FAQs

What is a Multi-Academy Trust?  

A Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is a group of academy schools/ colleges, overseen by an educational charity. Our MAT would be formed by a partnership between:

· Wyke 6th Form College

· The Market Weighton School

· Market Weighton Infant School

· Baysgarth School and Castledyke Primary School which currently form The Riverview Federation

Our charity trust board would be made up from governors currently serving the schools and college and if needed other trustees will be specifically recruited for their skills.

Academies are state-funded institutions in England which are directly funded and held to account by the Department for Education and independent of local authority control.

Academies are still part of the community and serve children and families in a particular area and retain the same responsibilities as any maintained school as part of the learning community. They continue to work in partnerships with other schools and organisations for the benefit of local communities.

The Trust is accountable for all the schools that are a part of it and is responsible for ensuring all young people are successful.

Why are we considering forming a Multi-Academy Trust? 

The current direction of the Department for Education policy is for all schools to become academies and become part of a Multi-Academy Trust.

Over recent years, many schools have looked to form MATs as a way of providing financial and educational support for groups of schools / colleges. The current position is that approximately 80% of schools / colleges have now become academies across England.

Rather than join an existing Trust and potentially losing some of the unique character of our schools / college we want to be the leaders in this and create our own MAT. By creating our own MAT now, we would get to lead the way and keep our characteristics and the huge success that we have had. This is the opportunity to shape, control and future-proof our school / college.

As we have learned through our partnerships, collaborative working with other schools / colleges can provide an improved educational experience for our own learners through various areas including teaching and learning, an enhanced and engaging curriculum, staff development and progression opportunities, finance and human resources, legal services, school improvement structures and governance arrangements. In addition, as part of a multi academy trust we would have greater control of our school budgets and greater autonomy over our curriculum. Over the next few years there is going to be a tightening of budgets and we need to be prepared. By being in a MAT, we could secure greater opportunities for financial savings and resilience.

Through our existing relationships and networks, we have come together with four other local settings to explore the opportunity outlined above as we believe we have a shared vision that not only benefits our individual school but will also benefit education across the region. Below are just some of the reasons we are considering this now.

What are the reasons schools consider converting to academy status? 

· To shape the provision to meet the future needs of children, families and communities based on a local and collaborative proposal of working together and building on existing good practice

· To remain in charge of their own destiny as the government has a goal to encourage all schools to be academies or working towards academy status

· The Local Authority (LA) capacity is reducing and in some cases disappearing. Pooling the resources of several settings means a Trust can re-create some of the services once received from the LA in a way that is much more responsive

· To develop the expertise of all staff to further improve effectiveness and outcomes for young people.

· To generate financial efficiencies to invest back into the classroom for the benefit of all learners

What would the group of schools and college (the Trust) be called?  

The Trust will have a new name as it is a new organisation. We are using the name Wyke Learning Trust at the moment as it is hoped the new name for the Trust comes through the consultation process.

The Trust vision would build on our shared, core ethos and values – we would maintain and strengthen our focus on each child enjoying their learning and achieving their academic best in a stimulating, nurturing environment, maintaining our high expectations and approach to inclusion. 

Who makes the final decision on whether each school converts to an academy?  

The Board of Governors.

The Governing Body or Corporation will make the final decision, based on the outcomes of a due diligence process which includes consultation with all stakeholders. 

If your school is currently federated will this remain the case when the school is an Academy?  

The Riverview Family of Schools is a Federation which means the schools work in partnership under the direction of a single Governing Body. The aims of the Federation are for schools to work together to benefit their local communities and this will continue to be the case if the schools decide to become academies within a MAT.

Legally, the Federation would cease in the event of academisation, but the unique organisation of this proposed MAT would allow the schools to continue to operate in the same way with shared services, collaborative leadership to ensure the best local solutions for all our children. 

Would other schools join us and who would make the decision on if additional schools join us? 

Once the MAT is formed, any decision on additional schools joining our group would be made by the Board of Trustees. We would expect other schools to join as time goes on and any school that joins us would be expected to abide by our vision & ethos and governance structure and to fully contribute to and learn from the other schools.

Who are the Trust accountable to?    

The Trust would be accountable directly to the Department for Education and our accounts audited by the DfE’s Education Funding Agency and external auditors, and we would be overseen by our Regional Schools Commissioner, as well as continue to be subject to Ofsted inspections. 

Who runs a MAT?    

On a day to day basis, the MAT will be overseen by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and central team on behalf of the Board of Trustees. The CEO will be appointed by the Trustees later in the process, but it is envisaged that Paul Britton, current Principal at Wyke 6th Form College, will assume the role with the support of the Headteachers from the other schools.

Our existing Headteachers and senior leadership teams will continue to lead and manage their schools as they are currently doing. With regards to Wyke, there would be a change following the appointment of the CEO, in that the Deputy Principal will assume the role of Principal. The Principal and Headteachers will continue to work in collaboration with each other and drive their establishments forward.

The most noticeable change for them, however, will be that they will be accountable to the Trust Board, CEO and Members in addition to working with their Local Governing Board.

The Trust would be a registered charity and therefore requires a Members Board. The Members are volunteers who would function as founders and shareholders of the Trust. The Members would create the charitable trust because they believe in the vision and values and methods of this organisation and are responsible for appointing the Trustees and ensuring the success of the Trust at an annual general meeting. The Members receive no renumeration for their role.

The Trust Board would be the main decision-making group within the structure, and they are accountable for all schools in the Trust. The Trust would consist of nine Trustees, specifically selected for their skills and commitment to ensure the excellence of all organisations within the Trust, acting in the best interests of all children. As with governors, Trustees receive no remuneration for their function and serve as volunteers for our charitable endeavour. It is hoped that the Trustees would come from the current Governing Bodies and Corporation of the schools and college, but if there are positions unfilled, there would be a recruitment process to secure a wide range of key skills on the Trust board.

A unique feature of this MAT would the additional Local Governing Body which would sit under the Trustee Board. The Local Governing Bodies will act for the schools in the locality hubs, ensuring that the partnerships between schools leads to the best outcomes for our local communities. This level of governance allows local communities to be able to responsive to their unique situations and circumstances and it is envisaged that the members of these boards will come from the existing Governing Bodies to ensure strong local and community knowledge is retained.

As a partnership of schools and a college, will you have increased purchasing power?     

Yes, due to the economies of scale, a group of schools and a college will be more likely able to obtain better value when negotiating contracts for services essential for running a school / college such as insurance, accountancy, HR, Payroll, broadband and other internet and IT services. We will also be eligible for an annual Schools Condition Allocation which would provide significant capital for investment into our estate.

A lot of news reports I’ve seen are about failing schools being forced to be taken over as academies. What does this have to do with us?  

A school that is failing, or ‘coasting’, can be taken over by a sponsor and turned into an academy with the aim of the sponsor driving improvement in the school. But what does not make for dramatic news is that strong schools are able to start their own Multi-Academy Trusts and lead on school improvement in their group. We want to make this move because we are a group of good and outstanding schools and college with strong leadership, and we want to continue to build on this.

By running our own Trust, we would be able to keep everything great about our institutions and continue to make improvements that work for our schools / college without another Trust taking over in the future. Like local authority schools, academies can also perform poorly. But in any type of education provider, the success depends on the leadership and management in charge.

What process have the governors gone through in deciding to begin this process and will we definitely become a Multi Academy Trust?     

Each school’s Board of Governors and Wyke’s Corporation have voted individually to confirm that we would proceed with consultation on the formation of our MAT and to work together to explore the possibilities. This is not a decision we have come to quickly; this is the result of the evaluation of all options available to each of the settings, understanding the local and national context and assessment of current partnerships. The leaders and governors have undertaken a significant amount of research as we strive to make the right decisions for our organisations.

At the end of the consultation period, which includes a rigorous process of due diligence, each school / college’s Board of Governors will further consider their decision in light of all the evidence and then have a final vote on whether to convert to MAT status. After all settings have voted, we will update you with the result.

 Can settings withdraw from the conversion process?   

Settings are able to withdraw right up to the point that they sign the Funding Agreement. Once this is signed there is a legally binding agreement between the Secretary of State and the academy, and the termination process would require a long notice period.

What is the timescale for conversion?     

The entire process from start to finish generally takes 3-12 months, with conversions being official on the 1st of the month. It would be a smooth transition in which learners, staff and parents are unlikely to perceive any change, and no disruption to the normal running of the school / college. If we convert, the date would be determined with the Department for Education and we would let you know when it is confirmed.

How will this proposed change affect our schools or college?     

Will our schools / college change?

We want to continue to be exceptional education providers where every young person is valued. Each of the organisations has a distinct ethos and culture which coming together in partnership will strengthen and preserve. Therefore, it is unlikely that much change will be noticed in the day-to-day life in the school or college.

However, the benefit of working together is to share best practice and continually learn from each other so every young person in our MAT benefits. We do not intend to change except in ways we think will improve the school / colleges even more, building on the good practice already established.

It is true that Academies have more freedom than other state schools over their finances, curriculum, length of terms and school days. However, we do not intend to take any such steps at this point and as we have always done, we would always consult and listen about any changes we feel would benefit our young people.

Would the schools have to change their names?

No, schools and the college would retain their names and uniform policies as these are an important part of our identities.

Will the term dates change?

All schools and colleges can set their own term dates. All our organisations have processes in place to ensure consultation with other local schools and staff to ensure that the term dates suit the needs of all our young people and parents. There is no intention to alter the current arrangements.

Do academies have to follow the National Curriculum?

Academies do not have to follow the National Curriculum, however over the past few years all our schools have adapted the National Curriculum to ensure it reflects the ethos and culture of the school as well as responding to the needs of the local community and ensuring the success of all young people. This will continue to be the focus.

All our schools and college already have an excellent curriculum framework recognised by Ofsted so we have lots of good practice to share between us and build upon. We are committed to ensuring a relevant, broad and balanced curriculum which ensures academic success for all young people within the MAT.

Would the admissions arrangements change?

The current admissions arrangements would remain in place upon conversion. Locality hubs then can look to see if there is any reason is to change admission arrangements and then consult with stakeholders if necessary. Any change in admission arrangements would still comply with the admissions code.

Would academy status affect the SEND provision?

Inclusivity and success for every young person is a core value for the potential MAT. All the organisations have a strong track record in providing outstanding support for young people with SEND. The proposed MAT is designed to enhance this provision and extend it, leading the way locally and regionally.

What would the changes mean for staff?

Staff would not notice significant changes in their everyday working lives. They already experience and champion the benefits of partnership work and that would not only continue but grow. Terms and conditions for existing staff would remain the same and pensions would transfer (including pension contributions). Their contracts would TUPE across to the Trust.

One of the huge benefits of working within a MAT is professional development for all staff members. Opportunities to build strong partnerships, share best practice and innovate together for the benefit of our young people will be greatly enhanced.

Are academies free from Ofsted inspection?

Academies are still subject to Ofsted inspections. Any school which is not making satisfactory progress or does not meet expected standards is at risk of intervention. One benefit of working within a MAT is that there is strong collaboration between organisations and a collective responsibility for the success of all. We would all support each other to be successful and this would include Ofsted inspections.

The priority for our school / college is the education of our learners. How will you ensure that the academy formation does not distract us from this?

All the senior leaders working in our organisations are focused on providing the best education possible for every young person and their success shows their ability to retain this focus despite any challenge that arises. The leaders of the organisations have established strong working relationships based on openness and transparency which has enabled honest reflections on each organisation’s capacity to manage the additional workload of the conversion. This is monitored closely by the Trust Project group which comprises these leaders with external support, providing the experience, knowledge and capacity to ensure the process is as smooth as possible, minimising the disruption to the day to day running of our organisations.

What parents and carers need to know

· The school / college is not proposing to change its character and will continue to look, feel and be the same as it is now.

· The School / College Leadership Team and Governing Body will continue to run the school daily as they do now, and parents will continue to be represented on the board.

· The name of the school / college will not change and the school / college will not change its admissions policy.

· Children with special needs will continue to receive additional support in the way they do now.

· Our local schools will continue to work very closely together for each other as well as for your children, and will be provided with more support to help them become even better.

· The multi-academy trust arrangements will share some central services across the schools which will help them be more efficient and make sure that leadership and funding is focused on teaching, learning and support for children.

· The multi-academy trust will work very closely and co-operatively with local partners, including other schools, community groups and organisations, and the local authority.

Why we are proposing this?    

We have worked hard to explore the potential structures that will enable us to deliver exceptional education in the future.  Having carefully considered the potential advantages and disadvantages of a range of options, including maintaining the status quo, we are confident that forming a new Multi Academy Trust (MAT) is the best way to bring about the most benefit for our individual settings, local communities, and education across the region. Here is the positive impact that we believe such an approach will deliver.

What impact could the MAT have:

1. Locality based resources and collaboration · Provide a structure for high performing locality-based provision that meets local community needs whilst gaining from the benefits of being part of a larger, regional organisation.

2. Regional influence · Meet the need for increased MAT capacity within the East Riding and North Lincolnshire region. · Provide structures that can maintain high quality provision at small rural primary schools i.e. small rural primary schools can thrive in a locality model with shared services.

3. Inclusive Constitution · Constitute the MAT in a way that provides opportunities for Voluntary Controlled schools to join the same MAT as other settings in their locality. A commitment to nurture and enhance the Christian ethos of these settings.

4. Collaborative Learning Environment: · Facilitates the sharing of best practices among schools, in particular the delivery of a 3-18 curriculum across the MAT · Encourages collaborative learning and professional development for teachers.

5. Resource Optimisation: · Pooling of resources allows for more efficient use of funds, staff, and facilities. · Collective purchasing power often leads to cost savings on supplies and services.

6. Increased Educational Opportunities:· Enables schools to offer a broader range of subjects and extracurricular activities. · Access to a wider network of expertise and specialised resources.

7. Improved Outcomes for Young People: · Enhanced support mechanisms for those who are struggling. · Sharing of successful teaching methods and strategies for improved educational outcomes.

8. Streamlined Administrative Processes: · Consistent policies and procedures promote efficiency and clarity.

9. Professional Development Opportunities: · Expanded professional development opportunities for teachers and staff. · Access to a larger talent pool for recruitment and staff advancement.

10. Financial Stability: · Provides financial stability through shared resources and risk mitigation. · Greater resilience against economic uncertainties or budget constraints.

11. Governance and Leadership Support: · Shared governance structures promote effective decision-making. · Access to experienced leadership and governance support.

12. Joined up local approach to Community Engagement and Outreach:· Opportunities for joint community projects and outreach initiatives. ·Strengthened ties between schools and local communities.

13. Increased Accountability: · Transparent accountability structures foster continuous improvement. · Regular monitoring and evaluation processes to ensure quality standards.

14. Flexibility and Autonomy: · Maintains a balance between collaboration and individual school autonomy.

15. Wider Network and Partnerships: · Broadens the network of educational partners and stakeholders. · Opportunities for cross-school events, competitions, and collaborative projects.

16. Shared Ethos and Values: · Alignment of educational philosophies and values for a cohesive learning environment. · Promotes a sense of shared purpose and community.

17. Adaptability to Changing Educational Landscape: · Better preparedness to adapt to changes in educational policies and practices. ·Collective strength to navigate challenges and seize new opportunities

We recognise that forming a Multi Academy Trust (MAT)and converting to academy status is a significant change which may raise concerns and uncertainties. This consultation gives you the opportunity to give us feedback, we want to understand and respond to the questions you will have. However, we firmly believe that taking this option is the best way to further develop the excellent education that we provide for our young people. Together, as a united educational community, we can create an environment that fosters continuous improvement and excellence for our MAT and future academies.

CONSULTATION TIMETABLE

Activity
Start Date
Completion
Consultation on MAT formation Plans
19/02/24
11/03/24
Governors decision to proceed
29/03/24
Application made to Department for Education
08/04/24
08/04/24
Application reviewed by Advisory Board – Approval granted
01/06/24
31/07/24
Transition phase
01/08/24
31/12/24
MAT formed and schools convert to academy status
01/01/25

HaVe Your say

To have your say complete our online surveyor if you prefer complete a paper feedback form available at your school or college reception. The deadline for submitting your feedback is 15th March 2024. If you have any further questions please email haveyoursay@thewlt.co.uk or write to Principal Paul Britton, Wyke Sixth Form College, Bricknell Avenue,Hull, HU5 4NT.

Complete our Online Survey

Would you like to join the trusts governing body? Download our governance recruitment pack for more information.

Download our Governance Recruitment Pack

IN-person & ONLIne meetings

Across the consultation period, we will be holding a series of in-person and online meetings for parents and the community to attend.

Market Weighton Schools

28th February, Market Weighton Infant School, 2.30pm-3.15pm (in-person)

28th February, The Market Weighton School, 6.30pm-7.30pm (in-person)

Riverview Federation of Schools

4th March, Castledyke School, 3.15pm-4.15pm (in-person)

4th March, Baysgarth School, 4.30pm-6.00pm (in-person)

4th March, both schools, 5pm-6pm (online)

Wyke Sixth Form College

6th March, 6pm-7pm (online)