Minutes of Community meeting to discuss the proposal to join the West Lakes’ Multi-Academy Trust
29th October 2018
The meeting was led by Vice Chair Claire Morfoot, Mrs Figes (Executive Head Teacher) and Jackie McLellan (Governor) were also present.
Ms Morfoot outlined the proposal which had been set out in the letter before half term. She explained the history of the MAT – which currently had one member- West lakes’ Academy.
She then explained the reasoning behind the proposal linked to fluctuating numbers and sustainability. There were nine options originally considered by the joint Governing Body. An Executive GB group ( from Thornhill and Arlecdon) looked in detail at each option and it culminated in a decision made by the Thornhill Governors in Summer 2018 to begin due diligence.
Mrs Figes informed parents that there would be no change to our current values and identity and that parents shouldn’t see a huge difference in terms of school hours, calendar of events and uniform. Mrs Morfoot agreed, that the MAT should help Thornhill improve outcomes for learners, building on our current good work. She said that the MAT wasn’t an attempt to impose a Secondary Education on a Primary school, it would help reduce stagnation in learning in Year 7 and allow for a smoother transition.
There were several questions from parents:
Parent: Are there likely to be any negatives, we have only heard positives so far?
GB: The Governors have looked at concerns about branding and a loss of identity and had assurances from Jonathan Johnson. We had a list of ‘red lines’ which we have explored regarding what we felt we couldn’t accept. Many of these were linked to staffing contracts.
Parent: Will the funding still be separate or in one big pot?
GB: All centrally delegated funds will be gag-pooled. Money specifically for SEND, Pupil Premium or sports will go directly to the school.
Parent: what about charitable money? Fundraising?
GB: The Friends of School is a separate entity and a charity, it has its own account.
Parent: I am concerned that West Lakes is a large school and they are very strict about things like uniform, would that come across here?
GB: No, we will still have our own head teacher and the same school culture.
Parent: If the children and staff are happy then it should work-
GB: Staff are obviously a little apprehensive and unsettled, change often has this affect however staff are committed to the school and want it to succeed.
Parent: I hope it will be a partnership and not a dictatorship-
GB: The Governing Body will be maintained, albeit with a slightly different role but they will continue to have a voice. Some decisions will be top-down but day to day running of the school and our curriculum will continue to be our own responsibility.
Meeting ended 6pm