Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
SLA Trust is a Diocesan Multi Academy Trust based in the Diocese of Lincoln. Our trust welcomes children and staff from both church schools and non-church schools, across both the primary and secondary age range. We truly believe in the holistic education of children and in improving the range of opportunities available to them. We want to help them, nurture them and enable them to find the things they enjoy and are good at – to support them to be the leaders of the future. Christian values and the exploration and understanding of the Christian faith underpins our work. This translates into our trust core values of community, integrity, aspiration and hope
The aim of the Trust is to allow schools to become stronger by working together. We are advocates of collaborative working to share expertise, ideas, talents and skills across schools. The personal, professional, moral, cultural and spiritual development of our staff and children is key to the potential success of our trust, of our partner academies and of the individual people who work or learn in the Trust. Good schools joining us make us stronger.
The Trust prides itself on prioritising children and rationalising the allocation of funding to best support their needs and development. The centralisation of business services enables us to achieve economies of scale and free funds to be spent strategically on better educational provision for pupils..
Partners will continue to be great schools where every child is valued. There will be no intention to change except in ways that will improve the schools even more. Academies have more freedom than other state schools over their finances, curriculum, length of terms and school days. When good and improving schools join, they will not need to make any changes.
No, schools would retain their names, uniform policies and unique identities.
The Trust is called St Lawrence Academies Trust (SLA Trust). Each school within the Trust retains its own name. The Trust vision would build on our core ethos and values – we would maintain and strengthen our focus on our core values of community, integrity, aspiration and hope.
Children and families will directly benefit from the school’s membership of SLA Trust through the centralisation of efficient bespoke support services across the Trust. This enables school leaders to be free to focus on pupils and the educational provision in their school.
Life continues as usual with the ethos, values, uniform and culture of the school remaining in place. The Trust will support school improvement with a continued focus on unrelenting high expectations.
The Board of Directors are responsible for the multi academy trust. The current school leaders will continue to run their own schools under the direction of the Board of Directors and Mike Adnitt CEO. Each school will continue to have its own Local Governing Body (LGB) making local decisions in line with the scheme of delegation. The Board of Directors will be the main decision-making group and accountable for all schools within the Trust. The Trust Directors are specifically selected for their skills, tasked with ensuring the excellence of all schools and delegating powers to the local governing bodies. As with governors, Directors receive no remuneration for their function and serve as volunteers for our charitable endeavour. Directors go through a recruitment process to secure key skills on the Trust Board. Members have the power to appoint and remove Directors from the Trust board. The Trust is an exempt registered charity and the Members sign the Articles of Association turning the group of schools into a Charitable Trust. Members function as founders and shareholders of the Trust, but absolutely no financial benefit is obtained. The Members create the Charitable Trust because they believe in the vision and values and methods of this enterprise and are responsible for appointing the Directors and ensuring the success of the Trust at an annual general meeting.
It is expected that Good or Outstanding schools joining the trust would retain their local governing body, with decision making in line with the scheme of delegation. LGB’s are freed up to become more effective in providing challenge and support, driving unrelenting high expectations for the quality of education for all.
The crucial starting point for any new partnership is whether the St Lawrence Academies Trust is the right fit for your school. We want to work with schools who believe in what we stand for, and share our vision, values and ethos. For a school to join the Trust, their governing body as well as the SLA Trust Board would have to be clear that it is the right move for all parties. ‘Due diligence’ (by both parties) has to take place to scrutinise the finances, estates and education of each prospective school. All decisions regarding multi-academy trusts have to be approved by the Regional Schools’ Commissioner and for Church schools approval is required from the Diocesian Board of Education.
The Board of Directors make decisions regarding the growth of the Trust.
Tony Wood CFO has the overview of all financial matters and provides savings through procurement, income generation and efficiency. At the local level, schools still make decisions about how they spend their agreed budget.
The Trust will be subject to external audit by an independent firm of auditors/accountants, that the Trust will procure and the Members will appoint. The Trust will also make arrangements for internal scrutiny of systems in keeping with the requirements of the Academy Trust Financial Handbook. In addition, the CFO and CEO will carry out further quality assurance of financial matters to ensure all schools remain financially viable in line with the expectations of the DfE/ESFA.
The Department for Education has a master funding agreement with St Lawrence Academies Trust, and supplemental funding agreements with each partner school. The Trust receives the allocated funding for the whole trust and distributes the General Annual Grant (GAG funding) to each school. A percentage of funds known as ”the top slice” are retained centrally to develop and provide core services around IT, HR, health and safety, finance and management. At the local level, schools still make decisions about how they spend their agreed budget. As a Trust we are guided by very strict financial controls through the Academy Trust Financial Handbook, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) acts as the Chief Accounting Officer with some delegated responsibilities to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
The process will be handled through the Trust with the support of Mark Fowle (Growth Project Manager) together with the Diocese of Lincoln and our professional advisors.
Staff would not notice significant changes in their everyday working lives. They already experience and champion the benefits of partnership work and that would not only continue but grow. Terms and conditions for existing staff would remain the same and pensions arrangements would remain the same. Staff contracts TUPE across from their LA/current employer to the Trust on the day the school joins the Trust. Professional opportunities, career development and staff retention are priorities for the Trust.
This is possible but only if existing staff choose to do this to further their career. Working in a Trust provides better opportunities for professional development and secondment.
This is the job heads are paid for and they will be left to continue to do it. They will however pass on some parts of the job to the central team in line with the scheme of delegation. This allows them to focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning, with unrelenting high expectations.
Mike Adnitt CEO in line with the Performance Development Policy.
A successful Trust needs strong leaders and a growth plan. It is therefore anticipated that there will be further career growth and opportunities for Headteachers/ Executive Heateachers within the Trust.
Yes, under the existing OFSTED arrangements schools will be inspected separately. The Trust will provide challenge and support in the pursuit of educational excellence for all partner schools to ensure outstanding outcomes for all young people.
Local decisions around admissions arrangements will be reviewed in line with the scheme of delegation.
Academies do not have to follow the National Curriculum however the Trust have adopted the National Curriculum and believe in offering a broad and balanced curriculum to follow our vision and values.
SEND provision and support will remain the responsibility of individual schools, however the Trust will offer SEND advice and guidance. Specific strengths and expertise in partner schools can be shared across the Trust to better support SEND pupils.
The schools are accountable to the Board of Directors. The Trust is accountable directly to the Department for Education and the Diocesian Board of Education.