Consultation to Convert to Academy Status
As I am sure you are aware, schools are increasing working together in an effort to improve outcomes for pupils, respond to budgetary challenges and provide much needed services for the children entrusted to our care.
For the past four years the Diocesan Education Service has been working closely with the Diocesan Academies Partnership Committee and Bishop Richard, in order to develop a coherent model of Catholic Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) across the Diocese consisting of two cross-phase Catholic MATs. Xavier Catholic Education Trust was formed in September 2016 to serve Catholic schools in Surrey and Bosco Catholic Education Trust was formed in April 2017, to serve Catholic schools in Sussex. The aim is to cement and to develop relationships between schools, facilitate collaboration, provide services which may previously have been lost through funding constraints and to continue to raise standards.
After careful consideration and preliminary discussion with the Diocese, the Governing Body of St Richard’s Catholic Primary School has decided that they wish to explore conversion to Academy status and join Bosco Catholic Education Trust.
What is an Academy?
Academies are publicly funded state schools that are independent of the Local Authority and receive funding directly from central government. St Richard’s will still be a Catholic School under the authority of the Bishop of Arundel & Brighton and its religious designation will not change.
Why is this being considered?
As a successful Voluntary Aided School, gaining Academy status would give us the autonomy to continue to develop our school and to continue to achieve high standards. As a multi-academy trust, there will be greater opportunities for working more closely with other Catholic schools in Sussex and the wider community of schools.
What are the advantages of conversion?
The Government is clear that the greater freedoms enjoyed by Academies are designed to allow schools to develop and to build on individual strengths in response to the needs of the community. In addition, we believe that formal partnership as a Catholic Education Trust (CET) has a number of benefits for all schools. The CET will:
What are the benefits to the community?
By working together collaboratively, the schools will be better placed to support the work of the parishes within Sussex. The development of the CET will also give strength to the Catholic voice and viewpoint within local communities and the education sector. By supporting each other in the promotion of gospel values we will develop a future generation that demonstrates these values in their everyday lives.
What are the disadvantages of conversion?
Greater freedoms do bring additional responsibilities including statutory duties as an academy trust company, but the school is confident that, with the support of Bosco CET, we can manage these.
Will any changes to the School be made as a result of conversion?
We do not intend to make any changes to the school as a result of the conversion, apart from taking advantage of the opportunities outlined above to work more closely with other schools in the CET. Please be assured that the Catholic character, ethos and values of the school would remain unchanged, should the Academy conversion take place. Indeed, we anticipate that this opportunity to work even more closely together within a supportive Catholic Education Trust would further strengthen and support the ethos and traditions of St Richard’s.
How to take part in the consultation process
At this stage, we are not committing St Richard’s to conversion to Academy status. We are consulting with everyone associated with our school before Governors meet again to make a final decision. We would like to know what you think of our plans and are inviting you to take part in this consultation.
Key Dates -
10th November 2023 - Consultation process communicated to key stakeholders
28th November 2023 at 6.00pm - Consultation meeting at St Richard's
2nd January 2023 - Consultation window closes