Bingley Grammar School

Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) – BGS is exploring more formal school partnership working

19 April 2016

Dear Parent/Carer,

Many of you will have seen or heard in the news over recent weeks that the government has extended its plans for academising schools (through the publication of its most recent White Paper – ‘Educational Excellence Everywhere’), where the intention is that every school becomes an academy by 2020, with most schools working formally in partnership with other schools by forming or joining MATs (Multi Academy Trusts).

Bingley Grammar has been looking at academy status and how we can develop our partnership working more formally with other local schools for several months already. This has been steered through a governors’ strategy group that has focused on exploring and assessing the possible options available in the local and wider area, working closely with other interested schools’ headteachers and governing bodies.

Having reviewed the opportunities of partnership working, alongside the future potential benefits that a MAT could bring to BGS and its students and community (see below), BGS’s Board of Governors has approved that the school should now look to apply to become both an academy and join a Multi Academy Trust, with the intention to work formally with both primary and secondary schools over the coming months and years.

The focus for our intended partnership working initially would be with schools in the local area that share our vision, ethos and values, and we are delighted to say that we will be working on the early stages of our application with Ilkley Grammar School. In addition, we will be exploring the possible involvement of other local schools, and will work with schools and their governing bodies over the coming weeks before finalising our application.

There are a number of key benefits that we hope more formal working through a MAT would bring to BGS and its students, including:

  • a better and broader overall experience, for example as a result of benefitting from the sharing of best practice across multiple schools, including high quality staff development
  • even more varied enrichment opportunities for students
  • greater community involvement and influence
  • enhanced governance, leadership and oversight for all schools involved
  • economic benefits through centralised costs, which will help allow us to minimise the impact of budget reductions on staffing and the curriculum, for example by continuing to be able to offer a wide range of A Level subjects
  • increased and flexible staffing resources where specialisms and experience can be shared across schools
  • a greater range of career progression opportunities for all staff in order to retain good staff who might otherwise move on

Although becoming an academy and part of a MAT would mean that the formal, legal status of all schools involved would change, with an overarching Board of Directors overseeing the strategy for the whole of the trust, all schools would still retain their unique characteristics and identity, with their own local governing bodies overseeing the operational running of their schools.

We hope you will agree that this is a very exciting new phase for BGS, and we are aware that there will no doubt be questions from you and the community wanting to better understand the implications of any potential change to our school and its students. With this in mind we will hold an academy/MAT information evening later this term (date to be confirmed), to talk through more of the details, as well as to answer any questions that you may have.

Luke Weston – Headteacher

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