals?
Yes - there will be no change in the provision of free school meals.
Will times of the day change?
Not as a result of academisation. Schools may change the shape of the school day due to other reasons.
Will staff leave?
All staff currently employed by the LA will be automatically transferred to the new academy on their current pay and conditions.