Sparkenhoe School Primary School

Proposal to become an Academy and the setting up of a new Multi-Academy Trust

Please click the link below for more information.

We are updating you on the proposal for Green Lane Infant School, Highfields Primary School, Sparkenhoe Community Primary School and Uplands Infant School to form a multi-academy trust called the Attenborough Learning Trust. After careful thought and consideration, the governing bodies of all four schools have agreed to form the multi academy trust. This means that the Attenborough Learning Trust will support the running of the four schools, without each school losing its unique characteristics. Conversion is likely to take place on 1st April 2019 and we will confirm when this has happened.

Click here for the letter with translations.


Frequently Asked Questions 

This gives you answers to the questions we have been asked most about becoming an academy.  There is a lot more information and detail on the school website, and you are welcome to ask at school if you would like more information.


What is an academy?

An academy school is a school paid for directly by the government instead of through the local council.  The school is still free – parents do not pay.

It is run by an “academy trust” which is a charity paid for by the government.  The academy trust must use all the money it gets from the government for running the school.  The government set the rules in an agreement with the academy trust, and through a handbook which it publishes every year, and the school is still inspected by the government’s Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (“Ofsted”).


What is the Attenborough Learning Trust?

Our school has worked with other schools in this area to set up an academy trust so that we can join together to give staff and pupils some extra opportunities, and to save some time and money by doing some things together. Our Vision and Values are:

·         High expectations: raising aspirations and educational standards within a partnership that serves the local communities of our schools.

·         Collaboration: sharing the great practice, expertise and resources that are within the schools to enable all schools to deliver excellent education for all of the children in their communities.

·         Diversity: each school’s individual character is valued and the trust’s relationships throughout the partnership are characterised by mutual respect, openness and a commitment to the core purpose of the academy trust.


Which schools are involved?

The four schools involved are:

Green Lane Infant School: OFSTED rated ‘Good’
Highfields Primary School: OFSTED rated ‘Outstanding’
Sparkenhoe Community Primary School: OFSTED rated ‘Outstanding’
Uplands Infant School: OFSTED rated ‘Outstanding’

Who are the Trustees of Attenborough Learning Trust?

They are people who live locally who have volunteered, much like governors do, but have also been through an interview to make sure that they understand and absolutely agree with the vision and values of our schools. 

One is a parent at our school who is an accountant, one is Professor of Education at Leicester University, one is a former headteacher who provides advice on education nationally, one is a former headteacher who is a national leader in school governance. Others have a professional or business background.  They have all been appointed because of their skills and experience, and because of their commitment to our vision and values.

The Trust also has three Members who are all connected to the area, one is a former chair of governors at one of the other schools, one is a solicitor and former chair of governors at a local school. 

Will the school have more or less money if we become an academy?

The amount paid per pupil is exactly the same, but instead of that going to the City Council it will come direct to the Academy Trust.  Some of it will be used for the same things that the City Council use it for now, like insurance.  Some of it can be used by the schools in the academy trust pooling their resources together for specialist staff and training, and for extra opportunities for children.

There are some charity grants available to an academy trust which are not available to other schools.

We think that in the first year the school will have about £30,000 more as part of the academy trust, which is only a small percentage of our budget but we think that our staff will be better supported to teach and care for our children because of the extra resources we will be able to provide.

What will be different if we become an academy?

·      The money to run the school comes straight from the government, not the local council.

·      The staff who work in the school will be employed by the academy trust, not the local council.  This means that the schools can join together to train and employ specialist staff which they could not easily do as a single school.  For example in the first year we will appoint a speech and language specialist to help families get access to health services and to provide support and training to our own classroom staff.  

·      Instead of having a Governing Body who are appointed or elected to govern the school on behalf of the local council, we will have a Local Governing Body appointed or elected to govern the school on behalf of the academy trust, and a central Board of Trustees who are responsible for governing the whole of the academy trust on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

·      If a school is in difficulty, the headteacher and local governors can be guided by the academy trust before a problem gets serious.  At the moment the city council can only advise the school governors, or remove them, but an academy trust can bring in other governors to help until the problem gets better.

What will stay the same, if we become an academy?

·      The children will be the same.  All children at the school now will still be at the school.  All children due to start in September will still start in September. Leicester City Council will still run the admissions service, so parents will still apply for places at school in the same way.

·      Our staff will be the same.

·      Staff terms and conditions of employment will not change.  All of the staff at Attenborough Learning Trust will be paid according to the National Pay and Conditions for Teachers or the Local Government Agreement, the same as they are now.  They get the same pensions. 

·      The school will still be a state-funded school which is free – parents will not pay.

·      The name of the school will be the same.

·      The uniform will be the same.

·      Term times will be the same.

·      The curriculum, the lessons we teach and the way we teach them will stay the same.

·      Drop off and pick up times will be the same.

·      School meals, and free school meals, will be the same.

·      Leicester City Council will still be in charge of payments for high level special educational needs and disability, their social services department with still be responsible for safeguarding, we will still use their buildings maintenance and health and safety service.

·      The school will still be inspected by the same people who inspect all schools and nurseries.


Potential Advantages

· More thorough checking on the performance of the head teacher and the school.

· More focus on the development of the schools in the Trust.

· Financial benefits through smarter purchasing.

· Greater creative opportunities to deal with the rising costs of running schools.

· Opportunities to find and fund specialist expertise.

· More scope for the development of locally appropriate initiatives.

· More scope for collaboration between schools and the development of specialist provision.

Potential Disadvantages

· Schools can lose some autonomy.

· Governance structures can feel more complex.

· Some reduced responsibility for the local governing body.

· Possible loss of engagement with local authority schools.


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