Our current plans to grow the trust are focused on finding good or outstanding schools with similar values and principles to join us a strong partners. We believe that schools joining in this way would reap many benefits from the collaboration and would also enhance the capacity of the trust. This would not be a loss of control or status for heads or governors, but in fact an opportunity to take control at a critical time of change in the wider organisation of schools. We would welcome a discussion with any school who might be interested in joining us in this early but exciting stage, as we shape and develop our multi academy trust.
For any school facing a potential change of leadership, the offer of guidance and training for a new leader could be a key benefit providing the confidence needed to step up to the challenge of Headship.
The National Governors Association now provides information about the benefits of working in formal collaborations and the need for schools to be in control of their own destiny. Please see guidance paper at bottom of page.
Any school wishing to join the MAT can be fully supported through the legal process by our partners Browne Jacobson.
Governance for joining schools
It is expected that Good or Outstanding schools joining the trust would retain their local governing body and similar powers but would pass on some of the statutory responsibilities.
A number of different models are possible however and a new school may wish to be part of the innovative governance structure we are developing with a very clear focus on the quality of education. In this model, governors known as "The Academy Challenge Team", work across the trust providing them with the crucial ability to make comparisons between schools. They are representative of the schools within the trust and follow a structured programme of visits where they effectively monitor the monitoring. The opportunity to compare practice, adds significance to the conclusions they draw within their agreed areas
What is a Multi Academy Trust? (MAT)
A group of academies who are working together to achieve the best outcomes for children. The schools are linked formally through governance and legal status.
What are the key benefits of being in a MAT?
- Sharing of expertise and joint staff professional development
- Greater capacity to grow and develop our own leaders
- Freeing up Heads to focus on the bits that really matter
- Improved career progression for talented staff, allowing us to recruit and retain high quality people
- Financial savings around procurement due to bulk purchasing of goods and services
- Shared back line support, saving money and providing financial security
Will we be able to improve the services and support that we offer children and their families?
Children and families should directly benefit from a schools membership of a MAT through an improved capacity to establish support services such as speech and language, pastoral care, family support and education psychology. Currently Coast Academies are keen to investigate the option of directly employing a CAMHs service which would address some significant needs.
What will this actually mean for the staff and families of a school joining a MAT?
Life continues as usual with the ethos, values, uniform and culture of the school remaining independent and unchanged.
Will a school lose control of its own budget?
Coast Acaemies has a Head of Finance who has the overview of all financial matters and is expected to provide savings through procurement, income generation and efficiency. At local level, schools still make decisions about how they spend their own budget.
How are central services paid for?
Schools will not be charged with a one size fits all top slice but instead will be charged proportionally to the school’s level of need and size. This charge would include a general contribution to allow the MAT to operate and would be calculated as a cost per pupil. So a smaller school pays less. The charge would be within the range of 3 to 5% of annual GAG and we would hope that most schools would see a net financial gain with this arrangement. We expect to build the financial model together with our future partners and the transisiton to a top slice situation may take place over an extended period. We expect to provide central services including a CEO, Director of Finance, Head of HR, Estates Management and IT strategic network management.
Pupil Premium and sports funding and other individual funding streams are not included as part of any top slice model.
Will a school’s funding and budget be used to support another school?
How much support will be given for the process of academy conversion?
The process will be handled through the MAT together with our professional partners and legal teams.
Will our school staff end up working in a partner school?
This is possible but only if existing staff choose to do this to further their career. New staff recruited once the school is a member of the MAT would be employed by the MAT. Leaders would always take account of preferences, experience and physical location before suggesting a move.
Will the current Headteacher of a school remain in charge and retain their status and position and responsibility?
This is the job heads are paid for and they will be left to continue to do it. They will however have the option of passing on some parts of the job to the central team should they wish.
Who would carry out Headteacher appraisal?
This is most likely to be done by the Local Governing Body for an individual academy but could be done by the CEO.
What about career progression for a Headteacher?
As our trust grows it is possible that future executive head opportunities may arise. The growth plan also includes some heads of school or headteachers stepping up to be Educational Leads for groups of schools.
Is there a separate OFSTED inspection for a partner school?
Yes, schools would be inspected separately.
Will our governing body lose status and the power to make decisions affecting our school?
It is expected that Good or Outstanding schools joining the trust would retain their local governing body with similar powers but less statutory responsibility. Those of you, who have experience of community school governance, will have different experiences with regard to governance and may initially, believe that the role of an LGB with a Multi Academy trust has less influence or drive. However we believe that by sharing out some of the statutory responsibilities, LGB’s become more effective in their focus to providing challenge and support in the delivery of educational excellence and to ensure the drive for outstanding outcomes for all young people.
What is the bigger picture both locally and nationally?
Local authorities have a diminishing role with vast cuts in the services they provide. This is against a backdrop of the government strongly encouraging schools to join MATs and requiring all schools to become academies.