Please respond to our federation consultation using this link: https://forms.gle/WofMYjSYdtewZzJw7
Or by email to: email@example.com
Or in writing through the school office in a sealed envelope marked "FAO Clerk to the governors - Federation consultation"
Frequently Asked Questions (please click on the question to see the response):
A Federation is a formal agreement between two or more schools to work together on a permanent basis. The partnership has a Federated Board which is made up of representatives from both schools. Each of the schools in the Federation receives their own budget, receive separate Ofsted inspection reports and has separately published results. The uniqueness and individuality of each school is maintained.
This is not a proposal to create one school; the two schools would remain separate and retain their own unique identity, premises and school uniform.
It is possible for schools to withdraw from a federation and governing boards must follow a prescribed process, set out in The School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2012. Additional schools can join a federation and the prescribed process is also set out in The School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2012.
Following this consultation there isn’t an intention to grow further for at least 12 months to enable the federation to build on its strengths and develop the systems to support further school improvement.
Yes, it is possible for other schools to seek admission into the Federation but there are no plans to do this at present. If it were to happen, they would be required to conduct a statutory consultation process, and to gain approval from the Federation Governing Body.
Executive Headteachers provide strategic leadership across two or more schools; they are supported by leadership in each individual school in the federation.
The Executive Headteacher would have an overview of both schools and would be helping both to improve by working together to tackle shared priorities, addressing individual school priorities by benefitting from good practice in the partner school, streamlining practice, background management, and support functions to give a sharper focus on teaching and learning.
No. Staff will continue to be employed on the same conditions of service as defined by their current contracts. This means that, for example, all employment rights and pension arrangements will stay as they are now.
There may be opportunities for staff to work across both schools, and we believe this may open up opportunities for professional development. At present, each school loses teachers who are seeking to broaden their experience by working with older or younger children. As two federated schools we will be able to offer teachers the chance to work across the primary age range, and all teachers will be better placed to share good practice – something that is likely to have a positive impact on pupil outcomes. In the future, vacancies could be advertised as working across both schools, with new staff contracted to do so. However, existing members of staff cannot be directed to work in a school where they were not originally employed.
When anyone leaves, the Governing Body would review the situation and decide if that position needs to be replaced or if there is a possible different solution. Newly appointed staff could be appointed to work across the Federation i.e. could be expected to work in either or both schools if required. Recruitment of teaching staff and, in particular, headteachers is very difficult in small rural schools. A federation could be more appealing, and this could help recruitment.
No. The schools in the federation will collaborate and work together as equal partners. The executive headteacher will have a base at each school and spend time on each site.
No, although there are always risks with every decision made. There would certainly be an ongoing risk to the future of our two small schools if we decided to stay as individual small schools.
This Federation would bring the two schools together in a full and equal partnership, which will enable the schools to continue to grow stronger together.
The structure of the Federation will enable staff members’ time and the benefits delivered by the Federation to be appropriately focused across both schools according to the documented needs of pupils at any given point in time.
The single combined Governing Body has been structured to ensure each school’s interests will be fully and equally represented in terms of the strategic development of both schools. This will ensure that the plan for each school benefits from a wider knowledge and context.
Yes. The schools will retain their own individual names.
No. There are no plans to change the current uniform at either school.
No. At this time, we have no plans to change the start and finish times at either school. Consultation with parents, carers and staff is always required if start and finish times change.
The schools will continue to be inspected by Ofsted as separate schools.
Yes, the opportunities available to children would be greater. They would have greater access to both physical and teaching resources. There is a great deal of expertise across the two schools, so children would have more access to a variety of specialist teaching.
There are multiple benefits, including:
- A wider and richer curriculum through cross federation events including arts, sports and music
- Access to a wider range of skills and talents of staff
- Future appointments to school could bring some shared staff, including specialist teachers who could add to the strengths of the teams, better training and wider career opportunities (making our proposed Federation a more attractive proposition for talented and experienced teaching staff)
- Economies of scale, resulting in greater financial resilience
- Savings in planning and administration time
- Strengthened governance combining experience across schools
No. Federation is beneficial for small rural schools because it supports and helps small, distinctive institutions to be stronger together, and provides some benefits otherwise only feasible in larger schools. Each school would remain a part of its own community but with a closer relationship, both pupils and communities stand to benefit.
There will be a Federation Governing Board which will retain strategic oversight over the federation and shape the direction of the federation going forwards.
Were the federation to be established then the Federation Governing Board would consist of:
2 Parent Governors
1 Local Authority Governor
1 Staff Governor
2 Foundation Governors
Up to 6 Co-opted Governors
Sharing an executive headteacher should improve the sustainability and viability of both schools. The Federation Governing Body will also be able to look at ways of getting value for money through joint purchasing, service provision or future cross-federation working.
There is no cost to join a federation. However, as the federation develops its shared support for schools then there will be costs that will be apportioned across every school in the federation, but all schools will also benefit from that support.
Many federations find over time that savings can be made such as through commissioned joint training across schools or shared service level agreements.
NCC will remain as the Admissions Authority and the admissions arrangements for each school will remain quite separate.
Both schools will continue to operate as usual, and parents/carers will continue to receive the same high level of provision and support. It is anticipated that as the schools co-operate more closely and share good practice there will be greater opportunity for shared learning which in turn will help all pupils.
This, together with the retention of quality staff, greater staff development and progression opportunities will ensure a continued high standard of education for the pupils in all of the schools in the federation.
The day-to-day contact arrangements between the schools and parents/carers will not be changed by the federation, but we will continue to seek ways to improve what we do. If you have queries about your child’s education, then you will speak to the same staff members after federating as you do now.
The news talks about the government wanting all schools to become academies. What is the difference, and should we not be looking at academising?
When discussing federating each Governing Board also considered the merits of academisation.
At this stage we feel federating is the better choice. It brings with it the benefits of building resilience and capacity by joining together and sharing leadership and good practice. It doesn’t however bring further change in staff contracts for example which is important given all that staff have been through during the pandemic.
A school that joins a federation remains a local authority-maintained school. A federated school can withdraw from a federation by following a prescribed process.
A school that joins an Academy Trust can’t go back to becoming a local authority-maintained school. Academy schools are funded directly by the Education Standards Funding Agency (a part of the Department for Education). A federation school continues to be funded via the local authority.