Academies are classed as independent state schools that have the freedom to determine their own policies on such things as the curriculum taught, school hours, term dates and staff pay. They are accountable to the Secretary of State.
Academies are supported by their own Academy Trust, i.e. Watergrove Trust, and are not the responsibility of the local council. Academies are given directly the money what would have been given to the council so they can choose how to spend the money in a way that will benefit them the most.
Governance and headteachers have control of their school agendas. Priorities are focused upon the needs of the pupils. Staff and governors have a voice within a partnership that listens. All partners contribute to setting the direction of the Trust. Partners are’ talked to’ and not ‘talked at’.
Staff well-being, professional development, strong links with the local professional associations are important to us.
Individual school autonomy is central to our vision, enabling schools the freedom to focus on children whist the small Trust central team provides the peripheral support.
We are a group of schools who look after each other to ensure our limited resources are not wasted but are focused upon opportunities and high quality experiences for children.
Based upon our experiences, the changes were as follows:-
Flexibility regarding the curriculum model.
Greater opportunities to support community initiatives.
Greater governing body effectiveness and accountability.
Control over resources and premises.
Additional funding to reinvest into the school.
We would hope that for schools joining the Trust, they too would benefit from these changes.
What would not change when joining the Watergrove Trust:
The name of the school.
Changes to staff pay and conditions.
Any financial surplus.
Effective local leadership and governance.
The advantages of joining the Watergrove Trust are outlined on the ‘benefits of joining’ page. We believe that working within a partnership of schools brings with it the additional support that comes from economies of scale, the sharing of resources, shared expertise and shared professional development.
The biggest change to the school is that it frees up time and enables the governors, school leadership and staff to focus exclusively upon the education of their children thereby maximising the opportunities for them to make good progress.