The Consultation Period to join St Clare Catholic Multi Academy Trust is now closed.
As you may know, the Governing Body of Our Lady & St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School (OLSJ) has been exploring the proposal for the School to progress towards converting to academy status and joining a Catholic multi academy trust (MAT) with other Catholic schools in the Diocese of Hallam.
After careful consideration and discussion, the Governing Body of OLSJ has now completed a consultation period with parents and carers, staff, local parishioners and other local schools. The consultation period closed on Friday 15 July 2022. The Governing Body will meet after this date to consider responses and decide how those responses should inform and enable the School’s future.
Two new Catholic multi academy trusts have been established by the Diocese of Hallam called St Clare Catholic Multi Academy Trust and St Francis Catholic Multi Academy Trust with the view to OLSJ joining St Clare Catholic MAT together with other schools in our family group. Our proposed date for joining is 1st April 2023.
We are being supported on this journey by a team of Diocesan officers and by the CEO of St Clare Catholic MAT, Steve Davies, and the St Clare Board of Directors, Chaired by Kev Smith. The consent of Bishop Ralph and the Diocesan Trustees, which is a requirement before any Diocesan school can join a MAT approved by the Diocese, has been given.
A summary of all the benefits of this proposal and some helpful frequently asked questions are set out in an FAQ document which is here. We set out below some of the main points about this proposal.
What is an Academy?
Academies are publicly funded state schools that are independent of the Local Authority and receive funding directly from Central Government. The School will still be a Catholic School under the authority of the Bishop of Hallam and its religious designation will not change.
What is a Catholic Multi Academy Trust?
A Catholic Multi Academy Trust is a company set up by the Bishop to preserve, develop and protect Catholic education in the Diocese through providing support and resources within a single legal entity with shared common purpose.
Why is this being considered?
We believe being an Academy as part of St Clare Catholic MAT will give us greater opportunities for working more closely with other local Catholic schools and the wider community of schools and will secure Catholic education for the long term.
What are the advantages?
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. We feel that the additional freedoms and flexibilities and the support that will be provided as part of the Catholic MAT would enable the Governors to better secure the long- term future of our School.
In addition, it will strengthen our Catholic identity, enabling the pooling of some resources. Vital new resources which will improve teaching and management practice within the schools. We will also achieve a greater degree of control of our finances which will help us to safeguard these funds for the benefit of children attending the School.
What are the disadvantages?
Converting to academy status as a stand-alone academy brings pressures in the form of additional responsibilities and accountability. This is why we are considering joining together with other schools to form a strong Catholic MAT where responsibilities and accountability are shared with the MAT. We know that academisation is not a cure for every problem and challenge faced by a School and we are aware of some difference in opinion both locally and nationally on how effective MATs can be in supporting schools in challenging circumstances. The Diocese has looked at the evidence and lessons learned from other successful Catholic MATs in putting forward this proposal. However, we would encourage you to consider all the evidence and check the accuracy of assertions that are being made.
Will any changes to the School be made as a result of conversion?
Please be assured that the Catholic character, ethos and values of the School would remain unchanged should the proposal to join St Clare Catholic MAT take place. We are not looking to change the uniform or the school day.
St Clare Catholic MAT is committed to retaining governors at school level and parents will continue to be represented at that level too.