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Collaborations, Federations, Trusts and Academies. What does it all mean?. A game of two halves. Collaboration Federation Partnership. Trusts Academies: Sponsored Converter Chains Free schools. Useful sources of information. National College

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a game of two halves
A game of two halves
  • Collaboration
  • Federation
  • Partnership
  • Trusts
  • Academies:
  • Sponsored
  • Converter
  • Chains
  • Free schools

useful sources of information
Useful sources of information
  • National College
  • New models of school leadership and organisation
  • Toolkit
  • NGA
  • Academies Q&A
  • DfE
  • Academies toolkit etc
  • Academies toolkit

the muddle in the middle
The muddle in the middle
  • LAs declining – year on year budget cuts; focus on weakest schools
  • Local collaborative arrangements – education trusts, federations, partnerships
  • More Academies and Free schools outside LA control – responsible to Sec of State
  • Four new executive agencies responsible for key delivery functions: Standards & Testing Agency; Teaching Agency; National College; Education Funding Agency
  • Academy chains growing varied approaches
  • Private companies providing services – for and not for profit
  • For profit companies running schools – Social Enterprise schools?

a new local authority
A new Local Authority?



Hard Federations


Through Schools


Free schools



Community & VA

the collaboration continuum
The collaboration continuum

  • Federation: a formal arrangement where schools (of any size or type) come together to share a single governing body
  • Each school retains its own legal status, character, budget and performance tables and will have separate Ofsted inspections. Admissions processes do not change
  • Individual GBs are dissolved and a new instrument of governance establishes a single federated governing body in their place
  • Success depends on schools being sited within reasonable distance of each other
  • Federations can ease financial pressure within schools because resources can be shared and deployed across the federation
  • Typically one head teacher acts as an “Executive Headteacher” for two or more schools forming the partnership, and operates a system of devolved leadership and management to others who work collaboratively for the good of all
  • Formal consultation is required and statutory procedures must be followed


Leadership team

One GB

Executive head

Short Heath Federation

Mixed community and VC model

  • Collaboration: the GBs of groups of maintained schools meet or set up joint committees, including strategic committees, with delegated powers from the school’s individual GBs
  • The GBs may delegate any or all of their power to a joint committee but retain legal responsibility and corporate liability for all decisions taken on their behalf
  • Formal Collaborationshave a legal basis in terms of shared staff contracts, shared (executive) Headteacher, or facilities
  • Federations and Trusts are examples of formal collaborations

willingdon collaboration

One 11-18 Secondary School with two Primary Schools

Partnerships with other family Primary Schools outside the Collaboration

Headteacher in each school

Willingdon Collaboration


Breakfast club

  • Partnerships (less formal collaborations) provide schools with the potential to develop:
  • Networks for personal support
  • Shared expertise and resources
  • Shared services
  • Joint professional development
  • Joint pupil activities
  • Informal collaborations may be the basis for a more formal arrangement at a later stage.

pick and mix
Pick and mix
  • Mixed Federations, Collaborations and Partnerships
  • Schools can be part of a Federation as well as part of a wider collaboration or partnership
  • Not likely to be a single Headteacher, but will probably incorporate a variety of leadership models
  • Being part of a Federation does not preclude collaborative or partnership working with schools outside of the Federation

ofsted on federations
Ofsted on Federations
  • Leadership of more than one school: an evaluation of the impact of federated schools (Ofsted Sept 2011)
  • Schools embarking on federation should:
  • ensure that the strategic purpose of federation and the subsequent planning to achieve it are sharply focused on the benefits to pupils’ education
  • make sure that governing bodies establish rigorous procedures to hold leaders to account for their work that go beyond the initial steps taken to establish the federation
  • consult and communicate effectively with parents, staff, pupils and the community at the earliest stage when considering federation so that barriers that may arise as a result of concern about change are avoided.

key findings
Key findings
  • Teaching and learning, achievement and behaviour had improved in all 10 of the federations visited where schools previously judged by inspection to be weak had been federated with a more successful school. In all cases, a single system of assessing and tracking pupil progress was used in these federations.
  • One major advantage of federation governance was the improvement in the governance of weaker schools as a result of having shared arrangements.
  • In 11 of the 13 federations where schools had federated to protect the quality of education, pupils were now enjoying an enriched curriculum and a greater range of opportunities and extra-curricular activities.

key findings 2
Key findings 2
  • In eight of the 13 cases there was greater capacity to meet pupils’ needs flexibly and swiftly. More effective pooling of resources and expertise and central coordination by a single SENCO
  • Academic transition was greatly enhanced by a common approach to teaching, learning and assessment between schools.
  • Effective leadership was critical to their success in building good capacity for sustained improvement. There was no evidence to suggest that any particular leadership structure across the federated schools was more effective than any other.

key findings 3
Key findings 3
  • The impact of governance was varied.
  • The biggest potential barrier to federation resulted from concerns from parents, pupils and staff about what the changes would mean to them.
  • In 17 of the federations, the local authority facilitated the process of federation effectively, particularly during the early stages where it provided valuable expertise and guidance.
  • In six more federations the local authority had been the driving force behind persuading governing bodies and headteachers to embark on federation.

benefits of collaboration
Benefits of collaboration
  • Upholds the principles of inclusion
  • Solves problem of unsustainability of single head for every school, however small
  • Encourages alternative, more innovative models of leadership - devolved, collaborative within and beyond the organisations, and extends its influence beyond that of improving the school to wider community issues

for pupils and staff
For pupils and staff
  • Improved provision for pupils:
  • wider resources and facilities
  • a greater range of expertise
  • more appropriate extended services
  • more focused support at the points of transition
  • Opportunities for staff development:
  • observe excellent practice
  • share expertise across a range of subjects
  • gain valuable experience within the larger organisation

for leadership and management
For Leadership and management
  • Management functions can be simplified, avoiding duplication of effort
  • Opportunity to be more flexible or creative with the L&M structures
  • Financial benefits through enhanced purchasing power when letting contracts or buying resources; negotiate shared service agreements
  • Additional costs can include transport between sites

  • What’s your school’s position on collaboration at the moment?
  • What might your preferred situation be in the future?
  • What would you need to do to get there?
  • Who would be your main collaborators?
  • If you’re not thinking of collaboration now, what might encourage you to do so?

  • A Trust is a state funded Foundation School supported by a charitable trust made up of the school and its partners (such as local businesses, university or community groups)
  • Existing foundation schools can set up a charitable trust
  • Community schools can take on foundation status and set up a trust within a single process
  • Schools can set up a trust in a collaborative group whereby the schools acquire foundation status and adopt the same trust
  • Trust schools remain local authority maintained schools

bridgwater education trust
Bridgwater education trust

bridgwater education trust23
Bridgwater education trust
  • Each school changed status from community to foundation. This means that the Bridgwater schools now have agreed to take back some of the responsibilities previously held by Somerset County Council
  • The Trust is responsible for the land and the recruiting of Foundation Governors. The Trust schools manage their own assets, employ their own staff, set their own admissions arrangements within the statutory Admissions Code and choose which partners to work with
  • Trust facilitates and promotes collaboration between the schools and supports development work to promote school improvements across Bridgwater
  • This formalised collaborative approach enables a diverse curriculum to be agreed across the town, and should result in greater opportunities for students




not necessarily serve areas of high deprivation

not required to have an external sponsor (the academy trust delegates management of the school to the GB) but may do so

not required to establish an endowment fund

not be subject to routine school inspection by Ofsted (if they are rated as ‘outstanding’)

convert in a shorter timescale (typically less than one year)

receive project start-up funding of around £25,000 from the DfE

expected to support another school or schools

  • Originally set up under Labour government – all were “failing” schools
  • free from local authority control
  • led by sponsors from a wide range of backgrounds (eg, business and voluntary sector)
  • free (within certain limits) to adapt the national curriculum to suit the needs of their pupils
  • set their own pay and conditions for staff
  • change the duration of terms and school days
  • generously funded, often including new buildings (pre-Coalition gov’t)
who can convert
Who can convert?
  • The Academies Act provided the legislative framework to enable most schools in England to have the freedom to become an academy, including:
  • Schools assessed by Ofsted as “outstanding” or ‘good with outstanding features’
  • Other schools, including special and primary schools, can apply in partnership with an existing academy or join an existing academy trust with a proven record of school improvement
  • Schools compelled to become academies by the secretary of state
  • These are known as converter academies, some of which can also be sponsored academies if a sponsor is involved.

academy chains
Academy chains
  • Partnership between academies that have made a commitment to support each other and raise educational standards across the partnership
  • Vary in their size and composition
  • Can be formalised partnerships where academies share resources and staff as part of a shared trust or they can be informal arrangements for supporting and sharing best practice solutions with other academies in the area
  • Chain models include multi-academy trusts, umbrella trusts and collaborative partnerships. There are several chains, including ARK, Harris and React

free schools
Free schools
  • Free Schools are all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to parental demand
  • Can be set up by a wide range of proposers, including charities, universities, businesses, educational groups, teachers and groups of parents
  • Have the same legal requirements as academies

some questions for discussion
Some questions for discussion
  • Where are you now in consideration of Academy status?
  • What appeals to you about Academy status?
  • What puts you off?
  • What questions remain unanswered?
  • If you’ve become an Academy, what lessons did you learn?