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Academy FAQs


What is an academy?

Academies receive funding directly from the government rather than through local authorities and are run by an academy trust. They have more control over how they do things and do not charge fees.

Academies are inspected by Ofsted. They have to follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools and pupils still sit the same exams e.g. Year 6 SATS.

Academies have more control over how they do things, e.g. they do not have to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times.

Academy trusts are not-for-profit companies. They employ the staff and have trustees who are responsible for the performance of the academies in the trust.


Why is Forres joining Spiral Partnership Trust?

Over the past eighteen 18 months, the Governing Body has been exploring the process of becoming an academy and the benefits academisation would bring to our school. Following the most recent Ofsted inspection, Forres was made the subject of an academy order by the Department for Education (DfE), which decided that we should join a strong multi-academy trust. This statutory process has involved various stakeholders, including our Governing Body, the school’s Senior Leadership Team and Hertfordshire County Council as the local authority.


Why are we joining Spiral Partnership Trust instead of another academy?

We have been working in close partnership with the Spiral Partnership Trust for some months and have already seen a positive impact of this work in our school. The Governing Body and Senior Leadership Team are confident that the trust has the same ethos and values that we do, is the right choice to be our sponsor and will help us achieve our ambition for school improvement.


Spiral Partnership Trust is a primary school specialist multi-academy trust in Hertfordshire which is made up of five other schools within Hertfordshire. Read more about Spiral here.


Will Forres get more money from the Government in an academy?

Under the academy system money from the Government is distributed in a different way and money from our budget will not be retained by the Local Authority to provide central services. We will pay the Spiral Partnership Trust for some central services, but overall academies have greater control over how they spend their budget. Some funding we receive e.g. Pupil Premium and SEND funding will come straight to Forres to support those children.


What will being an academy mean for my child?

The responsibility for day-to-day operations at Forres still sits with the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team, and the class and teaching structure will remain the same, so there will be minimal impact on the children.

Parents/carers will see the Spiral Partnership Trust logo in our communications and appearing around our school, but the biggest changes will be behind the scenes with central functions such as HR and finance transferring to the trust.

The biggest impact on our school community will be continuing the positive work we have already started towards school improvement. We are confident that joining the Spiral community will help us to achieve our ambition for school improvement.


What impact will academisation have on the School Development Plan?

The School Development Plan is our step-by-step action plan to deliver improved outcomes for our children and is available on the school website.

The main pillars are to:

  • improve the quality of teaching across the curriculum;
  • deliver a new school curriculum framework;
  • improve assessment in the classroom; and
  • implement our behaviour policy to drive positive behaviours for learning.


We have been working through our plan this academic year supported by the team from Spiral Partnership Trust and this work will continue as we move towards academisation. Being part of the trust will mean that central functions such as HR, finance and policy making will be the responsibility of the trust, meaning we have more time and resources to devote to making improvements.


Is Forres going to change its name?

As part of the process of academisation we have the chance to change our school name, but we are not sure if we will go ahead with a change. We will be asking parents about their views in due course.


Will the uniform be changing?

As part of the process of academisation we have the chance to change our school name and uniform. We have no immediate plans to do so and are acutely aware of the cost implications. We will be asking parents about their views in due course.


What is the governance structure under Spiral Partnership Trust?

The Spiral Partnership Trust has a system of Local School Committees (LSC) which carry out many of the same functions as the current Governing Board. We hope that our existing governors will join the LSC for Forres and continue to make a valuable contribution to the running of our school. We would love to welcome new members, so please get in touch with the school office if you are interested.


How are governors involved in the transition?

The Governing Body has been exploring academisation for the past 18 months and has been consulted as part of the statutory consultation process run by the DfE. Governors will continue to play an important role as we move through the next stage in terms of ensuring due diligence, holding key stakeholders to account and helping deliver a smooth transition for our children and staff.


What happens now?

The process of academisation is a statutory process with lots of legal steps. We have begun this in earnest and are working to complete the process as quickly as possible so we can concentrate on this exciting new chapter in our history.


When will Forres officially join Spiral Partnership Trust?

Our ambition is to have all the legal requirements completed as soon as possible so we can join the trust officially from 1st September 2024 ready for the new academic year. There are lots of reasons why the process may be delayed (many outside of our control), so our focus will be to continue working with the trust during the changeover period to minimise disruption and pave the way for a smooth transition.

The process is ongoing, so if we don’t make the 1st September deadline it will be reviewed every month until academisation is complete.


How will parents/carers be kept informed?

We will continue to work collaboratively with parents/carers as we move through the academisation process. Look out for updates in the weekly newsletter, updates to the FAQs on the school website and we will hold another open meeting on Thursday 11th July to coincide with transition evening making it easier for people to attend both events. We are keen to ensure that all voices are heard so if you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with Mr Douglas via the school office.

We will also be talking to the children about what is happening in school to ensure they understand what is happening and feel part of this new chapter in our history.

 As part of our work with Spiral we will be looking at the trust’s communications systems to see what we can take forward in our community.


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