Over the past few months, the leadership and Governors of Sutton Courtenay Church of England Primary School have been considering the possibility of the school becoming an academy. You will have read about this in the recent newsletters. An important part of the process involves a consultation with everyone involved, and we held this consultation between Tuesday 8th May and Tuesday 12th June 2018.
The current Government’s view is that all schools should become academies over time, and we have been mindful of this in our deliberations. In considering the various possibilities open to Sutton Courtenay Church of England Primary School, we have kept the following at the forefront of our thinking:
1. The best interests of the children in our school, both now, and looking ahead to those who will attend in future years.
2. Preserving the school’s distinctive Christian ethos and continuing to adhere to our vision of “Love life; love learning; love one another”.
3. Maintaining a balance where we can work with local partners to share expertise and experience, whilst still retaining a degree of independence.
As Governors and Headteacher, we have looked in detail at the options available to us and we have agreed that becoming an academy, as part of the Ridgeway Education Trust (RET), is the best solution. This is the family of schools which contains Didcot Girls’ School and St Birinus School. Therefore, having heard the views of all stakeholders and found them to be overwhelmingly positive, we are in the process of registering this application with the Department for Education.
We believe that the best way to serve the future of this school is to join RET as an academy, because:
* RET has a strong, moral ethos of service, striving for excellent outcomes for all children, regardless of prior educational attainment, specific educational needs or background.
* RET is locally based and will therefore enable us to work closely with our colleagues to drive progress.
* We will be the first primary school to join RET, which provides an exciting opportunity to shape direction and ensure alignment with our values. The trust is looking to expand to include more primary schools in the near future.
* There are many exciting opportunities for the children in formally working together with a group of local schools. We have already enjoyed the support of teachers in English and Maths from Didcot Girls’ School working with our older pupils in recent months, and we will be able to extend this support to other subjects such as in foreign languages. There will also be opportunities to access facilities within RET such as sports, arts and technology.
* Didcot Girls’ School is rated Outstanding by Ofsted, and St Birinus School is Good. Both schools will be able to provide excellent support for our own school priority which is to increase our effectiveness in ensuring best outcomes for all our pupils.
* Since the Ofsted inspection, RET, including its executive headteacher, have been working with us on a goodwill basis to improve outcomes in school, and we have already established supportive relationships.
* Financially, becoming part of an academy trust will enable us to work together with our partners to make best use of our ever-scarcer resources.