Consultation - February 2024

Frogmore Community College proposal to join Weydon Multi-Academy Trust (WMAT)

After careful consideration, the Governing Body of Frogmore Community College is seeking to convert to become an academy as part of a Multi-Academy Trust.

In seeking to convert to become an academy, our priority is to ensure we continue to provide a high-quality education for our students. We believe joining a Multi-Academy Trust will support the strategic priorities of the school and support our drive for continuous improvement. 

Parent and Carer Consultation: 21st February 2024

Please view the slides below for a summary of the presentation given as part of the consultation event.  Thank you to all parents and carers who attended. 

fcc parent consultation.pdf

Consultation Responses

If you would like to comment on our proposal or ask a question please email or write to:

Gene Ashe, Chair of Governors

c/o Frogmore Community or clerk@frogmorecollege.co.uk

or directly to Chris Vaudin, Headteacher, at headteacher@frogmorecollege.co.uk

The consultation period will run from 5th February to 18th March 2024.

Copy of Letter to Stakeholders

After careful consideration, the Governing Body of Frogmore Community College is seeking to convert to become an academy as part of a Multi-Academy Trust.

In seeking to convert to become an academy, our priority is to ensure we continue to provide a high-quality education for our students. We believe joining a Multi-Academy Trust will support the strategic priorities of the school and support our drive for continuous improvement. 

After a rigorous due diligence process, the Governing Body has determined that WMAT is the best choice for Frogmore’s families, staff and the wider community, for the following reasons:

  1. The vision, values and ethos of WMAT are closely aligned to those of Frogmore Community College. Governors believe that the school will be able to enjoy the benefits of joining a larger family of schools whilst retaining its own unique identity as a school at the heart of the community it serves.
  2. WMAT has a solid track record of educational performance and will be able to support the school to continue to improve educational outcomes for students and further develop Frogmore’s engaging and exciting curricular and extra-curricular offer.
  3. The Trust is financially robust and has a successful track record of supporting schools to maximise their income and achieve efficiency savings. This would help ensure the long-term financial sustainability of Frogmore Community College and enable us to continue to invest in our learning environments.
  4. The central services provided by WMAT offer value for money for the school, compared with similar services currently purchased from the Local Authority and other external providers. The Governing Body believe that WMAT are able to offer a more tailored and responsive suite of central services to support the school.
  5. WMAT offers significant development opportunities for all staff (teaching and non-teaching) and are committed to supporting the progression and retention of staff. WMAT also offers a number of benefits to support the on-going well-being of staff which the school could not currently offer to staff, as a small community school.
  6. The Trust has an established methodology for supporting collaborative working and sharing of best practice across WMAT to achieve sustained school improvement.
  7. WMAT has demonstrated a commitment that each school retains a Local Governing Body that acts as a committee of the Trust Board (in the same way as the Governing Body operate today). This allows for a level of local autonomy that is not available within every MAT structure and helps ensure that the school remains at the heart of the community and vice versa.

Weydon Multi-Academy Trust is a local trust serving the communities of Southwest Surrey, North East Hampshire and North Sussex.  It currently has seven schools, four mainstream secondaries: Weydon, Farnham Heath End, Woolmer Hill and Rodborough academies, together with three special schools: The Ridgeway, The Abbey and The Park school.  More information about WMAT can be found on their website: weydonmat.co.uk

Before proceeding with the conversion, there will be a formal consultation in which we invite you to share your views and ask any questions you may have.

The consultation begins today, 5th February 2024, and will take place over a period of six weeks. During this period, we will be holding an information meeting for parents and carers.  This will take place on Wednesday 21st February at 5.30pm in our drama studio. Please complete the following link if you will be attending XXXXX

We’d like to invite you to read through our answers to FAQs about this consultation, which can be found below.

If you would like to comment on our proposal or ask a question please email or write to:

Gene Ashe, Chair of Governors

c/o Frogmore Community or clerk@frogmorecollege.co.uk

or directly to Chris Vaudin, Headteacher, at headteacher@frogmorecollege.co.uk

This is an exciting opportunity to help shape our future and bring about positive change in the way we run our school, continue to drive the best outcomes for our students, and ultimately achieve our mission to create the conditions in which everyone can flourish.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us, as detailed above, with any comments or questions you may have.

Yours sincerely,

Gene Ashe                                 Chris Vaudin

Chair of Governors                   Headteacher

 

Joining a Multi- Academy Trust: Frequently Asked Questions

What is an academy?

Academies are still state schools, but they’re funded and operated a little differently to maintained schools.  Instead of being funded by the Local Authority, academies are paid directly by the Education and Skills Funding Agency. This means that academies have more control over how they do things than schools that aren’t academies.  Academies are publicly funded with no charges/fees for parents.

 

What is a Multi-Academy Trust?

Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT) are not-for-profit companies. They have Trustees who are responsible for their performance, in the same way that Local Authority (LA) maintained schools have Governors.  The Trustees are both company directors and charity trustees, and the MAT employs the school staff.

We’re proposing to join an existing MAT.  This means that we’ll be part of a community of schools that are governed by one Board of Trustees. Each school in the Trust will also have its own local governing body, with some delegated governance responsibilities for that particular school.  The MAT will also employ a team of central staff to support the group of schools and drive school improvement. As part of a Trust with multiple schools, Frogmore Community College will have the opportunity to collaborate and share resources with the other schools across the Trust.

 

Why is the Governing Body proposing that Frogmore Community College join a Multi-Academy Trust?

The Governing Body believes the benefits for the school will include:

  • Improved teaching and learning for our students, because:
    • teaching expertise and resources can be shared across the Trust;
    • there will be increased opportunities for staff development and training.
  • The opportunity to collaborate and share best practice.
  • Greater financial efficiency:
    • o by procuring goods and services at a larger scale across the Trust;
    • o by sharing staff, including specialist staff who work centrally for the trust, like a school improvement team.

The Governing Body believe that joining a MAT is the best strategic direction to ensure the long-term viability of Frogmore Community College and its ability to provide a high-quality education for current and future students. 

 

What process has the Governing Body followed in selecting a Multi- Academy Trust?

The Governing Body has followed a rigorous process of due diligence in selecting a MAT.  Once the Governing Body established that joining a MAT was the right strategic direction for the school, an initial list of ten MATs were reviewed against a set of criteria including:

  • ethos, vision & values
  • reputation & performance
  • geographical localness
  • size and structure

From this initial desktop exercise, a shortlist of three local Trusts was identified.  As part of a desk-based research exercise, Governors considered documents relating to each of the three longlisted Trusts, such as annual financial reports, articles of association, schemes of delegation, Ofsted reports and other information available on MAT websites.  Visits to schools within all three of the Trusts were undertaken by senior staff and Governors.

A decision was then made to narrow down the choice of MATs further and Governors met with the CEOs and senior staff from the two front-running MATs to assess the suitability of each MAT for Frogmore Community College.  At the end of the process, Governors felt confident to make a unanimous decision to move forward with the proposal to join Weydon MAT (WMAT).

 

Will the Trust or Trustees make a profit from the school?

No. MATs are charities, and any surplus or other income must be used to benefit students.

 

Will the Trust take any money away from our school?

The MAT will receive the school’s money known as the general annual grant (GAG) and a proportion of this funding will be used to pay for some central services with the remainder used directly by the school.  This amount would result in a saving for the school compared with the approximate percentage of funding which is currently paid to the Local Authority for services that, in future, would be provided by WMAT.

 

The types of central services that WMAT provide include:

  • School business services such as: financial, legal and HR services as well as access to IT support services, site management expertise and UKGDPR compliance advice;
  • Leadership support services, including access to the Headteacher performance management process and WMAT Quality Assurance Cycle;
  • School improvement services, including curriculum and subject reviews and development, assessment support, Governor services and support, policy development advice and clarity;
  • Quality of education services including: whole school/Trust Teaching and Learning initiatives, and subject and middle leader collaborative groups.

 

Will the School lose its financial independence and its ability to manage its own finances?

Each school within WMAT manages its own budget and the Local Governing Body is responsible, in conjunction with the MAT, for ensuring the finances of the school are well managed. 

 

What will happen to our land and buildings?

This will be negotiated at time of transfer, but it is likely that all land and buildings will be held on a 125-year lease by the MAT for the benefit of the school.

 

How will academisation impact our students?

Frogmore Community College families and students won’t notice a big difference in the day-to-day operation of the school, but Governors believe the school community will benefit in the long term from the opportunities provided by academisation. The Headteacher, leadership team and staff will remain the same.

 

How will becoming an academy affect the curriculum?

There is no intention to make major changes to the current curriculum as it supports our students extremely well.  Academies do have greater freedom over determining the curriculum but still need to have regard to any proposed changes by Government.  WMAT will co-ordinate and promote its academies to work together more closely to encourage curriculum innovation and sharing of good practice.

 

Will the school still be inspected by Ofsted?

Academies are inspected by Ofsted, and are held to the same standards as other state-run schools.

 

Will we change our name?

The school and proposed Trust have no intention of making any changes to the school name.

 

Will our catchment area or admissions policy change?

All academies are bound to comply with the Schools Admissions Code and the rules for admissions as other state schools.  There are no immediate changes intended and any future changes would be subject to consultation.

 

How will academisation impact our provision for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)?

Academies have the same requirements for the provision of SEND as other state schools, as set out in the SEND Code of Practice.  Joining a larger family of schools, which includes a number of special schools, will enable Frogmore Community College to access and draw upon SEND expertise from across the Trust, which will further enhance the provision at the school.

  

How will academisation affect staff?

There is no intention to change anything about the day to day operation of the school as a result of converting to join WMAT.  Over time, increased collaboration and the sharing of best practice and resources will help to secure continued improvement in pupil achievement and high-quality teaching.

 

If the School becomes an academy and part of a WMAT when is this likely to take place?

July 2024 is most likely, though the application will have to be approved by the Regional Director.

 

Do we need to get permission to convert to an academy and join a MAT?

Yes. Existing schools looking to convert to an academy and join a Multi-Academy Trust need to apply to the Department for Education (DfE) and gain the approval of the Regional Director.

  

Are there any disadvantages to becoming an academy?

The MAT will be directly liable for matters such as insurance, employment liabilities, pensions, health and safety, and property maintenance. However, academies receive more funding from central government to help them meet these additional costs, and in any event, WMAT already deals with these matters for the other academies it supports.

Once the school has converted, there is currently no route to revert back to being a maintained school under local authority control – academy conversion is a permanent change to the school’s status.

If the school was a school causing concern in the future, the Secretary of State may have the power to force the school to transfer to a different academy trust. However, in those circumstances, it is likely that the Secretary of State would have the power to intervene even if the school remained a local authority maintained school.

Testimonials

  • "Everyone is welcome and included in everything.” Oliver, Y9
  • “I feel comfortable talking to teachers or adults around school about my worries.” Connie, Y10
  • “The best things about being at Frogmore is the tutor groups, as you get to be around older and younger years to get and give advice.” Georgia, Y8
  • “Every member of staff cares.”  Oliver, Y8
  • “All the teachers help push you to the best of your ability.”  Chloe, Y8
  • “I think the best thing about Frogmore Community College is that the teachers are always there to help and your voice is heard by them.” Mollie, Y8
  • “The teachers are always helpful in lesson and will always help when you don't understand.”  Madison, Y9
  • “The environment is well cared for and the school is diverse and inclusive.” Serynna, Y8
  • “I think that the one of the best things is the diverse range of subjects.”  Hiba, Y7
  • “I feel happy and positive every day when I am at school.”  Jake, Y7