FAQJust how ‘independent’ is each academy?
Each academy has its own School Advisory Body to which powers for day-to-day running are delegated by Staploe Education Trust. This includes decisions on the curriculum, pedagogical approaches and staffing. Staploe Education Trust does have the right to step in where necessary – for example if the quality of the teaching provision at the school is at risk. It may also step in at the point that a school chooses to join the Trust as part of an agreed support programme.Will there be any common branding? Logos? Mottos? Uniform?
As a minimum there will be a recognition and signage to state that the new Academy is part of Staploe Education Trust. There will be discussions with school to determine what is most appropriate in the school’s local circumstances.How are School Advisory Bodies run?
Each of our academies has a School Advisory Body with responsibilities delegated to it by the Trust Board and a composition that allows the SAB to undertake these responsibilities. The SABs are made up of community governors appointed by the SAB, the Headteacher and elected parent representatives as well as staff members. The Trust delegates significant responsibilities to the local governing body including oversight and scrutiny of the School Improvement Plan, and governor lead portfolios using the skills, expertise and commitment that each individual governor brings to the Trust. Directors of the Trust are drawn from the membership of the Local Governing Bodies which ensures that the Trust and its Board maintains focus on its mission to serve all its schools and promote outstanding opportunities across its schools.Who agrees the priorities for the Academy?
The Trust sets out its expectations for each of its schools to deliver outstanding provision and outcomes for its young people. The priorities for each academy are determined by the head of each school with their colleagues and governors in the context of their self-evaluation, their own vision and ambition to be judged outstanding.Who makes the decision whether schools can join?
The decision is taken by the governing body of the school in question, along with the Secretary of State and the Staploe Education Trust.What role do parents and the local community play in the running of the school?
Each school within Staploe Education Trust will have two elected parent governors as well as community governors. As Directors and members of the Trust are drawn from the governing bodies this allows the Trust to maintain strong links into the local community. The Trust firmly believes that such integration between academy and community nurtures a positive environment within which children can flourish.Will pay scales and working conditions stay the same?
Yes. Staff will continue to be employed as per the conditions of service they had prior to the school becoming a Staploe Education Trust academy.Will each academy still have a Principal and leadership team?
Yes. Wherever possible Staploe Education Trust is committed to the policy of one Principal per academy. The Trust considers other options only in situations where this is not possible.Who will be responsible for new appointments at the academy?
The academy Principal and academy School Advisory Body are responsible for all new appointments. The only exceptions to this are the principal and the governing body themselves. The Principal is appointed by the governing body and Staploe Education Trust. The process of appointing the governing body is covered above.Will staff be expected to work/cover/share expertise across academies in their cluster?
All Staploe Education Trust academies are expected to exchange ideas, contribute to knowledge and best practice sharing. Any staff exchange leading from this will be worked out in full consultation with staff and their school. We would hope the opportunity to work in other environments would be viewed by colleagues as a key part of personal development and beneficial to all.Can staff be moved to other schools to provide cover?
This will depend upon the contract of employment. As a general rule, employees will be expected to support other academies where it is reasonable to do so.Will subject co-ordinator posts be shared across schools?
The running of schools and co-ordination of curriculum areas are delegated to the leadership of individual schools. Where a joint post may be beneficial to pupils and staff across two or more schools, then consultation and discussion would take place and staff would be fully involved.What are the implications for staff development promotion and other career prospects?
All staff, whatever their role, working in Staploe Education Trust schools will be encouraged to broaden their knowledge, experience, and skills by sharing, talking and working with other schools. The intention is that the Trust will create new opportunities to learn, motivate and retain staff as well as grow future leaders who are used to working across groups of schools.Will we have control over our own budget?
The Trust operate a central budget for infrastructure services into which each school pays according to its costs. The budget for the majority of school staffing and resources is devolved to the local governing body to determine how best to deploy funds for high quality educational provision in its own setting.Will we have control over our own curriculum?
Curriculum decisions rest with the Headteacher and local governing body. Increasingly curriculum development is a shared enterprise across schools in the primary phase. Ultimately the Trust has the power to intervene should it have concerns about the quality of a school curriculum or its delivery.Would we lose links with the schools that we currently work with?
All of our schools retain valued links with other schools. The Trust recognises the importance of external networks and strong supports their exploitation as a means of securing school improvement.
Soham Village College is part of a voluntary collaboration of secondary academies in Cambridgeshire (AIG) and a strategic alliance partner in the Anglian Gateway Teaching School Alliance. The Shade, The Weatheralls and Kennett Primary Schools work closely with the other primary schools in the Bottisham, Burwell and Soham locality (the Circle Schools) and even more closely with our local church primary schools, one of which is in the DMAT. The primary and secondary network extends beyond our district and includes active membership of national and regional networks.