Hockliffe Lower School

Consultation on the proposal to become an academy and join the Kingsbridge Educational Trust

*Consultation has now closed

The Proposal

Hockliffe Lower School is proposing to convert to become an academy and wishes to  join the Kingsbridge Educational Trust (KET).  Kingsbridge Educational Trust is a multi-academy trust (MAT) and charitable company limited by guarantee, with sponsorship accreditation from the Department for Education (DfE).  At the moment, the KET operates four schools in Milton Keynes – Oakgrove all-through school (age range 3 – 19), Kents Hill Park all-through school (age range 4 – 16), Monkston Primary School (age range 4 – 11) and Middleton Primary School (age range 4 – 11).

Under this arrangement, Hockliffe Lower School would be governed by KET through its board of directors, whilst retaining its own Headteacher. The school with have its own local governing body which will include elected parents and local community representatives.

The Consultation

The Governing Body of Hockliffe Lower School is consulting all those who it considers may have an interest in, or be affected by, the proposals.  We are informing all parent/carers of the proposal, the Local Authority and other schools in the locality.  We are also consulting staff and the wider community by placing the details on our website, putting notices up in the main school Reception, informing our local Member of Parliament, Local Councillors and also the local Parish Councils.  Copies of this document will also be available to interested parties upon request.

We would welcome your views, whether positive or negative, on the proposal. Before converting to academy status, the Governing Body will need to make an application for an Academy Order and to obtain the consent of the Department for Education and the outcome of this consultation will help to inform the decision making of the Governing Body.  The consultation period will run from 27th March 2023 to 19th May 2023 inclusive and comments must be received by the closing date.  Anyone wishing to comment on the proposal should do so by submitting their comments, marked for the attention of the Chair of Governors, to n.street@hockliffelowerschool.co.uk or k.banville@hockliffelowerschool.co.uk .  Alternatively, comments can be submitted in writing and either delivered by hand to the school office or sent by post, marked for the attention of the Chair of Governors, c/o Hockliffe Lower School, Woburn Rd, Hockliffe, BEDS. LU7 9LL.  Governors will take all views expressed into account before reaching their decision.

The consultation is presented in a question and answer format and we hope this gives you a good overview of the proposal and how converting to an academy and becoming part of a multi-academy trust would affect Hockliffe Lower School.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is an academy?

An academy is an independent, state-funded school.  It still has to follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools.  An academy receives money direct from the government, not via the local authority.  It is owned and operated by an academy trust (often a multi-academy trust, being one company operating a number of academies).  Responsibility for the day-to-day running of the school is usually delegated by the Trust Board of the multi-academy trust to the Headteacher and the school is governed locally by a committee known as a local governing body.  The school’s staff will transfer to the multi-academy trust and their terms and conditions are protected by employment law.

2.    What is a multi-academy trust?

A multi-academy trust (MAT) is a charitable trust which is responsible for the operation of more than one academy.  Hockliffe Lower School proposes to convert from a Local Authority maintained school into an academy within the KET multi-academy trust.

The people in charge of running the Multi-Academy Trust are the company directors, who are responsible for strategic oversight and management.  They are also charity trustees and must comply with duties under company law, charity law and education law to promote the success of the academy trust.   They determine the policies of the trust, monitor the effectiveness of each academy within the MAT, manage central services where appropriate and report to the Secretary of State.  They work to ensure that each academy is performing to the best of its ability and gets the support it requires. 

The role of the Members of the MAT is largely limited to appointing and removing directors and making key decisions such as amendments to the Articles of Association and changing the name of the academy trust. 

Each of the academies in the trust usually has its own local governing body which has authority delegated to it by the Trust Board.

3.    Who is already part of the KET multi-academy trust?

Oakgrove School, Kents Hill Park School, Middleton Primary School and Monkston Primary School are the four schools currently operated by KET.

4.    Will Hockliffe Lower School retain its own identity?

Yes – Hockliffe Lower School will retain its own Headteacher and it will have a local governing body.  It is also proposed that the school will keep its existing name and uniform.

5.    What are the benefits of joining a MAT?

There are a number of benefits in joining a MAT:

6.    Why would a Local Authority maintained school want to convert to become an Academy and join a MAT?

As an Academy, we would have more flexibility in the way we run our school and direct access to the funds the Local Authority spends on our behalf.  This school is, and would remain, intent on providing the best opportunities for success for every pupil.  We need to consider what is in the best interests for the school and our pupils and your views are valuable and important to us.

Joining with other schools within a MAT provides opportunities for good schools to consolidate their position and enhance the educational experience for all pupils, as well as providing wider personal development opportunities for pupils and staff.

Finally, a MAT allows schools to join who may not choose to convert to academy status independently.

The benefits of joining KET in particular include:

7.    Can other schools join the MAT at a later date?

Yes, other schools can join at a later date. 

8.    Is permission required?

Initially, permission to convert must be obtained from the Secretary of State for Education.  A request for an Academy Order, that gives permission to convert, is in the process of being prepared. 

9.    If we proceed, when will the change be made?

If the proposals do go ahead, subject to all the necessary approvals, it is proposed that the new arrangements would be in place for either 1st August 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

10.  What changes will parent/carers see?

There will be very little visible change as a direct result of becoming an academy, with the school continuing in much the same way as it does now with the same Headteacher and senior staff.

11.  Will there be any changes to the existing admission arrangements?

There are currently no proposals to change the existing admission arrangements for Hockliffe Lower School. Any future changes would be consulted upon in accordance with the School Admissions Code.

As already stated, we would welcome your views, whether positive or negative, on the proposal.  The consultation period will run until May 19th 2023 and comments must be received by this time. 

Page 1 of the consultation document provides details on how to submit your comments.  If you have any queries about this document, please do not hesitate to contact Naomi Street at n.street@hockliffelowerschool.co.uk  

Yours sincerely,

N. Street and K. Banville

Co-Chairs of Governors

Hockliffe Lower School