'Leaders, staff and governors are strongly committed to pupils' safety and well-being.'
'Staff are united in their committment and ambition for all pupils to do their best.'
Ofsted May 2017
Abbots Way, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 2ES.
Telephone: 01782 694580

Academy Conversion

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Dear Parents / Carers,

ACADEMY CONVERSION / MULTI ACADEMY TRUST

Friarswood Primary School is currently a Local Authority Maintained school. Over a number of years, the Governing Body have been thinking about and discussing the benefits of conversion to Academy status.

We now believe that not only is it the right time to convert the school’s status, it is indeed necessary in order to safeguard the identity and ethos of the school. Due to the political agenda, that it is preferred that all schools will become an academy, and with the changing role of the local authority we feel that we need to take action now in order to allow us to be in control of the future of the school.

As an Academy our funding would change slightly as it would come directly from the DfE rather than the Local Authority. We would join over 5000 other schools that have successfully converted and be in a better position to manage the school in the way we want and the way we need to in order to continue providing a high quality education with the absolute best value-added learning experiences possible. Equally as important to consider is the real risk of not converting and being ultimately forced to join another Academy chain or Multi Academy Trust (MAT); one who more than likely does not share our values and ethos.

For many months now, our Governing Body has been discussing how Friarswood Primary School can ensure that it retains and secures its current ethos and individual nature as we move into the future. It has considered all options very carefully, taking into account both national and local educational issues. As a result, Governors have taken the decision to consult with parents, staff and pupils on whether Friarswood should become a ‘Sponsored Academy.’

As you will be aware from previous letters, the Governors considered joining ConcertEd Academies Trust.  After many meetings and discussions regarding joining the existing Multi Academy Trust, the Governors have decided that this option is no longer viable.  Having held further meetings to discuss the benefits and downfalls of various other sponsors of MATs, the Governing Body have decided that their preferred sponsor is The Coop Academies Trust. 

The Coop Academies Trust is committed to the co-operative values and principles.  Their values marry up perfectly to our own STAR values and the ethos at Friarswood. 

Even though Friarswood Primary will be part of The Coop Acadmies Trust, this does not mean that we will no longer be working in partnership with other schools in our local area.  Our partnership working is ongoing and will remain to be a high priority to enable the best opportunities and transitions for our children.  This is something which The Coop Academies Trust encourages.  Being part of this trust also gives us the opportunity to benefit from good practice nationally as well as locally. We firmly believe that our proposed sponsors have the best interests at heart for the children and the school.

Leaders and Governors at Friarswood Primary have always strongly held and share the view that our school must retain our own unique identity within any partnership we belong to.

  • Each school retains its own unique identity.
  • Staffing will stay the same
  • Each school retains its own governing body
  • Each school retains control on how the individual school’s money is spent for its own children
  • Each school retains control over its curriculum
  • Each school retains its own leadership (no executive head/ lead school)
  • All schools working collaboratively, not competitively.
  • The chance to develop learning opportunities for the children with educational consultants
  • Improved standards for children
  • Financial benefits through working with other schools
  • Opportunities for teachers and other staff to receive high quality training and support

Part of the Academy conversion process is for us to consult with you as parents. We want to hear your suggestions and opinions. Please find attached a Frequently Asked Questions document. Please can I ask you to read this and also refer you to www.gov.uk/government/policies/academies-and-free-schools for further information. Please note that this letter and the FAQs will also be put on to the school website at www.friarswoodprimary.co.uk.  If you want to comment please write to the school marked ‘Academy Consultation’ as soon as possible, consultation closes at 12pm on Monday 26th February 2018.  There will be a consultation meeting on Tuesday 27th February 2018 at 4:30pm where Mark Williams, Education Director at The Coop Academies Trust will be present.

In order to ensure that Friarswood Primary School continues with its current ethos and is able to remain as a community school for all of our children both now and in the future, the Leaders and Governors firmly believe that conversion to Academy status as part of The Coop Academies Trust represents the best course of action for our school.

To view frequently asked questions please click here.

Yours sincerely

Friarswood Governing Body and Mrs Wilmer