As you are no doubt aware, Costello is already an academy and converted to this status in 2012.
There is still a very strong focus on the academy programme, from the Department for Education (DfE) and the Education Funding Agency (EFA), who continue to actively encourage single academies to look at the options of multi academy trusts to ensure sustainability and take advantage of the benefits of collaborative working in a formal way.
As Governors of The Costello School, we would not be fulfilling our responsibilities if we did not take this matter seriously and look at the strategic position for the school. As such we wanted to let you know that a working party, consisting of some of the governing body, including parent, community and staff governors, has recently been formed to carry out some initial investigations into the options available, which also include remaining as we are.
Using strict criteria (see FAQs) we have shortlisted four potential Multi Academy Trusts (MATs), that we have invited in to present to a panel about the benefits of Costello joining their particular organisation. We intend to then shortlist further, as necessary, and visit member schools. If, after this process, we feel there is one MAT we prefer then a recommendation would be made to the full Governing Body. We are not obliged to make a recommendation and are happy to pull back from the process at any point if we feel it is not in the best interests of the school. We will also not rush the process, thus ensuring that any decision we make is considered and the right one for Costello, and particularly our students and staff.
Any decisions can only be made after a process of due diligence is carried out and we would like to reassure you that you will be consulted and kept informed of progress at all times. Your opinions are very important and any changes would only be made in the best interests of everyone.
We wish to retain our distinct values and ethos and would wish to continue to be known as The Costello School. Uniform will remain unchanged and parents will still apply to Costello in the usual way. Any change would have to be to the advantage of our students and we would not consider entering any partnership where this was not the case.
As part of the process we are consulting with all stakeholders, up until the 17th July, including all staff, students, parents, local schools and organisations. All groups are encouraged to offer feedback on the work being done and ask any questions they feel they need the answer to in order to be make an informed decision whether it is something they would support or not.
How can I find out more?
There is more information about MATs on the DfE website:
Please click below for an non-exhaustive list of Frequently Asked Questions for you to read which explains most of the key considerations and decisions facing us.
FAQ’s for Parents and Carers
If you can’t find the answer to your question there or on the DfE website, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to which you will either get an individual response or as part of an updated FAQs list. We will reissue the FAQs on a regular basis as more questions are received.
MAT Update (29/1/18)
I wanted to update you on our ongoing plans to continually improve our school.
As you know, Philip Avery, the Director of Education at the Bohunt Education Trust (BET) joined us as acting head at the start of the year, following Leigh Adams’ departure before Christmas, and the support he and BET have provided us in this period has been invaluable.
Due to their long-standing track record of leading and improving schools, the governors have, after careful consideration of all options, decided to take our relationship with BET to the next stage and to begin formal negotiations to join the Trust.
You may recall that we were also considering the alternative MAT of Weydon, however they are a relatively new MAT, and the information we have gathered indicates they do not have the capacity to support Costello at this time.
We are quite clear that we could continue our journey of improvement as a single school. However, the Governing Body believes that the support of Bohunt Education Trust will allow us to further develop and improve more quickly, using tried and tested strategies and methods of support.
You will be aware that we have been considering joining a Multi Academy Trust for more than six months now and have considered a number of potential partners, supported by the Regional School Commissioner’s Office. We are confident that the experience, track record and expertise of Bohunt Education Trust, as well as our shared ethos, makes them a strong and secure partner for us. As you may know, BET is a high-performing academy trust which comprises five secondary schools in the south of England – in Worthing, Liphook, Portsmouth, Petersfield and Wokingham – and opened a new Sixth Form last year in Liphook.
There are a number of steps that we need to take before this is agreed, but I wanted to let you know as soon as possible so you are fully informed. For instance, we will need to go through legal due diligence and negotiation on a number of important areas, such as finances and governance.
Joining the BET will provide additional support to the school and provide a wider range of opportunities for students and staff. Above all, the decision to progress talks with BET was taken with our students’ best interests at the front of our minds, and I know you will share that priority.
On behalf of the Governing Body, might I thank you again for your ongoing support and, of course, if you have any questions, please do email me at mailto:email@example.com.
Hilary Todd, Chair of Governors, and the Governing Body