Consultation Letter 07.12.18

7th December 2018

Dear Parents and Carers

Consultation to join Gallery Trust a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT)

Governors are proposing that Mabel Prichard School enters into the process to join The Gallery Trust, a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) for special schools in Oxfordshire.

If we were to join, we would become an equal partner within the MAT, alongside:

* Iffley Academy

* Bloxham Grove (a new free school opening in Bloxham)

* Bardwell Community Special School

* Springfield Community Special School

After over a year of research and conversations with Multi Academy Trusts, we have made the decision to begin this process to ensure our school continues to provide the best possible standard of education and care for our children. With this in mind, your views are important to us and we are extremely keen to hear them.

If we were to join The Gallery Trust:

* Our school will retain its character and will continue to look, feel and be the same as it is now with the same uniform, school name, school times, holiday pattern and admission policy. Most of the changes will be behind the scenes.

* The Headteacher and Governing Body will continue to lead our school on a daily basis, as they do now, and parents will continue to be encouraged to be represented on the Governing Body.

* The MAT arrangements will share some services across the schools which will help with efficiency and make sure that funding is focused on teaching, learning and support for children

Academy status is becoming more common and the Government and local authorities have made clear their intention to encourage/support all schools to become academies by 2022 and in particular for schools to organise themselves within groups. As their budgets are reduced, local authorities are also reducing the services they have available to schools. Making this change now means we can choose how we want our school to develop. As

local special schools, we will continue to have good working relationships with the local authority but will be able to access the services available to us through the Trust and have a greater say on special school funding.

It is our opinion that converting to academy status within a MAT will:

* Help us to develop the highest quality of leadership and management and the highest quality of teaching and learning, especially within our specialist sector.

* Give us the greater freedom in developing the school curriculum to make sure that it is personalised to the needs of our pupils, ensuring high expectation and total conviction that all pupils can succeed whatever their circumstances, background or previous level of attainment.

* Provide economic benefits such as centralised services and economies of scale.

* Enable us to support each other as the support from local authorities has reduced.

* Increase the flexibility of the school budget and funds which gives us more freedom to spend it to best meet the priorities of the school and pupils.

* Provide the opportunity to establish succession planning programmes and in doing so, retaining good staff who might otherwise move on.

Governors believe academy status within a MAT is the best way to support the school in continuing to develop and improve, and that working together within the Trust will benefit teaching and learning, which will have a positive impact on student’s achievement.

We are seeking your views on this proposal in the following ways. Please send in any written responses by 4pm on 25th January:

* Parents and Carers’ meeting with senior leaders and governors on January 16th between 6pm and 7pm at the secondary site.

* In writing marked ‘Private and Confidential’ – response to Academy conversion consultation and posted to Mabel Prichard School, Cuddesdon Way, OX4 6SB.

* Via email to with ‘Academy/MAT consultation’ in the subject line.

Please also feel free to contact any of the senior leadership team with your questions.

Yours sincerely

Lucy Wawrzyniak Damian Haywood

Head Teacher Chair of Governors