Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust: FAQs
Who can join the St Albans Diocesan Multi-Academy Trust?
The Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust was established to provide for three different types of Church of England school within the Diocese of St Albans: schools requiring rapid improvement having been placed in Special Measures and subject to a directive Academy Order; good or outstanding church schools where no natural cluster of local Church of England provision exists; and new schools within new housing provision where the Diocese of St Albans is the identified sponsor. The Trust will consider applications from other schools supportive of the Trust’s ethos on a case-by-case basis.
How large is your Trust going to be?
DSAMAT was established to be part of a network of locally, school-led, Church of England Multi-Academy Trusts. It is anticipated that ultimately, after five years, it will have no more than 15 Academies. Due to the nature of some of the schools admitted to the Trust, it is recognised that some Academies may eventually be brokered, with their agreement, into locally led Church of England provision.
What types of school does the Trust include?
The DSAMAT is open to all types of school, including Infant (4-7), Lower (4-9), Primary (4-11), Junior (7‑11), Middle (9-13) and Secondary (11-18).
How is the Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust governed?
The DSAMAT is a Church of England Multi-Academy Trust. Members are appointed by the Diocese’s “Umbrella”Trust, the Diocese of St Albans Educational Trust, an appointing body that recruits and appoints Members and Directors to Church of England Academies in the Diocese.
Members, who have strategic oversight for the work of the Trust, include representatives from the Diocesan Board of Finance and Diocesan Board of Education and reflect the range of skills required to oversee an Academy Trust. Directors of the Trust are responsible for the day-to-day running of the Trust.
In fulfilling one of its core principles, the DSAMAT will retain local governing bodies. These will operate under a scheme of delegation entitled “earned autonomy”. Good and Outstanding schools will retain significant control of their local budget and will retain the right to appoint staff to Deputy Headteacher level. Schools in Special Measures or Requiring Improvement will be given more support at a local level and therefore their local governing body will have reduced delegated responsibility until the school is graded as Good.
How standardised will the Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust be?
Following the principles used to establish Church of England schools in the 1800s, the Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust remains committed, where possible, to providing a locally based high quality education that respects local practice and customs whilst benefitting from a regional network of support. Academies that are part of the Trust will retain their name, school uniform, local customs and through the local governing body will govern locally following a delegated scheme of earned autonomy.
How will schools gain by being part of the Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust?
Academies within the Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust will remain part of the St Albans diocesan network of schools. Currently this consists of 136 schools comprising maintained schools, stand-alone academies, CE federations and a free school, representing all phases. 91.9% of all provision and 94.5% of primary schools within the network are currently graded Good or Outstanding. Performance is high and all schools within the network have easy access to examples of outstanding provision.
Schools joining the Trust will benefit from education delivered within a Christian ethos committed to enabling schools to meet the needs of their local community, and will have access to:
- specialist school improvement support – School Improvement Partners and Advisers
- 20 educational consultants based in four regional clusters
- school leadership support and development
- emergent leadership development programmes
- established partnerships with leading school improvement providers such as Herts for Learning
- an outstanding training and development network delivered by the Diocesan Board of Education
- personalised training delivered through the Diocesan Board of Education’s Service Level Agreement
- national training networks such as the National Society’s teaching and learning foundation
- in-house business management and financial management services
- a developing range of centralised policies
School Effectiveness provision will be led and overseen by the Deputy Diocesan Director of Education who will act as the Lead Officer for School Effectiveness. They will be support by a team of over 20 educational consultants who offer a range of specialist school improvement and curricular services to schools. These are accessed via the lead officer and are either paid for centrally or purchased by individual schools to improve provision in specific areas. The amount of support provided centrally to each school will be determined by need.
Do Academies in the Trust have to use a School Improvement Partner or Performance Management Consultant?
It is expected that on being admitted to the DSAMAT each Academy will use a School Improvement Partner appointed by the Trust and that a centrally appointed consultant will undertake the Headteacher’s Appraisal process and monitor the impact of all performance management procedures taking place across the Academy
How will the Trust monitor school effectiveness?
Academies within DSAMAT will have their performance monitored by the lead school effectiveness officer or an appointed educational consultant. The nature and frequency of these monitoring visits will depend on the Academy’s RAG rating and Ofsted grading. These reports will be presented each term to the Directors of the Trust.
Will the Trust expect schools to adopt shared curriculum policies?
Good and Outstanding schools will retain the right to develop and implement their own curricular policies which meet local needs but will have access to a bank of shared policy documentation. Where schools require improvement or are graded inadequate the DSAMAT reserves the right to adopt policies to ensure standards rise rapidly.
What opportunities are available for schools to collaborate?
Schools that are part of the DSAMAT are part of the St Albans diocesan network of schools that currently consists of 136 schools. Through the Board of Education a range of courses, conferences and events are delivered each year. Active collaboration between schools, whether stand-alone or clusters, is encouraged. Schools which are part of the DSAMAT will have the opportunity to be paired with high achieving schools within the Trust and those that are part of the wider diocesan schools network.
These FAQs will be updated on a regular basis.