LDLT Academy Consultation

Consultation to Convert to Academy Status

Last Spring Term, the Governing Board decided to consult parents, carers, staff and other
stakeholders about whether our school should become an academy and join LDLT (Leeds Diocesan
Learning Trust) -https://stoswaldsleeds.org/key-info/ldlt-academy-consultation/
Some of you submitted questions about the consultation or joined one of our consultation meetings
and asked questions during that forum. Over the summer, LDLT compiled these questions into a
report for us. We have now received that report and in the coming weeks we will share responses
to those questions.

The process of academising is lengthy and complex. Whilst we are still committed to actively
exploring our path towards joining LDLT. We have decided to slow down the process and give
ourselves more time in order to make such an important decision for our school.
The school has gone through a considerable amount of change over the last few years and we are
now starting to see the vision, values and new ways of working coming to fruition and being
embedded into our school’s culture. This year we saw our nursery provision being embraced by the
school and we have exceeded our expectations with the initial results from our assessment data.
By taking our time with this important decision for our school it will allow us to fully embrace the
offer from LDLT and put St Oswald’s in a much stronger position to enjoy the benefits of joining the
trust.

Therefore, as we start this new academic year we do not have a firm update for you on if & when
we will academise. We continue to have discussions and updates about LDLT at every Governing
Board meeting. For now, as a Board, we pause, continue to collaborate with our local partners, and
strategically plan to strengthen our wonderful school. We will keep you informed with LDLT news
further down the line.

Jonny Davies Headteacher, Martin Baker Chair of Governors and the Governing Board of
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.

About the Leeds Diocesan Learning Trust

The Leeds Diocesan Learning Trust was established by the DBE in 2022 in close partnership with the DfE, who provided project funding for its development. The Trust converted 7 church primary schools in the Autumn term of academic year 22/23 (with an 8th school pending) all in North Yorkshire, across the Ripon and Skipton areas and is now looking to bring in some more schools, with an expansion of the Skipton cluster and a new cluster in Leeds. St Oswald’s governors believe this is the right time to pursue academisation and to be part of the expansion of LDLT into Leeds. We are encouraged by the vision for the MAT and the strong emphasis already placed on collaborative working. We feel the MAT vision, ethos and values will align well with our own school vision and values. If schools must, in time, convert and become academies we feel this is the right option and right time for us.

ldlt.co.uk

What will be the main benefits for schools within Leeds Diocesan Learning 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.

More information on the process and the answers to many of the questions you may have can be found at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

How do I learn more, and how do I respond to the consultation?

At this stage we are not committing the school to conversion to academy status or to joining LDLT. We are consulting with everyone associated with our school before governors meet again to make a final decision. In the meantime you can read the consultation feedback report on the proposal.