The Governing Body of Howden Le Wear Primary School is considering becoming a member of the Advance Learning Partnership (ALP) Multi-Academy Trust (MAT).
Stakeholder consultation outcomes on the proposal for Howden le Wear Primary School to join Advance Learning Partnership (ALP) Multi Academy Trust.
The stakeholder consultation took place between Friday 17 September and Friday 22nd October 2021, a period of five school term weeks. The following events took place between these dates:
- Information in our weekly school newsletter drawing stakeholder attention to the proposal, information being available on our school website and stakeholders invited to complete an online consultation form to express their views and ask any questions they have.
- Parent / Community meeting held on Monday 27 September with representation from ALP and Howden Le Wear Primary School leadership and governing body.
- Staff meeting held on Monday 27 September with representation from ALP and Howden Le Wear Primary School leadership and governing body.
- Follow up parent/community meeting with Howden le Wear Primary School Headteacher and Chair of Governors held on Thursday 14 October.
- Opportunity for stakeholders to book an appointment to meet individually with the Headteacher / Chair of Governors and / or ALP representatives to ask any questions or raise any issues.
Outcomes of the consultation:
Four responses were received via the online consultation form.
Two responses were from parents who provided their details when completing the form, but did not provide any comments on the form.
One question was asked by a grandparent: ‘What will being an academy mean for those children with special educational needs? Will they still have access to occupational therapy and movement programmes and the other interventions they have currently available for children like my grandchild who has really benefitted from a lot of extra input?’
Governing Body Response: Joining ALP Multi Academy Trust will not alter the offer we provide to children with Special Educational Needs (SEND). Indeed, we hope that through collectively working with other schools in the Trust, we will be able to further improve our offer to children with SEND. If we choose to join ALP, our school will remain autonomous, where we remain in charge of our own budget and are able to spend that budget as we wish, to provide the best outcomes for our children.
One question was asked by a parent: ‘Will Mr Baines be the headmaster and be restricted to this site or will his time be shared across other sites?’
Governing Body Response: If we choose to join ALP, our school will remain fully autonomous with Mr Baines as the Headteacher of Howden le Wear Primary School and his role will remain unchanged. All ALP schools have their own headteachers in post who work collaboratively with the ALP Executive Board to ensure the best possible outcomes for all pupils across the Trust schools.
Parent / Community Meeting held on Monday 27 September: 17 parents and community members attended the meeting. Kelvin Simpson (CEO) and Claire Oates (CFO) attended on behalf ofon behalf of Howden le Wear Primary School.
Staff Meeting held on Monday 27 September: 22 members of staff attended the meeting. Kelvin Simpson (CEO) and Claire Oates (CFO) attended on behalf of ALP and Mr C Baines, Headteacher; Dr Patrick Morton, Chair of Governors and Frances Ann Johnson, Vice Chair of Governors attended on behalf of Howden le Wear Primary School.
Follow up parent/community meeting on Thursday 14 October: This meeting was scheduled as a result of a request at the Parent / Community meeting on Monday 27 September, where one parent expressed the opportunity to meet with Mr Baines and Dr Morton to gather views / ask further questions. This meeting was advertised in the school newsletter on Friday 8 October 2021.
No parents / community members attended the meeting.
Opportunity for stakeholders to book an appointment to meet individually with the Headteacher / Chair of Governors and / or ALP representatives to ask any questions or raise any issues: This opportunity was provided to stakeholders at any point throughout the consultation period. The Headteacher had two informal discussions with parents about the proposal. Both conversations were positive, with no identified issues raised that required further explanation.
Email received from one stakeholder following letter being sent to parents regarding proposal in June 2021:
‘I am delighted to read this. My oldest child goes to Parkside Academy and I support their vision and values. I am also a senior manager for a multi academy trust and the benefits / support that staff and students receive from the organisation is amazing.
I fully support this decision and I am happy to assist in anyway.
Consultation Outcome: The Governing Body met on Monday 25 October to considered the responses to the stakeholder consultation regarding our proposed transfer to Advance Learning Partnership and agreed to progress to the formal consultation process which will begin after the October half term holidays.
Further information and Frequently Asked Questions
Wider information on the Academies programme is available on the Department for Education website
Below we have put together some frequently asked questions about Multi Academy Trusts and what joining Advance Learning Partnership will mean for our school. As questions are raised throughout the consultation process, answers will be added to this page.
What is an Academy?
Being an academy means we remain a state school, funded directly from central government, but no longer directly under the control of the Local Authority. Academy status, we feel, gives us more freedom to be innovative and creative with the curriculum, timetabling, staffing and governance. We would continued to be inspected by Ofsted and comply with the same rules as other schools on, for example, Special Educational Needs. There are now over 12,000 academies in the country, including many schools in the North East of England and in County Durham. As an academy we would be part of a Multi Academy Trust and academies are rightly expected to work with and support other schools.
What is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT)?
A MAT is formed when two or more academies legally come together in partnership. It is possible for other schools and academies to join the Trust in the future, and for our school, we would be joining the Advance Learning Partnership MAT at a point where there are currently six other schools within the Trust. The partnership ensures that the schools can share skills and best practice and make optimum use of resources ensuring best value for money for each school.
How will the children benefit?
In joining a MAT we envisage that in many ways the children will not notice any immediate difference, they will be in the same uniform, in the same classrooms with the same teaching staff. However, in time the children will perhaps notice changes and improvements in the way that they learn for example and have greater links with other schools within the Trust.
How would this proposal benefit our school?
Governors have taken the time to select what they feel is the best Multi Academy Trust to assist the school with its improvement programme. The Advance Learning Partnership has a similar ethos to our own school and like us, they value and want the best for every child. Their schools are close enough geographically to allow teachers to share training opportunities and our main secondary feeder schools, Wolsingham School and Parkside Academy, are also part of ALP.
How will we benefit from working with other schools?
Our school already has strong partnerships with other local schools who are already part of ALP. Joining ALP will allow us to continue the strong and established partnerships we already have, help us develop new relationships with schools who may join ALP in the future, provide better opportunities for our learners and help us save money by benefiting from economies of scale.
What will be the impact on staff?
Currently, staff in school are employed by Durham County Council. After conversion, all staff will be employed by ALP. Staff are legally protected to transfer under the same employment terms and conditions, including pensions. Staff will be provided with further information on how they are affected as part of the conversion process. Being part of the MAT will also provide greater opportunities for career progression and development.
How will the Trust and the school be run?
ALP have a highly skilled Board of Trustees, approved by the Department for Education, made up of people with particular skills and expertise to help it run efficiently, effectively and compliantly. Although the Board would have a number of legal and regulatory powers it would delegate many of its powers to the Local Academy Council (formally the Governing Body).
Our school will have a Local Academy Council which will continue to ensure that the needs of each school are monitored closely. Our Local Academy Council would continue to have a mixture of representatives from parents, staff and members of the local community. The Headteacher would still be responsible for running their own school and would work closely with the ALP Executive Team and support staff, as well as working with other ALP Headteachers to develop plans for school improvement, partnership working and collaboration.
Would the school have to change its name or uniform?
No, there are no plans to change the school name or uniform.
Will the times of the school day and holidays change?
We have no plans to change the times of the school day or the term dates. All current ALP schools follow the term dates set out by Durham County Council. Any future changes to term dates or school day timings would be subject to extensive consultation with parents and carers.
What is the process to become a member of Advance Learning Partnership MAT?
During the summer term, the proposed partnership between Howden le Wear Primary School and Advance Learning Partnership was given approval to proceed by the Department for Education. We now enter a period of consultation and due diligence, taking the views of all stakeholders into consideration and exploring in greater detail, whether the partnership is viable for both parties. If, at the end of this process, both parties still agree that the partnership is viable, the legal joining process would be completed to formalise the relationship. At this stage we believe the process could be concluded in the first half of the spring term 2022.
Thank you for taking the time to read this documentation and should you require any further information, please feel free to contact school via the usual channels.