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Academy Status

Letters relating to our school's Multi Academy Trust (MAT) status

The People's Learning Trust Mission Statement:

We are committed to creating a compassionate, collaborative, and innovative environment where inclusivity, trust, positive relationships, and a love of learning empower individuals to excel and contribute positively to our global community.

 

Our Trust Values:

Inclusivity: Emphasises equality, inclusion, and nurturing, ensuring everyone is valued and supported.

Collaboration: Promotes teamwork, mutual support, and positive relationships, fostering a cooperative environment.

Respect: Essential for communication and trust, ensuring everyone is treated with dignity and consideration.

Trust: Foundational for building strong, positive relationships and effective collaboration.

Community: Encompasses the sense of belonging, caring environment, and relationships, fostering a supportive and inclusive atmosphere.

 

Our Goals:

We are confident that every student can achieve their greatest ambitions. Our academies play a crucial role in shaping their life prospects, and we believe that fostering leadership and autonomy is the best way to prepare our learners for the future.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT)?  

A MAT is a Multi-Academy Trust. It is a legal entity that governs a group of schools through members and a board of Trustees.  It is set up by a group of schools, sometimes a local collaboration, that share a common ethos and vision.  

 

What is the MAT called?  

The new MAT is called The People’s Learning Trust.

 

Which schools will be founder members of the trust?  

  • Bidston Avenue Primary 
  • Everton Free School and Football College
  • Meadow Primary 
  • Oldfield Primary 
  • The Bridge Short Stay School

 

Why are schools joining MATs both locally and nationally?  

Across the country, Local Authorities are being eroded in terms of size and power.  Both Conservative and Labour Parties have indicated that Academies, as part of MATs, is their preferred educational structure.   Schools can use the strong collaboration and accountability afforded by the MAT to drive up standards and share best practice and services across the trust, replacing aspects of former local authority support.  

 

Why would a local authority-maintained school, such as Bidston Avenue Primary want to join a MAT?

 There are several reasons why a school may want to join/form a MAT:  

  • Further developing the effective teaching and learning practices across schools
  • To continue to develop and sustain a high-quality inclusive education for all pupils
  • Access to a bespoke professional development programme (CPD) that adds real value to the education of the young people, further developing our skilled workforce
  • Common teaching and learning practices across schools;
  • A common professional development programme (CPD) that adds real value to the education of the young people
  • Efficiencies in administrative functions and joint procurement; this will help in these more financially challenging times to advantage our pupils
  • Further developing governance with a clear focus on strategic development, teaching and learning, and accountability
  • Enhanced reputation for excellence, due to collaboration with other schools in the Trust
  • Further develop leadership, management and governance that impacts directly upon the students
  • Recruitment, retention and growth of excellent staff
  • Improve and sustain overall academic standards
  • Ensure that decisions about the school are influenced at a local level; and,  
  • Secure the long-term future of the school. 

 

What are the benefits of being a founder school?

  • A founder school is a school that initiates or joins a MAT at its inception, and plays a key role in shaping its vision, values, and culture. 
  • A founder school has more influence and input in the decision-making and governance of the MAT and can ensure that its ethos and identity are reflected and respected in the MAT.  
  • A founder school can also benefit from the support and expertise of the other founder schools, and from the opportunity to create a MAT that meets its needs and aspirations.

 

Do we need permission to convert to a MAT?  

Yes.  The school has had to obtain the permission of the Secretary of State for Education via the Education Funding Agency (EFA).  We received approval from the Regional Director on 2nd July 2024. 

 

Is there a set model for how a MAT has to operate?  

There are rules regarding how a MAT is funded, but the way in which a MAT operates, its governance structure and vision/ethos are defined by the academy or academies that set up the MAT.  

 

What will happen to our land and buildings?  

All land and buildings currently owned by the LA on behalf of the school will transfer to the new MAT on a 125-year lease. 

 

How is funding organised within the MAT?  

Funding for schools within a MAT is allocated on an individual academy basis. It is governed through a master funding agreement between the Secretary of State and the MAT and supplemental agreements between the Secretary of State and each school within the MAT.  

 

Will the school lose its financial independence and its ability to manage its own finances? 

There will be a common financial procedures manual to be shared between schools but each school will be expected to maintain their own books.  However, there is likely to be some centralisation of finances where these make sense and result in possible economies of scale. This is similar to the financial process used by Local Authorities.  

 

Multi Academy Trust Structures  

MATs are overseen by Members and a Board of Trustees who delegate certain responsibilities to individual Local Governing Bodies (LGB).  

 

Will the governors’ role change when we become a MAT?  

When the school initially converts to become an academy trust the existing governors of the maintained schools will stay as governors.  However, some may convert to become trustees of the academy trust.  

 

What is the new structure?  

When the school converts to a MAT, there will be three tiers of governance.  These three tiers will be:  

  • Members of the MAT - responsible for fundamental decisions such as constitution of the academy trust – most strategic decisions are delegated to the Trustees.  
  • Board of Trustees of the MAT (‘the board’).  These are the individuals who have strategic overview of the MAT.  
  • The Executive Team consists of:
    • The Central Team:
      • Chief Executive Officer (CEO),
      • Chief Finance and Operations Officer (CFOO) and
      • Headteachers from within each of our Academies.

The central team work alongside schools to manage finance, compliance, support school development, support with school improvement and enable the school leaders to focus on what matters most – quality of education and managing staff and pupils.

  • Local Governing Bodies (LGB) for each academy school.  In multi-academy trusts, each academy will usually have its own LGB.  These have a similar status to committees of a maintained governing body and the powers they have are those that are delegated to them by the board.  

 

Will working with other schools mean lowering our own standards or possibly detracting resources from our own school?  

We have chosen to work together with the other founder schools to ensure that the vision, values and culture of our schools is central to everything that we do. Collaboration and sharing ideas and expertise can only help us improve.  

 

What changes will children and parents see?  

There will be very little visible change as a direct result of forming the MAT.  The Headteacher, staff, uniform, premises and curriculum will all continue to be very much unchanged.    There may be a change to some branding and letterheads in the future.

The changes, that we hope you’ll see, will be a general continued improvement in the performance and running of the school and hopefully some new and improved resources and options for our pupils to benefit from.  

 

How will joining a MAT improve standards for our children?  

It will enable us to utilise the expertise of staff from schools in a MAT to accelerate progress for our children.  We will create a set of specialists which will operate between schools within the MAT, releasing staff to focus on developing wider opportunities and exciting experiences in a new and broad curriculum.  This could be in middle and senior leadership, as well as with support staff.  The experience and talent of all the schools together become greater than the sum of their parts.  We will have the capacity to develop research with universities, including an exciting research programme with Goldsmiths, University of London.

 

Will teachers work at different schools?  

There will be opportunities for staff for training and professional development purposes, but staff will generally remain constant and cannot be forced to work elsewhere. 

Staff will remain in their own schools. Being part of a MAT will provide many professional development opportunities.  Staff from schools who are part of a MAT may attend joint training, skills will be shared and good practice will spread between the schools.  

 

How does the admissions process work for academies?  

Academies within a MAT are required to comply with the Admissions and Admission Appeals Codes of Practice as if they were maintained schools.  They must have admission arrangements that clearly set out how children will be admitted, including the criteria that will be applied if there are more applications than available places.  They are also required to participate in Local Authority co-ordination of admissions processes and the Local Authority’s Fair Access Protocol.  Any change to our current admissions protocols will always be communicated to parents and carers.  

 

What inspection regimes and assessment data information do academies have to provide?  

All academies are inspected by Ofsted using the same framework and timescales as for maintained schools.  As a MAT, all schools will continue to be inspected as separate schools.  Results are reported in performance tables in the same way as they are now, i.e. against the school where tests were conducted. 

 

Do MAT schools have to follow the National Curriculum?  

Academies within MATs are not required to teach the National Curriculum but rather a broad and balanced one that includes English, Mathematics, Science and Religious Education and promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of children preparing them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.  The majority of schools within MATs continue to follow the National Curriculum.

 

Who is in charge?  

Each school leadership team will remain in charge of their school.  

The MAT board and members will take on the Local Authority role and will oversee activities and standards across all schools in the MAT. 

 

There will be a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Financial and Operations Officer (CFOO). These roles will have corporate accountability for all MAT operations.  Mr Steven Baker OBE is the CEO and Mrs Linda McMullen is the CFOO.

 

Will you be changing the school’s name?  

No – we will still be Bidston Avenue Primary School  

 

Will you be changing the uniform?  

No – the uniform and logo will remain the same as now.  

 

Will you be changing the holidays or length of the school day?  

No – these will remain the same but could change in the future following discussion with staff, parents and other stakeholders.  

 

When will our school transfer to the new MAT?  

The scheduled start date is 1st November 2024, but this relies on many external factors and can change.

 

How can I comment on the proposed changes to Bidston Avenue Primary School?

We’ve set up a dedicated email address for questions and comments in relation to this proposal.  You can email these to academy@bidstonavenue.wirral.sch.uk   

All the emailed comments will be seen by the Headteacher, Mr S.G. Brady, and feedback will be shared with the current Governing Body.

 

 

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