Round Hill Primary School - FAQs
We know there are lots of questions which parents, carers and other members of our community have about this proposal. We will try and answer as many as possible here.
The large majority of the benefits of joining the Trust – access to professional development, increased resources, greater capacity for school leaders, etc – apply across the whole school, including EYFS and KS1. A key part of the vision for expanding the Trust is the education of children and young people in our community from the age of 4-18, and we recognise the importance of all stages in that journey, not least the vital role of the early years of schooling.
Up until this point, White Hills Park has been a secondary-based Trust, so Round Hill would be our first primary partner. Round Hill would still benefit from all of the current support networks and collaboration arrangements, but in addition, we are part of a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) partnership which comprises more than 50 schools in our area, the majority of which are primary schools. We are in the process of establishing a close network of primary schools (up to 5 in total) who would work together to share expertise and development activities. All of the schools have Foundation Stage and Key Stage One children, and all are at least Good in their most recent Ofsted inspection. As a founding member, Round Hill would be a key leader of this network.
Inclusion of all pupils is at the heart of our ethos at White Hills Park. For example, at Alderman White, we have set up an autistic-friendly base (The Haven) and achieved 'Autism-Friendly School' status. We have a much higher proportion of students with Education, Health and Care plans than the national or local average, and lower proportions of exclusions. We take a leading role in local Special Needs partnerships and the local Strategic Behaviour and Attendance partnership, and are fully committed to maintaining the high quality of education of SEND pupils within our schools. Indeed, we have recently extended the amount of time that we provide for Senco support in both of our schools, we have a school counsellor to support pupils with mental health needs, and we have established inclusion units in both schools.
A Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) operates more than one academy school. Although all MATs share the same legal basis, there are many different models operating, some of which are large national or regional organisations, operating a large number of schools with a highly centralised administration and a strong corporate identity and policies. Our model is very different – we are committed to remaining a small, local MAT comprising autonomous schools with their own Local Governing Body. We also believe that MATs should operate to the highest of ethical frameworks, and that we have done so in the seven years since our MAT was formed.
In the White Hills Park Trust, our staff have always retained exactly the same rights, pay frameworks and conditions as their colleagues in maintained schools. Pay rates at all levels are comparable with the maintained sector – we do not pay excessive rates of executive pay and have extremely low levels of expenses claims. We are committed to working in partnership with other local schools, neighbouring Multi-Academy Trusts, and the Local Authority.
The invitation to become part of the Trust came about alongside our move to restructure and re-form the way we work. White Hills Park was established as a Federation with one Governing Body and staff working across both schools. We had a combined budget and all policies were shared.
Our new structure is based on the vision of autonomous schools, working as peers within a strong Trust, and linking closely to other schools and the wider educational community.
Since the start of this year, we have moved decisively to establishing greater autonomy for schools, with separate local Governing Bodies, clear distinction between the functions of the Trust and the schools and a strengthened role for local school leadership, including managing budgets, making staffing decisions, setting assessment policies within the overarching ethos of the Trust and so on.
We have established a draft Scheme of Delegation which is operating this year, and will be confirmed in discussion with Round Hill, should you decide to join the Trust. We have appointed Trustees, and individual schools have appointed Governors, with clear separation between the two.
We are in the process of adopting the Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education to set out the standards that we will hold ourselves to, whether in governance or operational leadership.