Consultation on Conversion to Academy Status and the Formation of a Multi-Academy Trust
The government has now pledged that all schools will be academies by the end of the parliament. With this in mind, governors at Soar Valley College have considered the best way forward.
The biggest factor which has influenced our thinking has been the wish to maintain and further develop the excellent collaborative work which exists in the city already. To date this has seen positive developments as a result of joint working of schools through, for example, the Education Improvement Partnership (EIP), which consists of all secondary and special schools in the city, and Development Groups, which link secondary schools with their local primary schools. We believe this approach should not only continue but be further developed and strengthened and that, through working together, schools can support each other to continually improve.
In the new educational landscape, groups of schools will work together as part of a multi-academy trust (MAT). Soar Valley College is proposing to convert to an academy and, as a school recently awarded Outstanding status by Ofsted, to establish a Multi-Academy Trust. The conversion of individual schools to stand-alone academies is no longer supported, and the government is looking for groups of schools to work together to bring about further improvements for the children in their care. Our aim is to develop a Multi-Academy Trust, which may include both primary and secondary schools, strengthening links between schools of the same phase and also developing the work between primary and secondary to further improve the transition between phases.
What will stay the same for Soar Valley?
All that makes Soar Valley the outstanding school it is now will stay the same.
We do not envisage that students, parents or staff will see any fundamental changes on a day-to-day basis. There are no plans to change the name of the school, for example. Staff will be employed under the same conditions but the employer will be the Trust, once it is established, rather than Leicester City Council. Pay and pensions will be unaffected. Academies do not have to follow the National Curriculum, but Soar Valley has no intention of amending its approach of offering a broad and balanced curriculum provision for students.
Any changes will only be made if in the best interests of existing and future students, and with appropriate consultation. This is the same as the current position.
So what will change at Soar Valley?
A move to academy status would mean some major changes in the way the school is governed. The Local Governing Body would remain, but a Board of Trustees would be in place which would have a similar role to the Local Authority currently.
The formation of a Trust would see partnerships develop, to the benefit of all schools, including Soar Valley.
Plans for a Multi-Academy Trust
As stated above, our main reason for pursuing this course of action is to preserve the best of what we see as the strengths of collaborative working in the city, and to further build upon and develop this approach. It is our belief that, by working as a group of schools, we can support each other to develop further from wherever we are now.
We believe that the capacity to support all can be found within Leicester. Becoming part of a Multi-Academy Trust will enable us to put in place structures which will lead to improvements across the group of schools involved. We seek to work with a group of like-minded schools, committed to sharing both our strengths and areas for development, and working in partnership for the benefit of all.
The Trust will have a name which reflects its ethos and intended way of working. This has yet to be finalised but may include the term ‘Partnership’ rather than ‘Trust’ as an indication of intent.
The Multi-Academy Trust will have core values, including the following, which will be further developed in partnership with other schools involved;
High aspirations, for all to be the best they can be
Ensuring the best possible outcomes are secured for every learner
A commitment to ensuring all learners have a positive experience at school and are well prepared for the next stage in their education journey
Shared expertise is used to provide support, challenge and raise standards
Collaboration is used to provide teachers and support staff with the highest quality professional development, enhancing the quality of provision
Shared experience and capacity is used to provide solutions to current national and local challenges
The Trust will seek to establish an earned autonomy model. Each school will keep its own individual identity and ethos, deciding its own priorities for the children and families it serves. Each school will have its own local governing body, with elected parents and elected staff, focused on the needs of that school. The Trust will be provide further support and intervention where deemed necessary through the analysis of outcomes.
How can I make my views known or find out more?
Should there be any queries about the process or impact of academisation for Soar Valley College, please complete the following form and return to the school, for the attention of the Principal, Mrs Robinson, by Friday April 22nd 2016. Alternatively responses can be made on line at
A meeting will be held at the school on Tuesday April 19th at 7pm, where parents, carers, and members of the local community are welcome to join us to ask any questions and to find out more. A summary of questions and comments will be published following the consultation period.
The Principal and/or representatives from the Governing Body would be happy to meet with any school wishing to find out more about our current thinking regarding the Trust, and to discuss a possible way forward.
Thank you for your interest in this important next step for Soar Valley and, hopefully, for other schools in the city who may seek to embark on this with us.