Public Consultation regarding the formation of 
School Academies and a Local Multi Academy Trust  

The schools in Wilmslow and the wider community of Handforth, Alderley Edge and Styal have a strong track record of providing excellent education to all our children. All the schools are successful and serve their communities well. Our individual successes are supported by strong partnerships amongst all the local schools where we strive to provide the highest standards of education and support for the children in our care.

English education policy is now strongly encouraging all schools to formalise collaborative working through organisations called Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs). A number of the maintained  schools within our district have decided to explore whether a geographically-based, community-focused Multi-Academy Trust would be in the best interests of the young people of our district, their families and the wider community as a whole. 

The six schools involved are: 
The Collaborative Educational Trust of Wilmslow (TCET) will formalise the existing collaboration between some local schools and ensure we can work together, both now and in the future, in the best interests of those within our school community. Meetings were held at all 6 participating schools in the week commencing 22nd January, a copy of the presentation at those meetings can be found here. 

Many factors have been carefully considered in developing this proposal: learning outcomes/ opportunities and teaching, staffing, finance and governance. The governing body of each school involved remains absolutely committed to its own individual character, ethos and values, allowing us to offer a great education to all learners in our community. We all believe that creating the new trust together and being founding schools will allow us the best opportunity to maintain and further develop the excellent educational opportunities that we currently offer for all of our pupils.

What does this involve?
To create a Multi-Academy Trust each school is required to convert to Academy Status with a funding agreement with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), an executive agency of the Department for Education (DfE). This means the schools will no longer be maintained by the Local Authority but directly by the DfE. After this, the six schools would join together to form a progressive and forward thinking Collaborative Educational Multi-Academy Trust.

National and Local Context
Over 65% of secondary schools and 22% of primary schools nationally now have academy status. This situation is rapidly changing with a growing number of academy conversions and MATs being planned. In the last few years, four local primary schools have already converted to an Academy or joined existing MATs in the region. This change in school status, nationally and locally, is combined with Local Authorities losing their role in school improvement and with a sharp decline in the support available for schools through the Local Authority. This context, in addition to the rapid pace of educational reform and pressures on school funding, creates both a need and an opportunity for schools to work together to provide school to school support and to facilitate school improvement. Establishing a MAT would provide a clear structure and mechanism for our schools to work together and to build upon our existing strengths. We wish to act now to define our own MAT, to base this on our own values and approaches and to control our own direction of travel both now and in the future.

Our reasons for seeking academy status and establishing a MAT are to:
  • expand the provision offering a 0-19 education that is truly inclusive, being able to support every child through every stage of their learning journey
  • create a real family of schools and to develop a ‘through school’ framework
  • understand better both primary and secondary phases, which will improve transition and accelerate students’ progress.
  • develop the shared values of the partnership
  • deepen our collaboration to secure the best outcomes for all the children
  • work together to improve teaching and learning and continue to maintain a high quality curriculum in each school
  • enable the  school leadership teams to focus more on teaching and learning and whole school improvement by reducing the administrative burden on individual schools on issues such as policy development and procurement
  • provide effective school to school support by sharing best practice
  • enhance school improvement within the partnership
  • pool resources, services and support to ensure the best outcomes for all in our community
  • respect, maintain and develop each school’s individual culture, values, ethos and identity
  • improve recruitment, retention, Continuing Professional Development and succession planning
  • achieve economies of scale and to improve value for money
  • shape our destiny within a changing school system
Consultation Process
The Headteachers and governors from the six schools seeking to form TCET have continued to meet regularly since the recent public consultation.

The feedback we have received is proving invaluable in helping us to develop our proposals so they are better able to achieve our ambitions and provide greater reassurance on the challenges that will be faced.

As promised, additional answers to some of the commonly asked questions that emerged during the consultation period can be found here.  As communicated during the presentations, there are still some questions that we are unable to answer at this point and we will therefore continue to update this website throughout the process.

To access the support of Department for Education project officers, the governing boards of the six schools have registered their interest in becoming academies. Work continues on the steps needed to access the project funding provided by an academy conversion grant. Members of our community can be reassured that these steps are only being taken to facilitate the design and build phase of the project. None of them commit any of the schools to academy conversion since this decision can only be taken by governing boards once all details have been determined and the full implications of such a decision are known.


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