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The Road to Federation Ellie Howarth, Research and Information Officer, NGA www.nga.org.ukwww.nga.org.uk 0121 237 3780 Research funded by BELMAS
© NGA 2014 2 www.nga.org.uk Background Education Act 2002: Federated schools “have a single governing body constituted under a single instrument of government.” Benefits 1 : –Improving governance in weaker schools –Improving teaching and learning, achievement and behaviour –Pooling of resources and expertise –Attracting and retaining staff Multi-academy trusts (MATs) Lord Nash: federation is a “second best model” 1. Ofsted (2011) Leadership of more than one school
© NGA 2014 3 www.nga.org.uk Research objectives What are the drivers of the formation of federations/multi-academy trusts? Who is involved in the decision-making process and how do they influence the decision? What are the barriers, perceived and actual?
© NGA 2014 4 www.nga.org.uk Drivers School improvement, often sharing a successful headteacher Small, rural schools: professional leadership, finance, staffing Recruiting a headteacher Streamlining governance
© NGA 2014 5 www.nga.org.uk The federation process Final decision lies with governing body Proposals must be sent to: Secretary of State, local authority, headteacher of each school, staff, parents, diocese, foundation governors/trustees. Barriers: –Stakeholder opposition –Lack of information
© NGA 2014 6 www.nga.org.uk Conclusions Despite its low profile, federation is an attractive option for many schools Professional leadership arrangements were a key factor in the decision whether to federate Lack of information can be a barrier Communication with stakeholders is vital in the federation process
© NGA 2014 7 www.nga.org.uk Acknowledgements We are grateful to the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society for funding this research
© NGA 2014 8 www.nga.org.uk Case study Background Shacklewell Primary School, Hackney, east London Two forms of entry, ethnically diverse, large proportion of children eligible for FSM 2009, 2010: two years of significant under-performance Step 1: Creation of a “soft” federation LA-brokered relationship with a local high-performing primary school Executive headteacher model Challenging decision for the governing body – perceptions vs. reality Two years on: very significant improvement in the achievement of pupils
© NGA 2014 9 www.nga.org.uk Step 2: Creation of a “hard” federation Decision-making process strongly owned by governors Options appraisal: end, extend, or enter into a “hard” federation Consultation with parents, staff, wider community – effectively supported by the LA; most interest from parents at the high- performing school Joint meeting of the two governing bodies, unanimous vote for federation Reflections Federation unfamiliar to most people and little information to draw on Creation of the “soft” federation was the most significant step, but this is not strongly featured in the guidance that does exist Stay focused on what is in the best interests of children
© NGA 2014 10 www.nga.org.uk What difference has federation made? Percentage of Year 6 pupils achieving Level 4+ in English and Maths Federation
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