Consultation has now ended

For the proposed conversion of WOODCHURCH HIGH SCHOOL from a SINGLE ACADEMY TRUST (SAT) to a MULTI-ACADEMY TRUST (MAT)

The period of consultation was Monday 26th June – Friday 21st July 2017

Woodchurch High School Church of England Academy has always sought to improve upon its previous best, putting the child at the centre of all we do. In an educational landscape where change is frequent and rapid, the school is constantly seeking to collaborate with others, to form a strong resilient structure, to ensure that each child is a powerful learner and that adults have the opportunities to learn and develop as teachers and leaders.

We want to develop the school further to be future, system and impact focussed, so we can best work to support all children, notwithstanding their starting points, to achieve academic, social, spiritual, cultural, physical, moral and emotional ‘excellence’ and development.

As you are aware, Woodchurch High School is a Church of England Academy.  It is supported by the Woodchurch High School Academy Trust, whilst also being part of the Church of England’s ‘family of schools’.  It is proposed that the academy trust will convert to a multi-academy trust (MAT), meaning that it can support more than one academy school. We also propose that in time, a number of other schools will convert to academies and join the MAT.

What will becoming a MAT mean for Woodchurch High School Church of England Academy?

Woodchurch High School Church of England Academy is currently supported by its own academy trust, the Woodchurch High School Academy Trust.  If the Woodchurch High School Academy Trust becomes a MAT, the governance arrangements for Woodchurch High School will change.

Currently, the governance arrangements are thus:

  • The academy trust is overseen by a Board of Trustees. This board consists of four Trustees, whom the school styles Members:
    • Two for the Diocese of Chester
    • One for Liverpool Hope University
    • One for Woodchurch High School
    • One for Wirral Local Authority
  • The day to day work in terms of Governance, is carried out by the Directors. This body consists of the following Directors, whom the school styles Governors:
    • One Local Authority (Wirral) Governor
    • Five Member Appointed Governors (three by the Diocese of Chester, one from Liverpool Hope University and one community appointed)
    • Four Staff Governors (one of whom is the Headteacher)
    • Four Parent Governors
    • Up to two co-opted Governors

If Woodchurch High School Academy Trust coverts from a SAT to a MAT, the governance arrangements will be thus:

The name of the academy trust will change from Woodchurch High School Academy Trust to The Beacon Academy Trust, Wirral. The reason for the change is simply other schools may join the MAT in future, so the name of the academy trust should not be limited to one aspect or part of the MAT.

The multi-academy trust will operate on two levels:

  • Trust Level
  • School Level

At Trust Level, the governance arrangements are thus:

  • The Beacon Academy Trust, Wirral will exist as a charitable company, limited by guarantee
  • This will be overseen by a Board of Members. There will be five members, three of whom will be appointed by the Diocese of Chester and one by Liverpool Hope University. One further member will then be appointed not connected with either the Diocese of Chester or Liverpool Hope University
  • Under the Board of Members, operates a Board of Directors, it is this body that oversee the strategic direction of the MAT. It is the responsibility of the members to appoint the majority of Directors on to the board of the MAT
  • The Board of Directors will consist of nine appointees:
    • Chief Executive Officer
    • Five Diocesan appointees
    • Three co-opted appointees
    • Headteachers from the schools that form part of the MAT will be in attendance at all Board of Director meetings
  • The Chair of the Board of Directors will also be one of the Members, to ensure effective communication between the two layers of governance. However, this will not alter the number of Members or Directors
  • Each school that is part of the MAT will have its own ‘Local Governing Body’, which will oversee the ‘day-to-day’ decisions on the operation of the relevant academy within the MAT
  • A detailed ‘Scheme of Delegation’ will set out the responsibilities of Members, Directors and Local Governing Bodies

What are the benefits of being a MAT?

In the school’s opinion the benefits are numerous. Below are some of the key benefits:

  • Aid the smooth transition of pupils from the primary to the secondary phase of their education
  • Share good practice and strategies for further raising pupil attainment across the MAT
  • Collaborate on staff Continuing Professional Development, as well as sharing thinking and planning
  • Through economies of scale, specialist support and expertise can be funded to further drive improvement
  • Greater economies of scale in relation to the purchase of services and operational costs – meaning more money can be spent on the pupils, through the sharing and pooling of resources
  • Create a greater sense of local community, serving the children and families in the local area
  • Ensure the Christian Ethos and Christian Values set the moral framework, under which the academy trust will operate
  • Support staff retention and recruitment through the cluster of schools entering the MAT

Are there any disadvantages of becoming a MAT?

As a MAT, the central Board of Directors will be accountable for any other academies that join the MAT, not just Woodchurch High School Church of England Academy.  This means increased responsibility.  However, as part of the conversion process, the governing body will ensure that careful decisions are taken to ensure that the right governance structure and systems are in place to successfully operate more than one academy. Those appointed to any level of governance in the new structure must be done on a skills basis.

What else will change?

We do not intend to change anything else about the day to day operation of Woodchurch High School Church of England Academy, as a result of converting to MAT.

How can I find out more?

There is more information about MAT academies on the DfE website:

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, or on the DfE website, please contact school via the website, telephone or email, and we will endeavour to assist you.