MAT FAQs

This page provides answers to the most frequently asked questions related to Multi-Academy Trusts. This page will be updated throughout the consultation period.

http://swr.gloucs.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/October-2019-FAQs-SWR.pdf

1.  How would joining the Athelstan Trust help Sir William Romney’s?

The school will have the opportunity to provide a more innovative approach to teaching and learning and improve the pupil experience and performance. With the sharing of ideas and resources across the Trust, we will be able to meet the needs, interests and aspirations of our pupils. It is a positive way forward and will enhance the educational provision benefitting our pupils now and in the future.

2. Why do it?

The School could do nothing, but the governing body is aware that the School could be targeted for a pushed move into a multi academy trust at some point in the future due to the direction of travel of this current government.

3.  What is a Multi Academy Trust?

A Multi Academy Trust (MAT) is when two or more academies come together in partnership. Our Governing Body believes that the best option is to join The Athelstan Trust an already established MAT. The Athelstan Trust consists of three secondary schools in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire; Malmesbury School, Bradon Forest School (Purton) and The Dean Academy (Lydney). Like Sir William Romney’s, all the schools in the Trust serve rural market towns; this is a context and community that we understand. In each school we work closely with local communities and build strong local governance. 

In the future, it will be possible for other academies to join the Trust.
Through collaboration the Athelstan Trust will support member academies in: developing and sharing best practice in teaching, learning and curriculum, creating and maintaining a skilled, motivated, expert workforce and ensuring high standards through mutual challenge of performance making optimum use of their resources.

4.  What is the process to become an Academy?

The Governing Body has voted in favour of this proposal and has registered their interest with the Department for Education. The school will now complete a consultation with all stakeholders which include parents, carers, pupils, staff and the wider community. Once this consultation is complete the governors will consider the responses before deciding whether to proceed to the application to convert stage.

5.  Would the school have to change its name, logo or uniform?

No This is a decision for the school, and SWR’s Governing Body intends to keep the current name and current school uniform.

6.  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 pupil experience.

7.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 its community, collaborating and sharing facilities and expertise with other schools and the wider community.

8.  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. They also receive additional funding in the form of the Education Services Grant to cover the services that are no longer provided for them by County Council and to cover the costs of academy status.

9. Will our responsibilities in relation to SEN and exclusions change?

No. Responsibilities as part of the Athelstan Trust in relation to SEN and exclusions will be just the same as they are now.

10. Can a child with a statement nominate an academy as their school of choice?

Yes. These arrangements and related processes must at all times comply with the School Admissions Code.

11. Does it matter that schools in Athelstan Trust are in different counties?

No. MATs are county border neutral. There are examples of a Trust working within a single county as well as working on a cross border basis.

12. How will joining a MAT affect staff?

Various in- depth sounding conversations have taken place between the Senior Leadership Teams of both schools, staff from SWR have visited other schools within the Trust and Governors have discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of becoming part of the Athelstan Trust. Teaching staff would benefit from having greater opportunities for career developments and training. Members of staff could choose to work in different members schools to support school improvement or as career development opportunities. There would be a free choice to work in other schools and no members would be forced to operate elsewhere against their free will.

13. How do existing schools in Athelstan Trust benefit from SWR joining the MAT?

Students and colleagues across existing schools in the MAT collaborate and support each other. For example, student council representatives meet three times a year and subject specialists also meet across the Trust. SWR would contribute and collaborate by sharing its expertise across the Trust.

14. How engaged are staff to become part of a MAT?

The staff of SWR have been fully engaged already in the process of the school becoming a member of a Multi Academy Trust. They have had a number of presentations from the Chief Executive of the Athelstan Trust and visits have been made to the existing members of the Trust for our staff to witness first – hand just how their schools operate and the ethos behind school activities.

15. Is there a hierarchy of funding within the MAT?

No. Trustees have an obligation to act in the best interest of the Trust as a whole and therefore in the best interests of all schools within the Trust. There must be due regard to the funding needs and allocations for each individual school.

16. Do SWR have legal advice throughout the ‘due diligence’ process?

Yes, SWR have engaged the solicitors firm of Rickerbys, who were the solicitors who advised the school on the initial process of becoming an Academy.

17. Should SWR also be considering joining other MATs?

As part of our selection process we studied a number of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Avon based academies and held discussions with one other as well as the Athelstan Trust. We formed a view that the ethos of Athelstan was very similar to that of Sir William Romneys and that the geographical location was advantageous to both Sir William Romneys and Malmesbury School who are also a member of the Athelstan Trust.

18. Why do Athelstan want SWR to join the MAT?

We have a growing reputation with our sixth successive year of extremely positive Progress 8 scores in GCSE outcomes and SWR is good school that provides an inclusive education for all students. The Athelstan Trust share our ethos and believe that a school should be firmly embedded within its community.

19. Could you see further additional schools joining the MAT?

The Trust does not have aspirations to become a large national MAT. Another school is currently in consultation about joining Athelstan Trust.

20. What are the implications of not joining a MAT?

There is a direction of travel within UK education which indicates a large growth in the number of Multi Academy Trusts. Currently schools have a free choice in the selection of working with a selected MAT. However, in the future, schools who have not joined a MAT on a voluntary basis could be directed to join another Trust, not of their own free choice. We thought it far better to examine and select a MAT which most closely suited the educational principles of Sir William Romney’s School.

21. Do the large schools have larger voting rights when it comes to decision making?

MATs do not operate on a one vote one school principle. The Trust has a board of Trustees which have the responsibility of running all the schools within the MAT, in relation to the financial position, operational management and the risk management of the organisation. The day to day running of the school is carried out by the relevant headteacher. A ‘local governing body’ would be set up for each school which would have a focus on educational standards and outcomes.