Holy Trinity Multi Academy Company
Blessed Mother Teresa's Catholic Primary School became an Academy on 1st March 2016 and is now part of The Holy Trinity Multi Academy Company along with 7 other Catholic schools within Stafford, Brewood and Stone.
- Blessed William Howard High School
- St Anne's Catholic Primary School
- St Austin's Catholic Primary School
- St Dominic's Catholic Primary School
- St John's Catholic Primary School
- St Mary's Catholic Primary School
- St Patrick's Catholic Primary School
Academy Information for Parents Link to previous documents/letters
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is an Academy?
An Academy is an Independent State School. This means that all Academies are still schools, i.e. they still exist to provide education to pupils. It also means that Academies are Independent, not of Government control, but of Local Authority control. Instead Academies are accountable to the Department for Education for providing high quality education, and ultimately to the Secretary of State for Education.
Would our school lose its identity, ethos and traditions?
No. Each school will retain its own individual identity whilst being part of a Catholic Multi-Academy Trust and thus benefiting from the mutual support for the ethos and traditions of Catholic education.
Would the name of the school change?
The term “school” would be replaced with the term “Academy” so they will become known as Catholic Voluntary Academies rather than Catholic Voluntary Aided Schools. The name chosen by the Governing body is, ‘The Holy Trinity Academy’ and the motto is to be, ‘Together in Faith, Together in Love and Together in Christ.’ Each school will retain its own name and identity under the umbrella of the new academy.
Does this mean that we would need to buy a new uniform?
No. Any changes to the uniform would have to be proposed to, consulted upon, and then approved by the Governing Bodies of the individual schools.
Do you intend to change the school curriculum?
Our schools would continue to offer a broad and balanced curriculum, however, an Academy is not bound by the prescriptions of the national curriculum and Governors are conscious that this freedom could offer an additional safeguard from an increasing secular agenda which may not accord with Catholic teaching.
Do you intend to alter the length of terms or the school day?
No. There is no plan to change the length of terms or change the timing of the school day in the first instance; however, some alternations may be made in the future to accommodate shared staff training.
Does this mean that children at St Anne’s, St Austin’s, St Dominic’s, Stone, St Mary’s, Brewood, St John’s Great Haywood St Patrick’s and Blessed Mother Teresa’s would automatically transfer to Blessed William Howard and pupils from other primary schools will be disadvantaged?
No. The Governors of Blessed William Howard will continue to be their own admissions authority and places will be allocated according to their published admissions policy. The admissions policy will be in line with the code of practice.
Does the formation of a Catholic Multi-Academy Company (CMAC) mean that only Catholic children will be admitted into the schools?
No. Although the CMAC is designed to support Catholic education, all the schools in the Company welcome applications for children of other Christian traditions, other faiths or no religion.
Who would run the CMAC, what would the Governance arrangements be and would there be representation from each school on the Governing Body?
The Company will be a legal entity registered at Companies House. It will have an overarching Board of Directors. However, each Academy within the Company will retain its own local governing body and will be represented on the Board of Directors by its Chair of Governors and Head Teacher. In addition, two elected parent Governors from across the Academies in the Company are required to serve on the Board of Directors. The Bishop will also appoint “Foundation Directors”, in the same way he appoints Foundation Governors at the moment. The Board will delegate via a Scheme of Delegation certain functions to the Local Governing Body and Head Teachers of each school.
The Company Board of Directors will be responsible for:
- Ensuring that each Academy in the Company follows the national codes for appeals, admissions and special needs.
- Managing any shared projects that develop across the Company
- Authorising the annual statutory accounts that must be submitted to Companies House.
The individual Academy Governing Bodies will:
- retain responsibility for the day to day management of their Academy
- Deal with the recruitment of staff
- retain responsibility for curriculum planning
- be responsible for admissions
What is the relationship between the Multi-Academy Company Board and the individual school governing bodies: who tells who what to do?
In the model documents much of the decision making is delegated to the Academy Local Governing Body. The Company will have the statutory duties on standards and finance. However, if an Academy finds itself in difficulty the Trust Board can take back or reduce the decision making powers. The strength of our schools is that they are all distinctive and rooted in their local parish communities. All decisions should be made as close to grass roots as good governance allows.
What about Ofsted?
Academies are still subject to Diocesan Section 48 and Ofsted inspections, and will remain accountable to the Diocese and to the Secretary of State for Education. The Trust Executive Committee will receive regular reports from each of the Academies on attainment and financial management.
How will this affect budgets?
Each Academy within the Company will receive its own funding and is responsible for managing its own budget and maintaining its own financial health, however the Board may also seek agreement from all of the schools to share certain services and costs which will in turn free up funding in individual academies. The Board will retain oversight and accountability of all the funding that comes into the CMAC. The funding for maintained schools is routed through Local Authorities who “top slice” the funding to construct and deliver a set of support services across all their maintained schools. The funding for Academies comes straight to them so the Academies themselves will be able to decide which of the support services they commission and where from.
Receiving funding directly from the DfE would mean that all eight schools could receive additional funding called the Education Services Grant. There are some services that we will may buy back from the authority out of this additional funding, however, the remaining additional resources would provide the Governing Bodies with an opportunity to prioritise spending for each individual school.
In addition, the CMAC model will enable our schools to share resources and services more effectively and to provide consistent and continuous support for young people in keeping with our ethos, mission and vision.
Is the real reason for this to save money?
No. The only reason for converting to a multi-academy company is to preserve the highest quality Catholic education in Stafford; however there are potential savings and it is expected that additional funds for the schools will be available after the conversion.
What will change?
There will be very little change to the way the schools are run on a daily basis. However, the increase in revenue will enable us to maintain, and improve our high standards. Under the Diocesan model, governance of our schools would remain largely unchanged as the majority of governors would be appointed by the Diocese and there would be staff and parent governors as now. The only difference would be the establishment of an overarching Multi-Academy Company Board.
A number of other elements would remain unchanged. An Academy would still be bound by the statutory codes for Special Educational Needs and Admissions.
Why not wait until all schools are forced to become academies?
It is the Government’s vision that the majority of schools in England will over time convert to Academy status and will cease to be “maintained” by their Local Authority. Local Authorities are adapting to this new climate by selling services in packages. So even remaining as we are, a Voluntary Aided (VA) school under the Local Authority, the future would look different than it does today.
What is the process of change?
The process of becoming an academy is comparatively straightforward taking up to 6 months. The stages in the process are:
- Applying to the Birmingham Diocese for permission to proceed, this has been granted.
- Registration of interest with the Department for Education
- Consultation with all those with an interest in the school, but particularly parents, staff, unions, the parish, wider local communities and other linked organisations.
- Consideration by each school’s Full Governing Body, who will determine if they wish to take the next step of seeking Diocesan permission to apply to the DfE for an Academy Order.
Application to the Diocesan for permission to convert to an Academy
If this is successful the Governing Body applies to the DfE for an Academy Order. At this point each school will name each of the other schools who are to be part of the CMAC. This is the most complex and demanding part of the process as during the application stage legal work will be undertaken to establish land ownership and transfer information and to ensure continuity of service provision for HR, payroll, etc.
- Completion will take place approximately one month prior to the establishment of the Company when the final legal documents and the funding agreement will be signed.
Once the conversion process has started can the school pull out?
The Governing Body of each school can call a halt to the conversion after the consultation period, prior to applying for the Academy Order or before the signing of the academy funding agreement. A school that chooses not to convert would remain as a Voluntary Aided school, however, they could also decide to delay conversion and join the multi-academy company as an academy at a later date.
We hope this answers many of your questions, if you have any others please don't hesitate to contact us at school