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Academy Consultation

Dear Parent/Carer


Consultation on a proposal to join Equals Trust and convert to academy status



The governing body is considering its options to continue to provide an excellent education for their pupils while protecting its role as a school at the heart of its community and retaining its unique qualities and strengths.

The governing body has been considering the future plans of Orston Primary in a fast changing and increasingly challenging educational landscape and has taken the decision to join Equals Trust. We are an inclusive school where every member of the community is valued. We feel that the Equals Trust’ values very much align with ours and will further enable us to strive for excellence where our children and community can flourish.

We believe pupils and staff would benefit from the greater opportunities that formal partnership, through the Trust, would bring, which include:


  • extending learning opportunities and activities for pupils
  • enriching the curriculum through partnership working and shared resources
  • enabling the sharing of excellent practice in teaching and learning
  • enhancing the professional development of teaching and support staff
  • securing cost and resource efficiencies through joint commissioning of services



We are now consulting with staff, parents, carers, pupils and the community. The consultation period will run between Thursday 27th June 2024 and Thursday 19th September 2024. Meetings will be held on:-

  • Thursday 18th July 2024 - 2:30-3:30pm at Orston Primary School.
  • Thursday 18th July 2024 – 5.30-6.30pm at Orston Primary School.

Please email for details of this meeting and to confirm your attendance.


The governing body will then consider a report on the academy consultation before making a final decision on whether to proceed with the proposal. If the governing body agree to proceed, the plan is for the school to convert during the summer term 2025.


If you have any feedback on the proposal that you would like to share with the governing body then please do so by emailing on or before the close of consultation on Thursday 19th September 2024.


Yours sincerely,

Anna Thurston

Chair of Governors


Questions and answers from Parent Consultation Meetings


Parent meeting 1 


Q:  Where are governors in the process? 

A:  Through no fault of its own the LA no longer has the resources to support schools.  The school buys in to services but is not receiving the quality of service it needs.  Lots of schools are currently exploring academisation.  We have completed an analysis exercise of the pros and cons of converting and there were no compelling reasons to stay with the LA.  Therefore, we have explored the offer of various Trusts.  We have come to the conclusion that Equals Trust can give the best offer of support to the school.   

The burden of responsibility to ensure the running of the school falls on the staff, with a lack of LA support and we feel that, going forward, the school will benefit from the support of Equals Trust for a number of reasons, including this. 


Q:  What is the process? 

A:  We have explored 3 Trusts but felt that Equals Trust would allow us to maintain our own identity, be geographically close, understands our context and is a primary only Trust.  We feel confident that they will offer the support the school required.  We are now in the consultation process, engaging the views of stakeholders, but the final decision sits with the governing body.  If we continue, the process with take approximately 2 years to join. 


Q:  Have you had any school leave you and go back to the Local Authority? 

A:   It is not possible for a school to return to the Local Authority once it has academy status.  A school can apply to join or be rebrokered to another Trust.  We have a school that joined us from another Trust, but no schools have moved from us to another Trust. 


Q:  How do you assess the needs of schools and allocate funding accordingly? 

A:  Capital projects are assessed by our Estates Consultants, with Health and Safety projects prioritised and a 5-year plan to address all identified projects.  Reserves can be used for acute issues that are not capital related, and if schools would like to fund a project, they can submit a budget plan and use reserves, paying back the money over time. 



Q:  Do you make economies of scale in procurement? 

A:  Yes - in building contracting, management systems, catering, etc, we are able to negotiate better prices for schools in the Trust than they would be able to negotiate as a standalone school. 


Q:  Can staff be redeployed to other schools? 

A:  Only if they want to be.  We don't enforce any moves on staff. 


Q:  Are there any schools which have a high turnover of staff? 

A:  Our schools have a rate that is lower than the National Average.  We have lots of members of staff who have been with schools long-term. 


Q:  Will you retain the governing body as it stands? 

A:   We would welcome the retention of the governing body as it functions very well.  We will appoint co-opted and LA appointed governors as Trust appointed governors instead. We welcome the commitment of the governors and delegate as many decisions as possible to them.  


Q:  What is the headteacher's thoughts on engaging with this process? 

A:  “Our Governing Body is the most supportive group of governors I have had and they would not do anything that was not in the best interests of the school.” 


Q: How long can we feedback on the proposal and what happens next? 

A: The consultation period will carry on into the beginning of September and then the governing body will consider everyone’s feedback. The questions asked today will be written up and uploaded to the school’s website so that stakeholders can refer to them at any time. 


Parent meeting 2 


Q:  Will the staffing structure change? 

A:   No, the staffing structure will remain a decision of your own governing body. 


Q:  Is the funding different? 

A:  The school currently receives its funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) through Nottinghamshire County Council.  As part of the Trust, the school receives its funding from the ESFA directly to the Trust.  The school receives all the funding it should be allocated and pays a contribution back to the Central Trust for support services it would previously have purchased from other providers, including the Local Authority.  We believe the support we provide is bespoke to the school and is more focussed and personalised. 


Q: What are the reasons for looking at conversion? 

A:  Lack of support from the LA.  We have teachers dealing with issues that should be provided by the services we buy in to but don't receive.  Support is ebbing away.  This is because of diminished funding to Local Authorities. 


Q:  What services are ebbing away? 

A:   HR, Finance, GDPR, Parental Complaints management, Caretaking services, etc.  We don't have the support levels that we have previously had.  An advantage of the Trust team is that they know each school within the Trust and school staff know individuals within each department. The Trust team know the school’s individual context and provide individual support. 


Q:  What are the disadvantages of joining a Trust? 

A:  We hope there are none. We will not impose unnecessary change.   

Parents and pupils often don't notice any change in becoming part of the Trust, but staff feel more supported.  Schools that convert to academy status cannot revert back to the Local Authority at a later date. 


Q: What differences will the children feel? 

A: A year after we were in existence my daughter asked me ‘who do you work for?’ I replied, ‘Your school, we oversee and support your school’. She said, ‘I don’t know who you are!’ 

That was the best reaction I could have asked for. At school level you don’t see the corporate image. We don’t change things for changes sake. We only see people to offer more support and they may see more football competitions or see us attending choir services etc.  

You won’t see changes of uniform, changes to personnel or changes to school times. All our schools are very different. But like I say, we are always there to offer support. 

We hope with your school joining us, it will bring different expertise. 


Q:  What is your long-term growth strategy? 

A:  We started as 7 schools but there is an expectation that Trusts grow over time. We currently have schools joining but at some point we will not want to expand.