The Formation of SAST

The Sherborne Schools’ Partnership had worked closely together for many years to provide an excellent education for our young people across the pyramid and included the Sherborne Learning Centre.

The timeline for the formation:

  • Since 2014 there were on-going informal discussions about options for more formal partnerships including academies and trust establishment.
  • In 2015 external advisors were engaged to provide guidance and support. Individually, schools also explored other options, including attending events organised by the Diocese of Salisbury and other organisations.
  • In May 2015 Lock House Consulting was engaged to provide external independent guidance and support. There were intensive workshops, SWOT analysis and the sharing of values leading to a Memorandum of Understanding being established and agreed by all schools.
  • A Project Steering and Interim Board (PSIB) was set up in January 2016 to lead the development work and detailed planning and preparation phase.
  • During the Autumn Term 2016 detailed due diligence work took place to ensure a sustainable Multi-Academy Trust can be established. This included an in-depth evaluation of key aspects of the potential MAT such as education performance, finance, organisation, leadership, buildings, staffing, legal/compliance and commercial activities.
  • Approval for the five Church of England Schools was sought and approved from the Diocese of Salisbury.
  • Applications to the DFE were made by each school for Academy Orders (agreement and permission to progress) to become an academy as part of SAST. The Gryphon School became a standalone academy on 1 August 201 ; it applied to convert to become a multi-academy trust.
  • These applications were taken to SW Regional School Commissioners Headteacher Board on 30 January 2017 and approved without issue.

The Sherborne Area Schools’ Trust was established on 1 June 2017. The Gryphon School, a standalone Church of England academy since 1 August 2012, converted to become a multi-academy trust. It came together with six new academy schools; a former maintained school, four Church of England VC Schools and one Church of England VA School. A Deed of Variation of the Funding Agreement and Articles of Association was approved by special resolution.

Key Features are:
• a new mixed primary: secondary MAT with 7 schools
• the formation of a new hub in an identified target area (Dorset) for academy provision
• a MAT with 2700 pupils from 0-19 years
• a large specialist workforce of 184 teachers (151 fte); 292 non-teaching staff (158 fte) including 92 teaching assistants; 37 office/support staff
• a combined budget of £13.2 million expenditure

The benefits and opportunities include developing our provision, sharing best practice, being more creative in our curriculum, enabling further development of our teachers/staff and taking collective responsibility for all of the children’s development and progress. There is also more freedom on how we spend our funding and we would be able to explore opportunities for financial efficiency, determining for ourselves which services and providers we will buy into to provide outstanding provision for our children.

SAST Proposal - Executive Summary Feb 2017

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