Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Tilly's School Is Looking To Become A Multi- Academy Trust School, What Does It Mean?

So my kids school is looking at becoming an academy! At first, I wasn't too happy about it because all I was being told was negative things about the transition of becoming an Academy led school. But I decided to actually some research online and see for myself.

So, Tilly is 8 years old and is a junior at her school. She has been there since she joined in reception and followed in the steps of her older siblings who went there many years ago. Although they had just failed an OFSTED visit, I had faith in the school and chose to send Tilly there. Also because I am a lazy cow and the prospect of going across town in the morning to drop her at another school when I can barely get out of bed to take her to the nearest one on time! I had faith in Tilly's school because my older children had been through the school and although It wasn't plain sailing, I kinda thought - better the devil you know. As it turns out, I could not have made a better choice in investing in my child's education - I bloody love the school.

But there are so many differences from when the older kids went there 15 years ago and one of the visible differences is the sad fact that there is no money in the school. Staff in schools are being let go because they aren't being given money to keep the members of staff on and sadly it's the people like the admin staff and TAs that are let go before the teachers. This is affecting the way our schools are running and it means there is less support for teachers in the classroom.

The government is giving less and less money to the schools and the school's cannot run on that money. Something needs to be done. the Local Education Authorities are in control of the school budgets and they tell the school what money to spend and where to spend it. This often means that they are buying things that the school needs from a highly expensive supplier when they should be looking at getting better value for money. If a school enters a multi-academy trust, then they are able to get together with the other schools in the area and pool their money to buy the supplies that they need at a cheaper price as they will be buying it in bulk. For example, say your school IT suite needs updating and there is no money for it. Then the schools would pool together and all buy the IT equipment they need and save 25% off the whole bill and still get more for their money (true life story). This then helps to support the school that was in need of the IT equipment. It also works with reams of paper. If you run a business, this will be common knowledge to you. Buy 20 reams of paper and its £2.99 per ream but buy 100 or 200 reams of paper and you will get them for £1.99 per ream.

Running a multi-academy trust to me seems to be the only way forward to save the school system that the government is slowly fucking up. It's not only down to supplies that you need, it's also down to staff. Maybe a school doesn't have an admin staff in the office, then you can hire one to work between two or three schools. This will save a lot of money and ensure that all of the schools have the staff that they need.

There has been a lot of chatter on Facebook and it kinda reminds me of all the wrong information given out for Brexit. People voted and then realised that they had got all of their information from social media and realised it was wrong. People are not going to get the truth about how the schools feel about the matter unless they speak to the head of the school. They are not going to lie to you, they are not going to make stuff up. They are going to say it as it is.

Of course, once you leave the LEA and go to become a MAT school, then there is no going back. This makes it a whole sink or swim situation and we need to be strong swimmers but we are all stronger as a team and we need to support the way that the school goes because basically, we have no other choice. Do we want the LEA to keep skimming school money that is desperately needed in the schools, or do we take a risk and try to save our schools?

Whatever choice we make, there is not going to be a lack of teaching in the schools, the teaching will not change and our teachers will be as passionate as ever. They trained to look out for our kids and they are going to do the best for them. They are not going to make a choice that could affect an education system that their own kids are going through too.

I think the old saying ''Together we stand, divided we fall'' can be used to describe this whole situation, together as a multi-academy trust we have each other to rely on. We can all work together to create a network of schools that share things, whilst still keeping our school's own identity or we can fight to stay in the KCC, where we can't speak for ourselves and run our schools as they need to be run. Nothing has been decided yet and each and every head teacher is going to think carefully before they guide the schools through the process, if it's not going to work then they can pull out of it. 

If your school has gone through the same process, it would be good to hear some feedback. Please leave a comment below. 

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