We are in the process of applying to form a multi-academy trust (January 2021) of four secondary schools serving four of the communities of Tameside and over 3000 children and young people. Our academies are partnered currently with eleven local primary schools and we intend to grow this model.
Subject to initial approval, this process will soon include statutory consultation with parents and staff and internal consultation with our many children and young people.
Our mission – if the consultation proves to be positive - is to lead educational excellence in a family of great schools in which to learn, teach and belong. Ours are to be high performing academies which maximise student achievement, develop character, value diversity and promote tolerance. We will ensure that Trust students have high aspirations, realised through our collective endeavour. Our students will learn together in happy and orderly communities across the towns.
For further details of the process, please read our update which began on the 17th January, at the bottom of this page.*
We will create great schools in which to learn, teach and belong. Our family of community-based schools share the same four educational purposes, promoted and supported by our sponsor.
1 , Our Trust will host a family of great community-based schools in which to learn, teach and belong.
2 . Our Trust will become known for imbuing in our learners positive character traits and enquiring minds and for the talent and professionalism of our staff.
3 . Through a cycle of creative self and peer improvement, any school with us for three years or more will be in the top 25% of similar schools nationally for the academic progress of its learners.
4 . Students in our Trust will receive a distinctive trust-wide community and educational dividend (in the arts, sport and sciences, where significant additional opportunities will be made available to them in one or more of these disciplines).
This is a very exciting time for the development of schools in Tameside. Our proposed multi-academy trust is in the process of development for a January 2021 launch. As part of that process there will be a full consultation with students, parents and staff, where all with have the opportunity to help forge a strong Trust identity, consider the benefits for our schools and communities of working and sharing together and assuage any concerns that may arise in the meantime. Please read later our January 2020 update on our planning and statutory consultation*.
Right now, our three applications are waiting for the approval of the Regional Schools’ Commission in the North West which is acting on behalf of the Department for Education and in communication with our Local Authority. We have been sharing our plans with the Assistant Director at the Local Authority with responsibility for Educational Quality in the Borough.
In the future, this section of our website will feature a short-film on what it means to attend, learn or work in the Tame River Educational Trust.
In our Trust each school’s headteacher will be empowered to lead her/his school to improve the life-chances of the students in her or his charge, supported by a Trust Executive Headteacher (who will also lead one of the schools) and a Chief Executive Officer who will lead improvement, innovation and educational impact. Between them, they will maintain and further enrich the distinctive place of each school in the heart of its community but align in key educational and leadership areas where the schools will be stronger together.
There will be three levels of governance, accountable not only to the Department for Education but for the schools and communities they serve. They will hold the CEO and headteachers to account and ensure that the Trust operates as a charity and a limited company should do.
The members will meet twice a year. They will set the overall purpose, ethos and strategic direction of the Trust, making key appointments to ensure each of these is upheld. The Trust will not be able expand without their approval.
The Trust Board will be made up of committed and values-driven volunteers with considerable leadership, educational and business expertise, and will meet four times per year. It will form the board of directors of the charity, over-seeing the day-to-day running of the Trust. The board will be assisted by two committees: the Audit Committee (which will check that the Trust complies with all relevant legal obligations and regulations, both operationally and financially) and the Talent and Human Resources Committee (which will work with schools to recruit, train, develop and retain the very best teachers, support staff and leaders).
Local Governing Bodies will meet around six times a year, and will study the performance of each school in detail, holding the headteachers to account for the performance and culture of their school. They will make recommendations to the Trust Board as appropriate.
The Trust scheme of delegation and register of interests will be available in our Trust ‘on-line’ library, if consultation and RSC approval should follow. There will be a very clear and rigorous Governor Code of Conduct, again available in our library.
Our multi-academy trust planning and consultation
Alder Community High School, Mossley Hollins High School, Droylsden Academy and Hyde High School have jointly submitted three application forms to the Department for Education and the Regional Schools’ Commission in December 2019:
Application 1: for the 3 maintained schools to apply to become academies subject to a statutory consultation;
Applications 2 & 3: for the schools to come together to form a brand new sponsored (by Tameside College/Clarendon VI Form, as Droylsden Academy is now) Multi-Academy Trust, to be named the Tame River Educational Trust.
Our proposed launch-date is January 2021 should consultation make that possible. There is a long way to go before then, not least a statutory consultation process with parents and staff (which will not begin until we hear back from the RSC and only if their response is positive) and due diligence. We have not yet received any feedback on our applications but are aware that since three of the schools have buildings and facilities’ management that are part of Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) there may well be significant complications. We would need the support of the LA and the DfE.
It is by no means certain that we will be successful but it is important to keep all parents, staff, partners (such as the MCSP primary partners) & key stakeholders abreast of this milestone in our planned journey towards our preferred MAT. The systematic and hugely significant removal of funding to Local Authorities since 2010 (with no apparent prospect of it returning) and the associated significant loss of school improvement and support functions from the LAs through no fault of their own, has meant that – in England today – almost 75% of all secondary schools in the country are academies. We intend to take control of the situation for our four schools and get the best out of forging a more formal and legal partnership together to make us stronger. Depending on the outcome from the Department for Education, we will soon began a formal statutory consultation process with parents and staff. We will also involve students.
We have an exciting vision for the potential of the MAT to bring a significant educational and cultural dividend to each school and each school community and have already undertaken significant planning work with the support of each school’s Governing Body, Headteacher, SLT, staff and from the sponsor itself. We have a carefully selected shadow Trust Member Group and Trust Board ready to lead and to support each school’s Local Governing Body, should the MAT plans come to fruition. The proposed MAT has a MAT implementation plan in operation to guide us towards the launch should consultation permit and we will write a MAT Improvement Plan subject to final approval from the DfE, RSC, LA and a favourable outcome from the statutory consultation. In essence, then, there’s much still to cover and on which to consult.
At present we have a clear vision document and outline model for what we are calling aligned autonomy (where we protect the separate identity and rich distinctiveness of each school at the heart of its community whilst collaborating on common themes and approaches, where appropriate) and schools’ improvement.
Great schools in which to learn teach and belong
In the Tame River Educational Trust our family of community-based schools share the same 4 educational purposes, promoted and supported by each school and our sponsor. Please see the top of this page for details.
We will present more information on our progress and work together as it becomes available. We are determined that our MAT will be distinctive and special, protecting the autonomy and rich distinctiveness of each school and community in fundamental respects but aligning through our jointly constructed and fully agreed Scheme of Delegation on common practices in other key areas where this is seen as best practice. Should the application and consultation prove successful, there will be a rich MAT offer for students in terms of learning, achievement, character, personal development and wider curricular opportunities and for our staff in a bespoke training and development programme from initial teacher trainee to expert teacher and from teacher and support staff member to leader and manager.
We will keep you posted. We would encourage you to chat to your own school about anything at all in relation to our plans, in the meantime, even before any statutory consultation with you begins. Should we be given approval to move to formal consultation we will share anything that is required by our students, staff, parents and partners. Please watch this space.