Dear Parents / Carers,
You will have no doubt heard of the Government’s Academy programme and be wondering about Green Top’s thoughts on this matter. The governing body have been working on the academy agenda since 2015. Whilst many schools have since been placed in the hands of large academy chains, in order to secure the best possible future for our school myself and the governing body have been pro-actively involved in researching the options available to us.The governing body designated a working party to investigate all Academy routes and provide a recommendation to the Full Governing Body. The Governing body also asked for a Staff group to independently do the same. Both groups, after visiting different MATs, attending local, regional and national workshops, narrowed down the options and made their recommendations.
Please find below the ‘information for stakeholders booklet’ that the Governing body and myself have put together to explain the proposed recommendation that Green Top Primary School become the lead primary school within the XP Multi Academy Trust.
As well as producing this booklet we have arranged four events for stakeholders on March 7th 2017;
1.30 The School Council from Green Top will present to the children of Green Top and will take questions from the classes
3.00 We invite parents and carers to a meeting to ask questions and listen to the views from the Green Top Governing body, the staff working party, the Chief Executive of XP and myself. This event will be held in the school hall.
4.00 Staff members are invited to a meeting to ask questions and listen to the views from the Green Top Governing body, the staff working party, the Chief Executive of XP and myself. This event will be held in the school hall.
6.00 We invite parents and carers to a meeting to ask questions and listen to the views from the Green Top Governing body, the staff working party, the Chief Executive of XP and myself. This event will be held in the school hall.
Green Top becoming the Lead Primary School
in the XP Multi Academy Trust
Information for Stakeholders
What is an Academy?
Academies are publicly funded schools. Academies get money direct from the government, not the local council. They are run by an academy trust which employs the staff. All Secondary schools in Doncaster are Academies, with an ever increasing number of Primary schools across the region also becoming academies.
What is a Multi Academy Trust?
A multi-academy trust (MAT) is a single organisation established to improve and maintain high educational standards across a number of schools. The MAT has responsibility for their governance and is accountable for the performance of each school in the group.
Who is XP?
XP is an 11-19 mainstream secondary school in Doncaster, UK and is part of the XP Multi-Academy Trust. XP opened in September 2014 and is heavily influenced by the extremely successful practices of High Tech High and EL Education (Expeditionary Learning) schools, USA. They are a deliberately sized, personalised school of 350 students with 25 students in each class and two classes per year group. The school will roll out over seven years, starting with Year 7 in 2014, achieving full capacity in 2020.
What is the XP Multi Academy Trust?
XP Multi Academy Trust is a group of schools made of XP and XP East which will open in September 2017. They have approached Green Top to become their lead Primary school within their MAT. All schools within the MAT will work together to ensure a great education for all our children, with Green Top leading the MAT’s expansion of Primary schools within Doncaster.
Green Top have worked informally with XP on a number of successful projects to improve practice across both schools, such as enhancing our curriculum and XP’s approach to literacy.
There are also further links between the two schools, with a number of children leaving Green Top at the end of Year 6 to join XP and currently, both the XP School Trust’s CEO and Chair of Directors children attend Green Top.
Commonly Asked Questions and Our Answers
Why are you considering converting to an academy?
We believe this conversion will enable the school to enhance learning further. Academies do not have to follow the national curriculum as long as the curriculum remains ‘broad and balanced’. This will provide us with greater flexibility to determine what best suits our children. We believe working closer with XP, will support our staff with even better professional development, support us to create an even better curriculum and challenge the leadership to continue to improve the school further.
Why join XP?
We believe that the two organisations are ‘culturally aligned’, which will lead to a further improvement in teaching and learning and higher outcomes for our children at Green Top. As stated above, we have already worked collaboratively to improve both schools successfully. Also, being the lead Primary in the MAT will ensure Green Top has a strong influence over the expansion plans of the MAT.
Why not a local option for MAT?
We believe that schools need to be culturally aligned to ensure that learning of the children is maximised. Although we will continue to work with schools in our pyramid, we believe the XP model allows to work alongside establishments who look internationally at school improvement. Academy funding agreements state that they must ensure that the school will be at the heart of its community, collaborating and sharing facilities and expertise with other local schools and the wider community.
Will the school increase in size?
Green Top will continue to have a maximum of 60 children in every year group. We will review this figure in January 2018 but the view at the present time is that we do not want the school to be larger than it is now.
As an academy, will it still work with the local authority?
Academies are independent of the local authority. However, we wish to continue working with the LA, other local schools and local partners.
Will it bring the school more money? If so what will it be spent on?
Academies receive funding directly from central government instead of via the local authority. This will include money that would previously have been held back by the local authority. An academy may also accumulate funds from private sources should it choose to. All additional funds created will be targeted at children’s outcomes. With greater freedom to procure services from other providers and to realise cost efficiencies across the network, the academy will be able to make more efficient use of resources to support school improvement. SEN funding will come directly from the government through the Education Funding Agency. Funding allocated to a named child would continue to be funded directly by the local authority.
Will the uniform change?
No, we are very proud of our tradition and recent ownership of the school uniform and school colours.
What about admissions?
Academies are responsible for drawing up their own admissions criteria in line with the Admissions Code and SEN Code of Practice (the law). Academies are required to cater for children of all abilities. Admissions will continue to be run by the Local Authority, so the same rules and regulations will be in place.
Will the school change its name or logo?
Green Top will always be named so. It is the name the people of Thorne know us by, so we believe that this is the name that should be on our official paperwork. This means that on Ofsted reports for example we will no longer have Thorne Green Top Primary School as our name, simply just ‘Green Top’.
Will the curriculum change?
We will have more freedom to try different things in the curriculum and make sure that what is taught is relevant to our pupils and their specific needs. Our Thematic curriculum will continue, ensuring that children are inspired, challenged and have opportunities to collaborate.
Will my child get a place at XP?
The admissions to XP and XP East are selected randomly by the Local Authority. There are no plans as yet for this to change.
What do the staff think? How will they be affected?
The academy is responsible for agreeing levels of pay, conditions of service, staffing structures, career development and appraisal. However all existing staff transfer from the local authority under legislation known as TUPE regulations which will protect their current conditions. We are not planning on changing any of the staff’s pay and conditions. We will work with the LA to ensure staff feel well informed over the TUPE procedures.
What do the children think?
The school council have been part of this process. They have visited XP, worked the CEO of XP and myself to fully understand what we are trying to do. They feel excited and look forward to the different opportunities that this change will make. The rest of the school will be part of the consultation meetings in the coming weeks.
How would the governance change?
We will continue to have our own local governing body, this will include two parent representative and two staff representatives. The local governing body will continue to support and challenge the school on outcomes and procedures.
Further to this, XP have insisted that a number of existing Green Top governors be offered places on the MAT’s Board of Directors and Trust to ensure a strategic level of input.
Will the holiday pattern change?
The 2017/18 Holiday pattern set by the local authority will be followed next year. This will support parents who have already sorted their holidays. The training days for next year will be circulated in March. In the future we will review the holiday pattern and ensure learning is at the forefront of any decisions.