Multi-Academy Trust Consultation

17th June 2016

Dear Parents

The governing bodies  of Uppingham Community College and Uppingham Church of England Primary School have taken the decision to pursue the option of joining together to form a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) for our community of schools. This will mean that we will be active partners in our goals to provide the optimum learning opportunities for the students in our two schools.

This decision ultimately remains subject to the acceptance of our Funding Agreement with the Department for Education and we will be working through those steps in the coming months with the hope that the new Trust will meet with approval.

The governors in both schools have judged that the opportunities of co-operation and partnership with other schools provide exactly the right context to allow us to continue to provide the very best educational opportunities to our young people here at this school.

Within this new structure the special and individual character of each school will be nurtured in the wider context of the Multi Academy Trust Partnership and the ethos of each school will remain firmly in the control of the Local Governing Body of each school. We will work very hard to develop our governance documents to make sure that the great majority of decisions will continue to be taken by each school, devolving as much autonomy as possible to the schools themselves.

We want our MAT to:

Recognise the individual nature of its schools;

  • Ensure that aspirations in all partner schools are as high as achievement;
  • Retain a local community focus;
  • Be committed to deep and enduring partnership predicated upon the development of trust, underpinned by close working to enable outstanding success (academic and financial);
  • Ensure there is the leadership capacity required to deliver accountability at all levels;
  • Ensure that every child is valued and supported in achieving their maximum potential
  • Work together to develop children and young people who are creative, confident learners and who become responsible citizens;
  • Provide a greater wealth of development opportunities than if its members were individual schools.

We are consulting with you to invite your views on this strategic development for the schools and would like to invite you to attend one of two information events, where a short presentation will tell you more about the process and give you the chance to ask questions. These will take place in Uppingham Church of England Primary School on Monday 20th June at 3.45pm where a crèche will be available for children or Thursday 23rd June at 6.00pm at UCC.

If you have any questions or comments you would like to make please email

mat@ucc.rutland.sch.uk by Friday 15th July 2016. In due course we will generate a series of FAQs addressing key points from the consultation process to keep you informed.

The following information explains more about the process of forming a MAT.

Proposed Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) between UCC and Uppingham Church of England Primary School

Background Information

What exactly is being proposed?

The proposal is to form a Multi-Academy Trust. This is a structure which allows two (or more) academy schools to enter into a formal partnership, where they are accountable to a single Board of Trustees. UCC is already an academy school, but C of E would need to ‘convert’ into an academy so the MAT can be formed. This means that we would cease to receive our funding from Rutland County Council, and get it directly from the government’s Department for Education.

The structure of a MAT looks like this:

Other schools could join the MAT at a later date, and we hope that this will happen in time. However, only UCC and C of E are involved at the moment.

How would the MAT work?

MAT’s come in many shapes and sizes. Some take a centralised approach, where every partner school has to do things the same way. We do not think this would be right for our two schools, and it is not what we are planning. Instead, we want to nurture the special and individual character of each school. The ethos of each school will remain firmly in the control of this Local Governing Body. We will work very hard to develop our governance documents so that the great majority of decisions continue to be taken by each school, with as much autonomy devolved to them as possible. We hope that this structure will ensure the MAT remains in close touch with the views of parents, staff and children in the schools (especially important if more schools join the MAT in the future.)

The character of C of E as an Anglican Church school will be legally guaranteed and could not be changed, now or in the future. The character of UCC will also remain unchanged, and it will not become a Church school.

Why do we want to do this?

The process of converting to an academy and forming a MAT is time-consuming and complicated. The governors would not be proposing it unless we believed it brought real advantages for children. We think that if UCC and C of E become active partners, then this will provide the best possible learning opportunities for students in our two schools.

If you have seen stories about education in the news in recent years, then you will probably be aware of how the educational landscape is changing. The Government wants to move from a model where local authorities direct schools to one where like-minded schools form partnerships to support challenge and improve each other. We cannot ignore this change: the Local Authority in Rutland has seen extensive cuts to its educational budget and services, and we can no longer turn to it for the support it provided in the past.

While that is the background to our desire to form the MAT, it is the potential benefits for students that are really driving us. Our vision is of Uppingham children having a consistently inspiring educational journey from Nursery to the end of Year 11, enjoying a wide range of learning experiences and making outstanding progress at all stages. The divide between Primary and Secondary education is an artificial and unhelpful one: national research suggests that the transition from one to the other is a difficult one for many students, where their progress slows down sharply. We believe that the more our two schools work together, the more this divide can be overcome.

Particular benefits of the MAT could include:

  • Shared training for teachers, resulting in even better teaching;
  • Shared expertise, knowledge and experience in specialist areas;
  • Shared resources, creating more opportunities for students;
  • Economies of scale from jointly purchased resources and services, freeing up money for educational provision;
  • Mutual quality assurance, helping each other ensure that standards of achievement and teaching remain high in all partner schools;
  • Closer collaboration to ensure outstanding progress continues through key transition points - no ‘lost learning’ and excellent outcomes for all our students.

What happens next?

There is a long process to go through before the MAT could come into existence. This has to include:

  • Completing formal consultations with parents and staff;
  • Legal work to draw up a governance structure for the MAT;
  • Gaining approval from Peterborough Diocesan Board of Education for C of E to become an academy and join the MAT;
  • Gaining approval and a Funding Agreement from the Department for Education.

It is, therefore, by no means a foregone conclusion that the MAT will go ahead.

We want our MAT to:

  • Ensure that every child is valued and supported in achieving their maximum potential;
  • Work together to develop young people who are creative, confident learners and become responsible citizens;
  • Provide a greater wealth of opportunities than if its members worked individually;
  • Retain a local community focus and recognise the individual nature of its schools;
  • Ensure that aspirations in all partner schools are as high as achievement;
  • Be a deep and enduring partnership founded on trust and underpinned by close collaboration;
  • Ensure there is the leadership capacity required to deliver accountability at all levels.

The governing bodies of both schools believe that this is a very exciting opportunity to create a strong bond between our two schools that can only enhance the commitment we share to the holistic education of each individual child. We would now like to hear your thoughts and your questions, so we can develop our thinking further.

Yours sincerely,

JAN TURNER
Principal UCC 

JULIA EXTON
Head teacher UCEP

GEOFF THOMPSON
Chair of Governors UCC

JAMES SAUNDERS
Chair of Governors UCEP

  1. Multi-Academy Trust Consultation - Parent Consultation - June 2016