Consultation outcome to form a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT)

Thank you to all who contributed to the consultation to form a MAT.  I am pleased to advise that The Governing Body will be proceeding with plans to form a MAT with Castle Rock High School and Broom Leys Primary School for the new academic year.

The partnership will be a ‘Multi-Academy Trust’ (MAT) and each school will become equal members of the trust.  The partnership would be known as the Apollo Partnership Trust but each school will keep its own name.

The governors are proud of Newbridge High School and its students and staff and are keen to see the school continue to develop and grow stronger. Working in partnership is essential to this process, forming a MAT will allow us to achieve this. Through a MAT we can collaborate with, learn from, and support other schools.  Collaborative working in a MAT offers many benefits for students and staff; sharing best practice in teaching and learning, curriculum collaboration, extra-curricular opportunities, staff development, finance and human resources, legal services, school improvement structures and governance arrangements. I also believe that by working together we can make our budgets go further and help keep school funding focused on teaching and learning.

There are many different structures across the country of MATs.  As we have not rushed into this decision, we have the benefit of learning from others MAT different approaches.  We have developed a fairly ‘Autonomous’ approach to the MAT, allowing each academy to retain its own identity and only merging services where there is a clear improvement in standards as well as a financial benefit.

In forming a MAT the schools would retain their unique identities whilst sharing some governance arrangements and some support functions such as finance, HR and maintenance. Together we will set up the vision and values underpinning the MAT and the governance structure behind it. In the future there may be other schools that wish to join the MAT, however this will only take place where values are aligned and there is a clear benefit to the MAT as a whole, and our schools.

Ultimate responsibility for the schools in the MAT lies with the Trust Board of Governors which would combine the skills and experience necessary for success with each individual school continuing to have its own local governing board providing the day to day support and challenge for the leadership of the schools.

It is important to emphasise that formation and development of a MAT would be underpinned by our total commitment to maintain and enhance the outstanding work at Newbridge High School and the other schools within the MAT. Our ethos and our standards remain unchanged but our vision is to work with other schools to form a MAT that is rooted in our local community and offers the provisions to enhance the educational opportunities for students and staff.

During the consultation which was very positive and supportive a few questions were raised which I wanted to share with you:

Why the name Apollo Partnership Trust?
Apollo was the ancient God of knowledge.  As the MAT will be a partnership of good academies we all wanted this to be included in the name.  It would have been unwise to use a name such as ‘Coalville’ in case a school should wish to join in the future, that is outside of Coalville.  Changing the name at a later date involves additional costs legally and changing various official documents, bank accounts, stationery, publicity material etc.

Why will the MAT not include King Edward VII School?
King Edward VII School is the only 14-19 school in Coalville.  The initial MAT formation will span the age group of 4 to 14 students.  Initial enquiries with the Regional Schools Commissioner (who manages academy and MAT conversions on behalf of the DfE) advised that based on the current skills and capacity of our initial proposal it is too early to consider including King Edward VII.  This aside, King Edward VII will remain our Keystage 4/5 school and we will continue our close relationship with King Edward VII in the usual way, ensuring that all students enjoy a successful transition.

I will write to you again, once the MAT has been formed and I would like to take this opportunity for your continued support and your positive and supportive comments during the consultation.

Chair of Governors