Letter to parents
Thank you to those parents and carers who were able to join myself and Deb Bacon from the Co-operative College as she talked about our consultation on conversion to a Foundation Trust school. As we enter the formal consultation period I would like to share my rationale for seeking this change to the school.
You may be aware that the government is keen on schools working together and that its preferred vehicle for this is as an academy. A Foundation Trust is a lesser known but I believe more compelling model for Nonsuch.
The governing body and I have spent the past two years looking closely at what would be best for our children, and for a long time it has been to stay exactly as we are. Meanwhile, Local Authorities (ours is Sutton) have been slowly shrinking and services that have been provided by the Local Authorities to support schools have now been stripped almost completely away.
Nonsuch is unique; almost a village school in London. Converting to a Foundation Trust would allow us, through our governing body, to maintain our identity and our budget. A co-operative partnership would allow us to share the cost of buying in services – professional services such as learning support or advisors to help us maintain the validity of our self-evaluation for Ofsted, or for resources such as paper. It would allow us to benefit from expertise in the other schools, such as using advice from the schools with specialist educational provision – something that we currently have to buy in from somewhere else.
It could allow the school to hang on to our fantastic staff. In a small school, staff often have to leave to seek promotion. Our teachers could take leadership roles across the partnership. They could continue to teach our children during the day but lead training on INSET days or the weekly after-school staff development sessions that all schools deliver. It is hoped that if promoted away from the school, any movement would be within the partnership so that we would still feel the impact of their expertise or that they might then return in leadership roles. We would be able to grow our own set of ‘new teachers’ as students and support staff would work across the partnership, and we would be able to recruit from our own ‘pool’ of newly qualified teachers in a time of serious recruitment and retention challenges.
Education is facing challenging times. I believe this is the best model to take us forward.