Academy Consultation

Consultation to Convert to Academy Status

In the Spring of 2023, St. Oswald’s Church of England Primary school entered into a public consultation about whether our school should become an Academy and join the Leeds Diocesan Learning Trust (LDLT).

In September 2023, we announced that we were pausing our academisation plans, but still actively considering joining LDLT.

Now, in March 2024 following our latest Full Governing Board meeting, we have made the decision to end our plans to join LDLT.

When we, as a Governing Board, began exploring academisation for St. Oswald’s, we built relationships with a number of other local Trusts in order to review all options available to us. At the time, we chose to pursue our links with LDLT. LDLT is a very new Trust and one that is thriving, changing and growing at a significant pace. Given the changes St. Oswald’s has been through over the past several years, we believe that joining a Trust that is going through significant changes is not the best option for us at this moment in time.

It is through robust due diligence, a considerable amount of time spent, a number of meetings and networking opportunities, that we have come to the decision to end our plans to join LDLT. However, we continue to review our options and will pick up those relationships with other local Trusts again. Academisation will remain on our agenda at upcoming Full Governing Board meetings, and it is likely that we will communicate again with you soon to share an update regarding our next steps and as to whether we begin to work more closely with one of these long-established, local Trusts as we continue to explore ways to strengthen our school.

Martin Baker (Chair of Governors) and Jonny Davies (Headteacher) on behalf of the Governing Board at St. Oswald’s Church of England Primary School.


What is an Academy?

Academies are state schools, funded directly from central government, no longer under the control of the Local Authority. Academy status gives schools more freedom to be innovative and creative with the curriculum, timetabling, staffing and governance. The school will still be a Church of England School under the authority of the Diocese of Leeds and its religious designation will not change.

All academies continue to be inspected by Ofsted and comply with the same rules as other schools on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), exclusions and admissions. Church Schools will continue to be inspected under the Statutory Inspection for Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) framework.There are now thousands of academies in the country, including many schools that have converted in the Diocese of Leeds and in the local authority.

An academy is part of a charitable trust (the MAT) run by a board of trustees. Trusts and their academies are rightly expected to work with and support other schools, including vulnerable schools. Should you wish to know more about the Government’s policy, the Department for Education has its own academies bookmark.

What is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT)?

A Multi Academy Trust is a charitable company and is responsible for overseeing the running of a number of schools. It has three layers of governance: the Members; the Directors; and the Local Academy Councils (similar to school governing bodies).

A MAT is formed when its articles (legal document) are approved by the DfE and it is registered at Companies House as a company. The Church of England has specific articles approved by the central church and the DfE for the creation of Church MATs. A Church School can only convert into a MAT that uses these articles. MATs are made up of a number of academy schools – some are just primary school MATs, others will have secondary schools in them and some will include Special Schools too. It is usual for MATs to have periods of growth, when a number of schools might join and then some period of consolidation. There isn’t a set number of schools that makes a MAT. In the Church MATs in the diocese it is most usual for converting schools to keep their own name; if the school wants to change its name it can do. The partnership established between all schools in the MAT ensures that the schools can share skills and best practice and make optimum use of resources ensuring best value for money for each school.

In many ways the children will not notice any difference – they will be in the same uniform, in the same classrooms with the same staff. However, in time the children may perhaps notice some changes and improvements in the way that they learn for example and have greater links with each school within the Trust.

What will be the main benefits for schools within a Trust?

    • Access to top quality staff, including a Trust leadership team who will sharply focus on securing excellence.
    • Moderation of standards across the partnership of schools to ensure the highest quality provision.
    • Greater control over finances and the money due to schools.
    • Educational benefits for students as a result of additional freedoms available to academies in terms of the curriculum we offer, and how we prioritise resources.
    • The opportunity to work in close and formalised partnership with other schools and share expertise and services that will benefit all our students and staff.
    • Sharing resources and expertise, allows us to target funding towards improving front line teaching and learning.
    • Develop our own solutions collaboratively.

What additional responsibilities will Academy status bring?

    • Currently the school’s Governing Body employs our staff – going forward the Multi Academy Trust would be the employer.
    • The Academy Trust would be responsible for admissions rather than the Governing Body.
    • The Academy Trust would enter into a 125-year lease for the land. We already have responsibility for the cost of maintaining the land and buildings.

Will any changes to the school be made as a result of conversion?

Please be assured that the name, character, ethos and values of St Oswald’s would remain unchanged should the proposals be agreed.

We do not intend to make any changes to the day-to-day work of the school following conversion, other than to adjust the governance arrangements and accountability that comes with working within a Multi Academy Trust and to bring closer working practices between the schools in the Trust.