Public Consultation Information
Public Consultation: Booklet 1
Changing from Community School to Foundation School Category and Acquiring a Charitable Trust
The Governing Body of Knop Law Primary School is proposing to change their category from community school to foundation school and at the same time acquire a charitable status and become a member of the Outer West Learning Trust.
What we would like you to do:
We would very much like to know what you think about our plans, so we invite you to take part in our consultation. You can do this by:
- Reading this Booklet 1. You may also wish to read Booklet 2 which provides answers to a range of questions. This is available on each school website.
- Completing the response form and returning it to your school by noon on 22nd April 2016
- Attending one of the consultation meetings which will be held at our school
Contents of this booklet:
- Executive summary
- Why are we proposing this change
- Vision and Values
- What will the Trust do?
- How will the Trust work?
- What does Foundation status mean?
- What differences does Trust and Foundation Category mean for stakeholders?
- Consultation process
1. Executive Summary
- The Governing Body of Knop Law Primary School is proposing to change their category from community school to foundation school and at the same time acquire a charitable status and become a member of the Outer West Learning Trust.
- The proposed date of implementation is 1st July 2016.
- Knop Law will join the Outer West Learning Trust partnership and supported by the Trust will work together to improve the standards, outcomes, opportunities and services for children, young people and their families within the Outer West community of Newcastle. The Headteacher and governors believe strongly that by working together we can achieve significantly more than we can achieve working alone. We would therefore want to become a formal member of the Outer West Learning Trust and actively contribute to and build upon the work of the Trust to further enhance the education of the children in our community.
- As a member of the Outer West Learning Trust our school will continue to be members of the Newcastle Local Authority family of schools, but the change of category will allow us to be additionally supported by a charitable trust. Other schools may also have an interest in becoming a full or an associate member of the Trust. If they join, they will be full contributors to, and beneficiaries of, the work of the Trust.
- As a result of the change our Governing Body will gain new powers and responsibilities. It will become the employer of all staff, although existing pay and condition arrangements will be unchanged under the TUPE like arrangements for transfer of staff. Foundation schools are required to abide by national teacher’s pay and conditions.
- The Governing Body will also become responsible for student admissions policy and criteria within the requirements of the National Schools Admissions Code. The LA will continue to administer the application process.
- The Trust will hold the land and capital assets in Trust for the schools although the Governing Bodies will retain day-to-day responsibility for managing these assets in the same way that they do now.
- You will have the opportunity to comment on these proposals during the consultation period that runs from noon Monday 25th April to noon Friday 20th May 2016. Hard copies of consultation documents are available from our school office and are also available on our website.
- Our Governing Body will consider the outcome of the consultation and then decide on whether to publish Statutory Proposals on changing category and acquiring a charitable trust or to remain a community school.
2. Why are we proposing this change?
We are considering this change because:
- The Outer West Learning Trust has been working successfully together as a formal trust partnership for two years and has considerably enhanced the education of children and its community: For more information log on to www.outerwestlearningtrust.co.uk. We believe that by joining the Trust we can considerably enhance the opportunities and educational experiences of the children, staff and community at Knop Law
- The nature of education in England is changing rapidly. Much of this change is related to how schools are governed and the changing role of the Local Authority which has a significantly reduced influence in many areas of education. The introduction of new types of school into the system reduces the ability of the Local Authority to manage the provision of places across the system. In this environment the Governors and Headteacher of Knop Law believe that there is a real advantage in our school developing a closer and stronger collaborative relationship with the schools in the Outer West Learning Trust. In fast changing times being a formal member of the Outer West Learning Trust would enable us to be an active partner who would work with partners to ensure that the trust schools are well placed to embrace new challenges e.g. working together to explore the opportunity to become a multi academy trust
- Joint membership of a shared Trust would mean that everything that is already good about our current schools will be continued. Our governing body and school leaders will still have the same responsibilities for the education of children and young people as they do now. We believe that by joining the Trust we can further enhance the quality of education and care that the children and young people now receive. We have set out in this consultation document some of the different ways in which we believe we can achieve this together
3. Vision and Values
The specific focus of the Outer West Learning Trust is to build a shared learning community in which children, young people, staff, parents and other partners discover their talents, realise their potential, and develop a passion for learning that endures through their lives.
Our children will:
- be inspired to be people of character with a lasting passion for learning,
- develop an enduring core of competencies and values,
- have the capabilities to thrive in the 21st Century globalised world,
- experience a safe and joyful childhood.
All schools in the Outer West Trust will:
- have high quality staff who have excellent opportunities for development
- provide a stimulating, relevant and enjoyable curriculum,
- create a learning environment that shares and reflects best practice and current educational research,
- cultivate every child's skills, enabling them to realise tomorrow’s dreams
- work with families and the wider community to enable the best outcomes for children and young people
We will work in a way together which espouses the values of self help, self responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. We will endeavour at all times to be honest and open and show social responsibility and caring for others.
4. What will being a member of the Outer West Learning Trust do?
The focus of our membership of the Outer West Learning Trust work will be to work with our partners in our shared interest to maximise the achievements of all of the children and young people through building and embedding the capacity for enhanced provision and widening access for the community.
This will be done by closer working together on shared priorities and through building stronger relationships with other partners who would not traditionally be available to individual schools. The Local Authority (LA) is actively supporting our school to seek Trust status and will continue to provide technical and specialist support. Negotiations will also take place with different service teams in the LA to broker bespoke services to the Trust in support of its schools. It is also anticipated that the LA may in the future commission work from the Trust to achieve its own objectives.
The Outer West Learning Trust have partners from the public, voluntary and commercial sectors that help to further boost its aims including Newcastle Local Authority, Northumbria University, Tyne & Wear Museums and Greggs. The Outer West Learning Trust supports our proposal and believes that our membership would further strengthen the Trust widening potential impact on the whole Outer West community
The Trust allows a more efficient use of resources through larger economies of scale for procurement and services and also, because of its charitable status, provides opportunities for bidding for resources that are currently not available to community schools.
In the changing educational landscape, being a formal member of the Outer West Learning Trust would enable us to be an active partner who would collaborate with trust partners to ensure that the schools are well placed to embrace new challenges e.g. working together to explore the opportunity to become a multi academy trust
5. How will being a member of the Outer West Learning Trust work?
The Trust will be a charitable, not for profit organisation, meeting the legal requirements of the Department for Education (DfE). It appoints a minority i.e. 2 governors to the governing body of each supported school and hold the land and assets of each school in trust for the community.
The Trust is established and regulated by the Charities Commission and be registered as a company limited by guarantee with Companies House.
Trustees (or Directors) of the Trust are drawn from the school governors, Headteachers and other partners are responsible for managing the Trust. There is one Trustee per school. They meet a minimum of 3 times a year (co-ordinated with existing school governance arrangements as required).
Trustees are not able to derive an income from the Trust, but the Trust may become an employer as it develops its work. Any income generated by the Trust must only be used to support its charitable aims. The Trust will not seek to alter the individual characteristics of partner schools.
Members of the Trust are drawn from the school governors, leaders, partners and other organisations that agree to work with the schools to further the aims of the Trust and our schools. In both the Membership and the Trustees, school governing bodies and leaders are always be in a majority.
The Outer West Learning Trust communicates its work to governing bodies at their regular meetings and to parents through the newsletters and parental communications of the schools involved.
6. What does Foundation status mean?
To become a member of the Outer West Learning Trust, community schools are required to change their category and become Foundation schools. In acquiring foundation status the governing body and not the Trust will take on new responsibilities. These will include taking on the role of employer of staff and being responsible for admissions of learners to each school. Although the Trust will hold the land and assets in trust for each school, each governing body will retain day to day responsibility for managing these as they do currently.
The School Organisation (Prescribed Alterations to Maintained School) (England) Regulations 2007 provide for all the rights, powers, duties and liabilities to transfer existing staff from the LA to the Governing Body.
Existing and new teaching staff will continue to work under the terms of the School Teachers’ Pay and conditions Document (STPCD).
Schools will continue to teach the National Curriculum and be inspected by Ofsted.
Although our Governing Body will reserve the right to review admission arrangements, schools will work in collaboration with the LA to ensure strict adherence to the National Schools Admissions Code.
7. What differences does Trust and Foundation Category mean for stakeholders?
As part of the LA family of maintained schools, each school will continue to operate a fair admissions policy (as above).
As happens now, parents will apply for places at each school using the LA process.
Composition of Governing Bodies
The change to Foundation status will mean a change of instrument of governance and a reconstitution of the Governing Body. The changes should however be minimal. The Trust will appoint a minimum number of governors i.e. two. It is likely that these will be people already on the governing body who will change category to foundation governors. Guidance and support for the reconstitution process is available from Newcastle Governor Services via the Clerk to the Governing Body.
Staff Terms and Conditions
Employees will be employed by their school’s Governing Body instead of the LA.
Our school will continue to recognise the same unions and staff associations.
Staff will still be represented on all governing bodies, elected by their colleagues
The Governing Bodies are currently seeking assurances from the LA with regard to Pension Arrangements, Costs of Early Retirement and Redundancies and related matters.
8. Consultation process
We would very much like to know what you think about our plans, so we invite you to take part in our consultation. You can do this by:
- Attending the consultation meeting which will be held in our school in early April.
- Completing the response form and returning it to your school anytime by 22nd April 2016.
Learners will be consulted in each school through their school councils and assemblies.
After the consultation is finished all the comments both written and verbal will collated for our school and a report will be prepared for our Governing Body. The report for our school will be published on our website and also be available for inspection by the public on request. Each Governing Body will then meet separately to review the report before reaching a decision about whether or not to proceed.
Our Governing Body may decide to:
- Issue a Statutory Notice to change from Community to Foundation status and the adoption of a Trust; or
- Modify the proposal in light of the suggestions made through the consultation process and if the changes are significant, consult again on the changes; or
- Remain as a Community school
If our Governing Body decides to issue a Statutory Notice there will be another chance to comment on the formal proposals before any final decision is made.
The proposed implementation date for joining the Outer West Learning Trust is 1st July 2016.
Copies of all the consultation documents can be obtained from our school office or from our school website www.outerwestlearningtrust.co.uk.