Monday 10th September 2018
Consultation regarding joining an academy group
Dear parents & carers,
We wrote to you at the end of last year about our proposal to join GLF, a multi-academy trust. Thank you to all the parents who have contacted us since, either via the presentation evening, the online feedback form or in person.
Following the parent consultation, the Governing body held a final review of the proposal and feel that it is in the best interest of Manor pupils and staff to join GLF.
During the consultation a number of questions were raised and we wanted to use this opportunity to address some of your enquiries and explain the next stage of the process.
What was the role of the Governing body in making this decision?
The Governing body is made up of representatives from the senior leadership team, local community members, parents, teachers and support staff. As a group, these members are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the school and ensuring that decisions are made with consideration for all members of the Manor family.
The Governing body recognised the need for rapid improvement in order for Manor Primary School to provide the educational opportunities that our pupils deserve, they also recognised that this vision for the school could not be achieved in isolation. The following criteria was used when considering a partner for our school improvement journey.
A presence in the local community to develop further opportunities for our pupils to share experiences and resources across schools.
A proven track record of supporting schools on their journey to Good or Outstanding.
A strong vision for educational improvements with children at the heart of all decisions.
Opportunities for shared administrative costs to help improve the schools current financial position.
As part of the process the Governing body carried out a significant period of due diligence that included presentations and meetings with all identified options, discussions with the Local Authority and the Director of Children’s Services, interviews with members of the Senior Leadership teams and other staff members working within the trusts and each trusts public financial records.
What other options did you consider and why did you join GLF?
Due to a strong desire to consider local options first the Governing body focused on evaluating the benefits of; remaining within OPEN, joining The Ridgeway Education Trust (DGS & SBS) and GLF.
Whilst each option had its own benefits and opportunities, using the criteria above, the Governing body felt that GLF was the preferred option for a school improvement partner due to;
A focus on schools working together in local hubs
A proven track record of primary school improvement, with repeated examples of taking schools from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’
A pupil centered vision to provide an excellent standard of education for all pupils
Clear, centralised resources for school improvement.
What will change and how long will it be until we notice a difference?
The next stage of the process is to apply to the DFE for us to join GLF and pending their approval we hope to be able to open as a GLF school in the Spring term. In the interim the staff and school leadership team will be able to access additional training and support.
Whilst joining GLF is a clear part of our vision for school improvement, even as a GLF school we will continue to retain our own ethos and values. During the presentation in July we shared with you the upcoming changes regarding the schools curriculum which we hope will have a significant impact on your child's experience here at school, these changes are being driven by our school development plan which will continue throughout this process alongside the transition to GLF.
How will joining a multi-academy trust affect the schools financial position?
All schools are struggling financially at the moment, and we are no exception. Manor Primary School has been running a deficit budget for the last few years due to rising costs, changes to funding, and the challenges we face with 2.5 classes in each year group.
Financial restraints are even more challenging during a period of school improvements. There are many aspects of the school such as ICT provision that desperately need updating in order to keep up with the curriculum. Over the last year we have made several cost saving decisions whilst carefully balancing these with the need to invest and update our facilities and resources.
Whilst joining a multi-academy trust is not a ‘magic’ solution to these challenges, it will enable us to benefit from sharing resources, particularly administrative costs.
Will Manor remain a values driven school?
Manor received the Values Education Mark in 2015 for its values based curriculum. Since the 2016 Ofsted inspection the school became increasingly focused on Literacy and Maths. We have spent the last year listening to our pupils and parents and we know that there is a need for Manor to return to an inspiring and stimulating curriculum.
Our teachers have been working very hard to design a new curriculum which is launching in September 2018. This will include six whole school topics that enable all pupils to become immersed in the wider subjects with a greater emphasis on science and art.
Developing strong literacy and mathematical skills will still be a key focus, but our ambition is to encourage pupils to apply these to real life situations and to see a practical purpose to their learning.
Will the curriculum change?
We currently follow the National Curriculum and will continue to do so as part of GLF. We will however be updating our school assessment systems to allow us to communicate clearly with parents about your child's achievements and next steps, including how you can help at home.
We will continue to have a Maths Mastery approach and with the changes coming in this term we will be embedding Literacy through our new curriculum.
The Governing body will continue with the process of joining GLF. Once we have a clear date for opening as a GLF school we will hold another presentation evening to share with you any further news or updates.
In the meantime there are lots of opportunities for you to find out more about the changes happening within school. If you would like to know more about the curriculum changes this there will be the following events happening here at school. Please see the newsletter for individual dates and times.
Termly year group presentations to share what is happening that term.
How we teach children to read (Phonics presentation) - Autumn term
Calculation methods and how to help with Maths homework - Spring term
How to help your child prepare for the Year 6 SATS - Autumn term
Grammar, punctuation and spelling - the new curriculum changes and how to help at home - Spring term
In addition to these there will also be additional events for parents with children with Special Educational Needs - please see our SENCO for more information.
Mrs Kerry Brown
Chair of Governors