Letters regarding Academisation

A list of downloadable letters that have been sent to parents regarding academisation.

Multi Academy Trust Update (25th May 2016)
Academisation perspectives (8th February 2016)
Academisation consultation (1st February 2016)

Responses to Parental Consultation

A downloadable version of this Q&A is available here. Updated 06/05/2016.

1. When will the Academy be in place?

We can apply from April onwards and the process from that point can take anything between three and six months.

2. How do the majority of staff at Standish Community High School feel about the prospect of becoming an Academy, by majority we mean not the Senior Leadership Team?

Some responses have been positive with some understandable questions about the process and assurances about terms and conditions. There are some responses which are negative about becoming an academy.

3. Are the unions against this?

Most unions are against it.

4. Southlands is a Chorley school and appears to be the last one in the borough to move to Academy status, why join Wigan Borough when it is a different management structure?

Technically, Southlands won’t be joining Wigan. It will be joining the MAT. It will be a part of the management structure contained in the MAT: Trustees, a board of directors and a set of local governing bodies.

5. What do you mean when you say Standish Community High School will be the lead school?

Standish Community High School is deemed to be the better performing school and possibly has ways of achieving those successes that other schools may benefit from. However, the MAT will be established with mutually beneficial aims in mind. It is clear in all the preparation work that there is much both schools can benefit from. Standish will have many aspects to learn from Southlands.

6. Can you highlight any benefits that Southlands High School can bring?

It is invidious at this stage to single out particular aspects of school work or particular departments that either school currently excels in. However, these are the very areas we are exploring under due diligence. One easy example to give is that both schools employ lead practitioners, some in different curriculum areas. The advice and guidance from their in-house experts will be beneficial to both Standish and Southlands.

7. One governing body residing over two schools this could change over time?

The Multi Academy Trust is formed on the basis of a small group of trustees (or members), a board of directors with overarching responsibilities for all schools and a set of local governing bodies who will deal with aspects of just one school. These structures won’t change.

8. As a lead school a risk could mean that our better teachers will move to other school within the Academy?

The only way that our better teachers will move to the other schools within the academy is through the already existing structures of promotion.

9. What would be the school’s plans for SEN needs, will this change?

In principle, the school’s plan for SEN needs will remain unaltered.

10. Will the Admissions policy change?

We do not intend to change the admissions arrangements.

11. With regard to future admissions what guarantees could you give for Aspull?

See the response to the previous question.

12. Bishops Rawsthorne changed their admissions arrangements, how do we know that will not happen to Standish Community High School?

See the response to the previous question.

13. Of the 68% of schools that have achieved academy status, do you know the percentage split between secondary and primary schools?

68% of secondary provision is taken by academies.  In the primary sector it is 22%.

14. With regard to the St Wilfrid’s Academy locally in Standish, comments were made that there have been no changes noticeable to the children’s life at school.

It is inappropriate for any comment to be made here on the outcomes for students in St Wilfrid’s.

15. If when a due diligence exercise has been carried out on Southlands and Standish Community High School decides they are not what we want, what happens next?

If the due diligence reached the conclusion that a partnership isn’t the preferred option, Standish will still be considering if we should become a Multi Academy Trust of one.

16. With regards to the Governors, what experience do they have?

Governors have much by way of experience. A number of our governors currently serve on boards of directors for other MATs. Understandably, there will be others who will need further training. I am confident that this can be successfully achieved.

17. Please explain what is meant by capital funding?

Capital funding is money that is delegated to spending on infrastructure like buildings, maintenance, repairs and refurbishment. It can be spent in no other way.

18. Where does the money come for payment of wages etc?

The money for wages comes from the budget, which for schools, is set by the local authority and for academies is set by the DfE.

19. If SCHS becomes an academy do we still need to follow public procurement regulations?


20. Are there plans to increase the size of Standish Community High School?

There are no plans to increase (or decrease) the size of Standish Community High School.

21. Will current pupil admissions number increase, especially in light of the extensive house building in Standish?

We do not intend to change the admission arrangements.

22. Are there any plans for other schools to join the MAT?

Ultimately there will be plans for other schools to join the MAT. However, the timings of such adoptions would be subject to due diligence.

23. Will primary schools who join the MAT have priority regarding admissions?

We do not intend to change the admission arrangements.

24. Is there any choice really?

We are persuaded by the intent of government to have all schools as academies by 2020.

25. If MAT of 1, what happens next?

If we are a MAT of 1, we would be looking to partner with a secondary or primary school. We would be liaising with the regional school’s commissioner with that regard.

26. Governors at St Wilfrid’s seemed to go from ‘parents’ to having lots of say?

It is inappropriate for any comment to be made here on the outcomes for students in St Wilfrid’s.

27. Why has Southlands High School been chosen?

Southlands High School approached Standish in mid-December to discuss the possibility of partnership. We have contained to deepen the discussions and explore more thoroughly the possibility of partnership.

28. What advisory services could we access with schools from two different authorities?

We are eligible to approach any authority for their commissioned services, in the MAT, Southlands would remain linked to Lancashire and Standish linked to Wigan.

29. How would vocational provision be delivered?

Vocational provision may be delivered in the same way as present.

30. Who would be the lead headteacher?

We are not at the stage of naming the lead headteacher.

31. Lancashire Advisory Service – would we benefit?

We are eligible to approach any authority for their commissioned services, in the MAT, Southlands would remain linked to Lancashire and Standish linked to Wigan.

32. What is the situation surrounding Academies and Ofsted inspections?

Academies are subject to stand alone inspections. So Southlands could be subject to an inspection on its own (similarly for Standish).

33. Who chooses the Board of Directors?

The existing boards of governors and in particular the chairs of governors will be forming the board of directors.

34. What if it goes wrong?

Due diligence is the process by which the strengths and benefits can be identified. It is also the process by which difficulties and setbacks may be anticipated with contingency plans in place for such events. We intend to go into partnership aware that certain aspects may not be as successful as anticipated. This is not unlike leading a school and it is something for which a Senior Leadership Team and a board of governors are created for.

35. Teachers are already stretched – concerned about extra work.

Again, this is a question around due diligence and identifying where senior leaders can be deputised to support and receive support. Currently, we already liaise with primaries and advise and spend time in several secondary schools supporting their work. This has given us confidence to assume there currently exists capacity for such school to school support.

36. Make-up of governance – include skilled areas – financial/legal educationalists – who decides?

Ultimately, the DfE decide whether or not they have confidence in the selection of directors nominated in the MAT proposals.

37. Will the admissions criteria change in any way?  Will this alter the long standing arrangement with students from Aspull?

We do not intend to change the admission arrangements.