Joining our Trust
As a growing Trust, we are looking to grow our family of academies to increase our ability to support pupils, staff and communities to benefit from ethical collaboration and effective ways of working. If you are interested in joining us and share our commitment to the long term outcomes of children, we would be happy to talk to you about how the Trust could make a positive difference to the pupils in your school, working in partnership with you in the new and sometimes daunting educational landscape.
Is the Trust open only to Church of England Schools?
Many of our schools are currently Church schools, but we are an inclusive Trust with a strong commitment to the communities within Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and the bordering areas. We are keen to work with any schools that share our values of hope, nurture, collaboration, equality and respect, are striving to prepare their pupils for their very best life and respect our founding ethos.
How do we join the Trust?
If you are interested in joining our community, there is no substitute for having a one to one conversation with us about what your priorities are, and how we could work together for the benefit of your local community and the Trust family. We will be honest about the relationship and commitment between our schools and Trust, so that we can work out whether joining our family is right for you. The formal process for joining the Trust is different depending on your current OFSTED status, and is outlined on the following pages. However, the Trust believes that all schools, whatever their category and whatever their history, can be a valued, active part of our community. If you want to be part of an ethical family of schools, with a strong, child-centred focus and a belief in partnership and collaboration, do get in touch.
Please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01525 840183 who will only be too pleased to facilitate this.
Good or Outstanding schools
In considering a proposal from a school or group of schools to convert and join the Trust, the following process would apply:
A meeting should be arranged with the CEO. If you are a Church School, this should also be with members of the DBE (Diocesan Board of Education). The purpose of this meeting would be to explore the viability of a school joining the Trust, to provide support and advice to governors, and to identify next steps. This meeting would be strictly confidential and would not commit a school or group of schools to a course of action. Subsequent meetings could be held if required.
The school’s governing body would need to consult with its stakeholders about joining the Trust and following this consultation to pass a resolution proposing that the school join.
Formal proposal submitted to the Board of the Trust
If you are a Church school, once the governing body has met and passed a resolution to join the Trust a formal proposal should be submitted to the Diocese of St Albans Board of Education for its consideration. This should include details about the school, the perceived benefits of joining, the potential impact on local children and the outcome of any local consultation. If the Diocesan Board of Education considers that the proposal to consult is sound and that the school is financially viable for the next three years the Board will grant its permission to convert.
Non-church schools should provide a similar case to both their Governors and the Directors of the Trust.
Trust staff are able to support schools with the creation of such a proposal.
Governing body members will then be invited to meet Trust Directors prior to a decision being made. Any acceptance by the Board of Directors to admit a school to the Trust would be subject to a comprehensive due diligence process.
Due diligence involves a comprehensive analysis of the school’s strengths and areas for development and will be undertaken in the following areas: HR; legal; financial; land, buildings and trusts; and governance and school effectiveness (including effectiveness as a church school). This is funded from the Academy conversion grant. After consideration of the due diligence outcome the Trust’s Board of Directors will approve the school’s application if it considers the proposal to be sound and that it will uphold the historic trust deeds of the schools concerned, meet the core principles of the Trust and is, in the Board’s view, in the best interests of local children.
It is anticipated that it will take between 9 and 12 months.
Schools deemed RI or Inadequate
When you are an RI school leader or governor, it can be quite a lonely and daunting journey to Good or better. The Trust has had strong experience working with schools in challenging circumstances to help build strong team spirit and help them overcome barriers. We are proud of the strength of relationships we can build to help locally and within the Trust to help schools improve life chances for young people. Should a school with an RI judgement wish to join, please contact us. We are an ethically driven, experienced Trust, who knows that every team member will bring strengths, and will both be able to offer and receive support to a wider community.
Church Schools with an Inadequate Judgement
Where provision of a Church of England school is deemed Inadequate by OFSTED and a directive Academy Order has been issued, the Diocesan Board of Education and the Trust will be directly involved in the brokering process with the Department for Education and the Regional Schools Commissioner’s office. It is an expectation both nationally and locally that Church of England schools will be placed in Church of England provision, either in a Diocesan, Multi-Academy Trust or a local, school-led, Church of England Multi-Academy Trust. This expectation is outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department for Education and the Church of England Education Office, the national body that represents the Church of England’s educational interests. Due diligence will be undertaken in the usual manner and any agreement for a school to join the Trust will be in principle until due diligence is undertaken.
It is expected that it will take no longer than twelve months to process an application to join the Trust where a school is deemed Inadequate.
What types of school does the Trust include?
The Trust is open to all types of school, including Infant (4-7), Lower (4-9), Primary (4-11), Junior (7-11), Middle (9-13) and Secondary (11-18).
We are a “Mixed Trust”, with a community that can be from both Church and maintained backgrounds. All of our schools share our values, and are ethically driven to provide the very best education for our pupils, to prepare them for their best lives.
How will schools gain by being part of the Trust?
Schools joining the Trust will benefit from good relationships with a wide range of partners, including the Diocesan Board of Education, Hertfordshire, Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire LAs, as well as charitable and private sector partners. We believe in community, and will ensure that our relationships with educational partners flourish, to help our schools and pupils receive the very best support and guidance.
All of our academies can benefit from:
- Guidance and support to help schools stay on top of new legislation and best practice
- A strong and vibrant community for heads, SLT, teachers and support staff
- Leadership and subject specialist forums and development programmes
- Contract procurement and management
- Business management support and advice
- Financial management support and advice
- Compliance support for Health and Safety, Safeguarding, GDPR, governance and finance
- Academy CPD opportunities
- An outstanding training and development network delivered by the Diocesan Board of Education
- Personalised training delivered through the Diocesan Board of Education’s Service Level Agreement
- National training networks such as the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership