One of our team has sent the letter below to both the Birmingham Labour Party and Birmingham Liberal Democrats to raise awareness and request support for the actions of the Group.
“As you may be aware there are plans for 7 of Kings Heaths and Moseleys schools to join to form a Multi Academy Trust, we at “Kings Heath and Moseley Ask the Parents” have gathered together to ensure that local parents, community and interested parties are aware of this proposal.
Currently schools are working together as STEP – Stronger Together Education Partnership. According to Kings Heath Primary School’s Governors Annual Statement they joined this during 2014/15.
STEP’s successes identified in the letter sent out by the joint Governors have been
- Peer to Peer Reviews
- Curriculum Network Groups
- Parental Training on E-Safety
- Joint Community Development Projects for pupils
According to the letter send out by the joint Governors the benefits they see of forming the Multi Academy Trust (MAT) are-
- Seeking economies of scale through shared staff
- Increase collective purchasing power on goods and services
- Improved recruitment of high quality staff
- Better training and development of existing workforce
- Ensure local accountability is retained through autonomous local governance structures
The letter then outlines their proposed Ethos which in summary is –
- Governance arrangements must allow each school to flourish as a distinct school
- Promote and maintain the Ethos and principals of comprehensive education
- Each school should retain its own individuality and day to day operating practices
- Continue to operate the admissions code of the Local Authority
- Build a collective strength to thrive in the educational landscape
- To operate with in the national terms and conditions for teachers and support staff
- Continuous improvement through working together via open and honest analysis of performance and peer to peer review
The letter then outlines their proposed Governance which in summary are-
- Keep discrete individual Local Governing Bodies(LGB) for each school
- All members of LGB’s, Board of MAT and Members of MAT to be unpaid for all duties relating to governance of the MAT
- Membership of the Board, LGB’s and the MAT to be for fixed period with maximum number of terms defined.
- Retain an allocated number of parent governors on the Board.
- Retain an allocated number of staff governors on the Board.
- Each LGB to have full earned autonomy, to include the appointment and performance management of the relevant Head Teacher.
- If any school, supported by the other schools, fails to act effectively to address vulnerabilities, the MAT Board will have the power to intervene and reduce the autonomy of that schools LGB.
- The MAT board will be responsible for the appointment of a leader for the MAT.
The letter states that Funding will come directly to the MAT and will then subject to management percentage be allocated to the individual schools in the MAT using the same formula as that defined by the DFE for maintained schools.
Why are Kings Heath ask the Parents Concerned by this?
These are a very admirable proposed Ethos, Governance structures and Funding plans.
However we have yet to find a way that they can Protect and Enshrine these once they have set up the MAT and stop the MAT Board from altering these admirable aims in the Future.
If we could be shown how these admirable aims could be enshrined and protected in law then some of the concerns could be alleviated.
Also all of the key benefits outlined in the letter are and can be achieved under the LEA. As such we do not believe that there is any benefit from forming the MAT. But forming the MAT without proper protection under law for the Ethos proposed opens up the schools to future changes that potential the Parents and community could not oppose or influence.
This is why we are trying to gather all relevant information so we can ensure that this is reviewed with open eyes by all parties.”
We would welcome your assistance with helping to raise awareness and hold the governors to a high standard of accountability, all the schools involved are already Good or Excellent according to Ofsted and we believe the plan needs to be properly reviewed.
Thanks for reading this and we look forward to working with you.”