The Governing Body met on 2nd October to consider the outcomes of our academy consultation, including responses received from parents, staff, trade unions, the local authority, the Department for Education and the wider community. Views among these groups were mixed – with important groups, particularly staff, in favour of conversion to an academy trust, and other important groups, namely the National Education Union (NEU, formerly NUT) and some parents, raising strong views.
Whilst governors have decided that we are not going to submit an application to convert to an academy at this time, we still believe that forming a multi academy trust with other primary schools offers potential benefits for all the schools involved, including Fielding. Our understanding of current DfE policy is that they would much prefer the school to apply with named other schools to directly form a multi academy trust, rather than initially converting on our own. Therefore, as we do not have identified partners to apply with, at this stage we are not in a position to proceed.
However, we remain open to creating a multi academy trust with like-minded schools so that we can take advantage of future opportunities to deliver the best possible education for all of our pupils. We have, and will always continue to have, a mutually beneficial relationship with the local authority.
The consultation raised concerns about specifics of a multi academy trust, such as governance, finance, staffing, educational benefits, and accountability. We agree that these were difficult to answer effectively without named partner schools and so being able to present more detailed potential structures etc. If other schools do wish to jointly explore a multi academy trust, that would enable future consultation to have more specific information to help inform responses.
The Governing Body has reflected on the lessons we can learn from this consultation process, and will use that learning if there are future proposals in partnership with other schools.
Governing Bodies of local schools are welcome to contact us to discuss our proposal.