What Relationship do Southmoor and Sandhill View have?
As an Academy with a strong track record and successful inspection reports, Southmoor has been recognised by the Department for Education as a preferred sponsor of Sandhill View School. This means that Sandhill View could convert to become an Academy and be part of Southmoor’s Multi Academy Trust.
What is a Multi-Academy Trust?
A Multi Academy Trust (MAT) is a group of academies that are controlled by a single academy trust. MATs can create and delegate decision-making powers to local governing bodies or set up advisory boards where academies require additional support.
Will the two schools lose their identities and independence then?
Both schools will retain their names, pupils and unique identities, but will benefit from the partnership by utilising the strengths of each individual school. There will also be an overarching board of directors which has responsibility for all academies operated by the MAT. The composition of the Board will be approved by the Department for Education.
Southmoor will continue to have the support and guidance of a governing body and Sandhill View will benefit from an advisory board, which in time, as the school improves, will become a Local Governing Body.
What are the advantages?
Multi Academy Trusts can pool resources to the benefit of all. Economies of scale, which can come from effective management of larger organisations, can benefit all pupils by providing more resources for learning. There can also be greater opportunities and progression routes for employees which can both help retain and recruit the best staff.
Is this going to happen?
The governors of Southmoor have agreed to look into the possibility of this happening. In so doing a careful process of ‘due diligence’ is being carried out, which looks at whether it is both possible and a good thing to do.
When could it happen?
This depends on how quickly Southmoor governors can be provided with all the necessary information in order to make an informed decision. At present the Department of Education have asked for June 2015 to be the point where the Multi Academy Trust could be formed.
What is already happening?
There are regular project meetings which involve the DfE and staff / governors from both Sandhill View and Southmoor. These meetings look at progress made by legal and finance teams to provide the necessary detail for final decisions to be made. The Local Authority also work closely with all organisations concerned.
How can you find out more about Multi-Academy Trusts?
The Department of Education website is a very good source of information relating to academies www.education.gov.uk/academies. Alternatively please contact either Southmoor Academy or Sandhill View School directly where the principal or chairs of governors would be happy to help.
I am delighted to say that Dr Phil Ingram has taken up the post. Dr Ingram is a vastly experienced and award-winning head teacher who arrives at Sandhill View having led two previous schools. In both his previous headships he oversaw huge rises in examination results as well as a host of other very positive changes.
Dr Ingram has recently led Southmoor Academy though a range of challenges including two successful Ofsted inspections, academy conversion and the opening of a Sixth Form.
We feel very fortunate to welcome him to Sandhill View, especially as his appointment opens the way for our school to benefit from the experience of many other skilled staff at Southmoor. Both schools are now working very closely together to achieve positive results for all.
You may of course realise that recent examination results at Sandhill View have been disappointing and this has been reflected in an unfavourable Ofsted Inspection. That is why governors have acted decisively to bring in a proven force in successful school leadership and we expect Dr Ingram to be making big positive changes quickly in the coming months.