Marcross Drive, Sunderland, Tyne And Wear SR3 2RE
A resolution was passed by the Board of Governors on 4th November 2015 to convert Benedict Biscop CE Academy to a Multi Academy Trust (MAT).
All stakeholders were informed during a period of consultation from 9am Thursday 5th November until 9am on Thursday 3rd December 2015.
The questions and comments raised during this consultation period with the academy responses are outlined below:
How are you (school or body of governors) going to ensure that the performance and support of the pupils within B. Biscop will not be compromised (in terms of resources, funding, support etc) by this conversion in the short-term and in future?
This conversion is a legal process and in the first instance we will still remain as a stand-alone school. During the 4 years we have been an academy we have developed a leadership team and staffing who are well placed to support others. Indeed we have been doing this for some time. I think given that in 2015, with the highest results ever, the leadership of the school have demonstrated that they are able to secure improvement, within a new context. Any decision to ‘support’ another school or go into partnership will be based on a process of due diligence, where external advice from legal and accountants will be considered. At any point if it is not appropriate for Benedict Biscop to go into a partnership then we will not do so.
How are you (school or body of governors) going to ensure that all wider issues are incorporated (for all schools involved) within your risk management process, who is going to manage this process? what support and experience is available within current body to ensure our school and processes won't be impacted by this process.
The Directors who are appointed to manage the school will manage the risk management process on an annual basis [as they do now], in consultation with other stakeholders. The Board of Governors currently have a wide skill base. This has served the Academy well, as they have ensured that the school is well led when difficult decisions have to be made. A new layer will be created to provide extra accountability beyond the Academy. The Members of the Academy will remain the same.
How are you going to ensure that any failure or issues within one school will not affect our school?
This will be addressed by our legal team at the time of conversion.
Is it not true that in the financial benefit of this merge will be more long-term and in the short term the costs involved will increase and hence the current students of this school will not see any true benefit? How are you (as school or body of governors) going to ensure the benefits of this merge benefit current pupils?
The financial benefit will come through further economy of resources which the academy is experienced in dealing with. The only costs in the short term are minimal, and will be provide the legal advice and structure to ensure our current pupils are protected. Any support we have given to other schools previously has benefited the pupils at Benedict Biscop through reciprocal working, sharing good practice of staff and governors which has directly impacted on our improving standards.
I would be interested to know how the Trustees see the development of the Benedict Biscop MAT and which type of academies they would envisage working with.
The Trustees view the formation of a MAT as an opportunity to work with primary schools, either with those who need support or with schools who are regarded as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding.’ The legal structure is being defined to enable us to do this in different ways.