Father Richard Peers, Director of Education has announced consultation on the possibility of establishing diocesan multi academy trusts. In his first key note address to the Headteachers’ and Chairs Conference Father Richard set out a series of recommendations from the Board which signal a significant shift in the Board’s policy.
Richard said “the educational landscape is constantly changing and we have a duty to respond accordingly. With our diocese now being one of the few that don’t have a multi-academy trust the time is right to look more proactively in this area.”
The consultation marks a significant change to the Board’s previously policy but it is one of the most relevant education topics at the moment. The government has raised the prospect of academisation and the board feels that a proactive stance is the way forward.
“I know this was the hot topic for consultation meetings during the summer term “ explains Richard “my initial meetings with heads and governors have seen this being set out as the issue to respond to so I am delighted that we have got a serious, sensible proposal to put to consulation.”
The Board is specifically consulting on
That the Board take a pro-active stance on academy formation, identifying a possible route for all schools
That the Board form a number (probably no more than three) of middle sized multi-academy trusts that will be full Diocesan MATs (this may be done using one or more of the existing trusts)
That the Board develop its school improvement and standards work to meet the needs of the current educational context
That a presumption be made in favour of all MATs being church majority/VA style trusts to allow the possibility for inclusion of VA schools at any point in the trust’s existence
That the name of trusts reflect explicitly the Christian character of the trust and not just by including ‘Church of England’ in the title
That the Board’s staff actively seek opportunities for expansion, by the opening of free schools, in line with the aspirations of the national Church of England Education Office
Richard says “church schools are important. Far more important than simply the quality education they provide. They are places of mission, where God’s voice and love can be heard and demonstrated to thousands of young people, their parents and carers and the wider community. We have a duty to preserve that and we believe that a pro-active stance on academies will secure a bright future for church schools. Ultimately it is about having excellent church schools making a bigger difference for the pupils and communities they serve. ”
The consultation period will run until November 30th and you can have your say by completing our simple online survey here
You can read the full paper here