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FAQs

Why are Nields considering joining GreatHeights Academy Trust? 
 

Nields has been looking to strengthen the school for a long time and the board has considered carefully a number of other trusts in order to be certain which will be the most beneficial. Most importantly, the governors sought a partner with common views and values so that, together, both can move forward, develop and evolve towards a ‘2 – 18’ all-through school offer which will combine the Trusts’ strengths. The governors believe GHAT is the right partner. 

 

What decision has been made? 

Governors have agreed in principle to Nields joining GHAT subject to consultation with staff, pupils, parents, and relevant local and national stakeholders including seeking department of education approvals. The move is also subject to any legal and HR required processes. As GHAT holds a number of government approved and appointed offers (national English Hub, Research School and teacher training provision) The school will join GHAT in order to benefit directly from this expertise.  

 

What is the timescale? 
 

Consultation started 16th January 2023, joint discussions on partnership working and subsequent HR and legal reporting is draft scheduled for the spring term with a potential September 2023 launch.  

  

What are the anticipated benefits? 
 

Utilising strengths across the trust we will build a stronger trust to improve outcomes for all our pupils. 

Anticipated benefits will include: 

  • To further develop great teachers; to prioritise teachers’ professional development; their career opportunities; linking retention and development of future teachers and leaders from within our communities. 

  • To prioritise collaborations between our Nursery, Primary, Junior, Secondary and Post 16 offers, empowering staff to exchange knowledge, share experience and workload whilst recognising the uniqueness of our different communities. 

  • Utilise current internal evidence-based support within the English Hub and Research School to support current lost learning needs. 

  • Strengthen governance to enable support and challenge for a 2-18 all-through educational offer. 

  • Sharing of SEND, finance, safeguarding, HR and Health and Safety expertise to further strengthen offers and increase negotiation powers when re-contracting services. 

  

How are Pupils affected? 

Pupils will not notice any immediate difference, they will be in the same uniform, in the same classrooms with the same teaching staff. We will continue to strive for an outstanding education for all our pupils. In time pupils may notice changes and improvements in the way that they learn, resulting from the greater training opportunities given to teaching staff to innovate and improve pupils’ learning. 

  

What about staff? 

All staff will automatically transfer to GHAT. This will take place using ‘Employees Rights’ within TUPE regulations, which ensures that staff retain all of their existing rights terms and conditions and pension arrangements, including continuity of service. 

  

Will staff be supported through any changes? 

Where TUPE applies, all trade unions are recognised before the transfer and will continue to be recognised by GHAT. Staff will be supported through this process by their unions and HR. GHAT has a dedicated wellbeing staff offer which can also be utilised. 

  

Does joining GHAT change the relationships with other schools and the community? 

No. We will ensure that our schools continue to be at the heart of their own communities, collaborating and sharing facilities and expertise with other schools and the wider community. In fact it will be strengthened by strengthening our links with Marsden and Colne Valley High. 

  

What will Governance look like? 

Each school within the trust will continue to have their own Local Governing Body (LGB) to represent them, hold each academy to account and support developments. GHAT has a Chair of LGB board which will provide connectivity between governance levels for all academies within the new partnership. We will continue to adopt the National Governance Association guidance in support of developments and remit areas. 

  

Will there be any planned Trust funding cuts? 

No. We do not anticipate any planned funding cuts as a direct consequence of this change. 

  

Will there be changes to the Admissions Policy / Criteria? 

No. There are no plans to change the schools’ admission policies

Will the names of the school change? 

Yes. It will either be Nields Academy or Nields Junior, Infant and Nursery Academy. 

  

Will the schools' uniform change? 

 

No. The school uniform will remain the same. The only change moving forward will be the name change on the school logo. Old logos will still be accepted as school uniform until it is necessary to buy a new one.  

  

Will the term / holiday dates or the school day change? 

No, these will not change. 

  

Will feeder school criteria change for any primary to secondary school admissions or post 16 choices? 

No. We have no plans to change the current arrangements. 

  

What happens to current roles? Are you planning any job losses or changes to staff contracts? 

There are no planned changes to current permanent roles, we do not anticipate any significant changes to staff contracts or job losses as a direct consequence of this change. 

  

Will the trust logo/strapline change? 

If there is a change, it will be agreed via discussion and shared agreement. Both GHAT and Neilds' vision already align and within this, all academies develop and review their own bespoke values in response to current pupil and community needs. 

  

Will the curriculum remain the same? 
 

Initially each academy curriculum will remain the same. Over time the curriculum may require review and adjustment in response to changing local and national needs or direction. 

  

What is GHAT Research School and how will the future partnership benefit? 

Research Schools (RS) are part of the national Research School Network, GHAT Research School has been designated since 2016 as one of 22 RS nationally by the EEF and DfE to connect teachers and schools to evidence informed practice. It supports Oldham Local Authority, Calderdale, Kirklees and Tameside. Its key specific areas of expertise are literacy, metacognition (effective thinking & learning) implementation (putting planning into action) and effective use and support of Teaching Assistants. 

At a management level the Research Lead will support each of the headteachers within the Trust in finding and using research evidence to inform decision making, for example in choosing diagnostics and interventions for speech, language and any reading or writing challenges – this has been most effective whilst we all recover from lost learning post COVID-19 

  

What is GHAT English Hub and how will the future partnership benefit? 

GHAT English Hub was designated in October 2018 with a remit to promote a love of reading and support schools to provide excellent phonics and early language teaching. Literacy specialists within the Hub are appointed and trained from across the Trust’s schools and provide tailored support to schools. The English Hub designation is based at The Greetland Academy site and is one of only 34 English Hubs nationally selected for its expertise in teaching reading and to support other schools in its surrounding area. The expertise within GHAT English Hub is extremely valuable to ensure high expectations and support for schools, ensuring best practice in early reading and most recently training for teachers in identifying gaps in learning for pupils across primary and secondary settings whilst recovering from COVID-19 lost learning. 

  

What is GHAT SCITT and how will the future partnership benefit? 

GHAT SCITT (School-Centred Initial Teacher Training) has been in operation since 2015. It has trained over 200 local primary and secondary teachers since inception. It responds to trust school recruitment needs and trains future teachers in all subjects including ‘hard to recruit’ subjects such as science, maths and English. GHAT Trust schools can deliver on the SCITT programme and utilise specialist subject links and partnership working with local HEI (Huddersfield University). Headteachers and senior leaders in GHAT Trust schools are active in recruiting future teachers to our programme which positions schools well for future recruitment needs. 

  

Where can I find out more? 

The best source of information on Academy Trusts is the Government's own website: 

Building strong academy trusts: guidance for academy trusts and prospective converters  

(publishing.service.gov.uk) 

  

Why are we linking with a trust based in Elland, not Kirklees? 

The Trust has schools in Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds and has very strong links with Kirklees LA. The SCITT works with schools in Calderdale, Kirklees, Bradford, Leeds and Oldham. 

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