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Barwick-in-Elmet

Church of England Primary School

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Barwick-in-Elmet

Church of England Primary School

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Academy Consultation

Multi Academy Trusts (MATs)

Information for anyone connected to our school - children, parents, staff and everyone in our local and wider community.

 

‘By 2030, all children will benefit from being taught in a family of schools, with their school in a strong multi academy trust or with plans to join or form one.’

(DfE, March 2022)

 

As the Governing Body at Barwick, we have spent a number of years looking carefully at the benefits, risks and options for joining a Multi Academy Trust (MAT). Various MATs have made presentations to the Governing Body, we’ve visited other schools and had lengthy debates about the pros and cons. Recently, the Government White Paper ‘Opportunity For All’ proposed that by 2030 all schools should be in a strong MAT or have plans to join one. While the White Paper in its current form has now been dropped from the parliamentary timetable, there is a clear direction of travel and a number of Local Authorities are in the process of forming MATs within their local areas. The list of Leeds schools which are already in MATs is extensive (see below).

 

As a Church School we have been particularly careful when looking at trusts which would align with our values and help support and develop our unique distinctiveness at Barwick. There are a number of Church School MATs within our area, but in particular we feel drawn to the Leeds Diocese Learning Trust for a number of reasons;

 

  • LDLT shares and supports our school values
  • The MAT has the significant resources of the Diocese of Leeds behind it
  • In its early stages of development, we feel we can help shape the MAT in a positive way

 

Members of the Governing Body have been to Church House to listen to senior staff of the trust, and last term we had a visit from the CEO of LDLT, Mr Richard Noake, to explore the trust’s growth plans over the coming years. The next tranche of schools to join the trust will be selected from the Leeds region and we have expressed our interest to be considered. Since church schools like ours can only join Church of England Trusts, and no new church MATs are planned across the Diocese, we feel the time is right for us to join LDLT. We would prefer to choose our own destiny now, rather than risk waiting until our choices were either limited or forced upon us.

 

Generally speaking, converting to an academy will have minimal impact on day-to-day life in school and, in operational terms, everything will carry on as usual. However, in strategic terms - specifically in securing school improvement services and improving leadership and governance - there are longer term benefits that a MAT can offer.

 

Timing

The timeline for converting to an academy is flexible and is measured in months. There are a number of legal issues to work through, some of which may take longer than others, but the earliest we could envisage joining LDLT will be September 2023. There was an inconsistency in the first letter to parents and we can confirm that the consultation period runs from 27th February to 31st March 2023.

 

Questions

No doubt this whole issue will raise lots of questions and we have provided documents to help offer some answers. Our FAQs will help answer some of the more obvious questions that come to mind. We’ve also included some of the questions and tools we have used as Governors when considering joining a MAT.


This webpage will be regularly updated with documents and content, as we share information with you on our journey. This forms part of our consultation with everyone connected to Barwick-in-Elmet CE Primary School, including staff, parents and the wider community. Your views, questions and thoughts can be shared with the Governing Body by email at governors@barwickprimary.co.uk

 

Consultation meeting with parents 29.03.23

Nine parents attended, asking well-considered and thoughtful questions. Mrs Daggett set the tone with an eloquent summary of the 'what and why' of the Governors' decision to become an academy, then Mr Richard Noake (CEO) spoke for about 45 minutes and answered questions. The issues raised were about the future size of the trust, the proportion of RE teaching in the curriculum, an openness to families of other faiths and no faith, provision for SEND children who may not meet national expectations, potential of staff turn-over if the trust proved unpopular, and details of the top-slice funding. We have updated the FAQs below to broadly reflect these issues. The consultation period subsequently closed on 31st March and the Governing Body will consider the responses at their next meeting in June. 

 

Update: May 2023

LDLT have completed their 'due diligence' checks, which included looking at our school budget, evaluating our curriculum and taking stock of the building and premises. All went well and our application  to join LDLT has now gone to the DfE for approval at one of the Advisory Board meetings this summer term. We will keep this page updated when we hear more.

 

Update: June 2023

Nothing to report while we await a decision from the Advisory Board meeting. If our application is approved at the July meeting, our likely conversion date is projected to be 1st November. Until then, all school activities and operations will continue as normal.

 

Update: November 2023

Following the Advisory Board's decision to approve our application to join the Leeds Diocesan Learning Trust, things have been moving along quietly in the background. Most of the necessary paperwork is being handled by lawyers and officials from both LDLT and the Local Authority. We have begun aligning ourselves with LDLT and Mrs Daggett has attended a number of meetings with the trust and started to work alongside professional colleagues. The legal process of converting to an academy is likely to take a few more months and in the meantime we will continue the process of getting to know our new family at LDLT.

 

Update: February 2024

The legal processes are now finally complete and all final paperwork has been signed. This means we expect to convert to an academy on 1st March 2024, whereupon the school will technically close and then immediately re-open as a new school under the management of Leeds Diocesan Learning Trust. While it has taken longer than anticipated, the school has continued to improve and develop stronger ties with our new friends and colleagues in the LDLT family.

 

Update: March 2024

The school converted to an academy as part of the Leeds Diocesan Learning Trust.

Presentation Slides From the Consultation Meeting For Parents 29.03.23

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