Trumpington Community College Academy Conversion Consultation
Questions & Responses – April 2017
What problems have there been with MATs in Cambridgeshire and more widely throughout the country?
Across the country Multi Academy Trusts have often taken on schools in difficulty, and sometimes have overstretched themselves. This has resulted in criticism of the Trusts for not improving their schools, and in some cases these schools have been moved to better performing MATs.
In Cambridgeshire that has not been the case, but there has been a trend for standalone academies to join MATs so that they can achieve economies of scale and get support to raise achievement.
How will the college be run as an academy?
The college will have a Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team and they will work with the Local Governing Body to develop the school so that it meets the aspirations of the Local Community. The MAT will provide support to help the school do a good job, and monitor its performance to ensure that it is providing a good standard of education.
What are the growth plans for TCC?
We are working with the County Council to make sure the school grows to provide the right number of places for students as the community grows. We are expecting to admit up to 90 students into year 7 next year, then increasing to 120 and 150 over the following three years. When the school is full it will have 750 students in years 7-11.
How will students from TCC be able to benefit from other schools in the MAT?
When schools work in partnership in a MAT students in any one school can benefit from the expertise and facilities that other schools may have. Trumpington is already benefiting with specialist teachers coming to the school to ensure that a full curriculum can be offered even though the school is still relatively small, and this will continue. In addition, students at Trumpington are able to attend the MAT combined activities in sports and arts, such as the orchestra or sports teams, and go on the wide range of trips the MAT offers, such as visits to France and our annual ski trip.
Is there a plan for students from the other schools to study at TCC?
Students from MAT schools already visit TCC to take part in a range of sports clubs, and this could well develop further. Once we have students taking GCSE exams, then it is possible that some joint classes could be run in the school.
Who are the members of the Trust Board?
Anne Campbell Chair of MAT Board
Maureen Donnelly Vice-Chair of MAT Board
Ashish Dasgupta Chair of Business and Risk
Why was the question about changing status raised?
In many respects Trumpington already operates as if it were an academy as the staff and leadership are provided by Parkside Federation Academies (PFA) as a result of the way the school was set up by the County Council. TCC is the only secondary school in the county that is not an academy and as the Local Authority no longer provides improvement services to schools the school would not be viable on its own. This is especially true as it will be a while until the school is full. Under the circumstances the Governing Body is of the view that converting to an academy is the logical step.
Will TCC be the lead school in the Trust?
The MAT is independent of all the schools, and expects them all to collaborate and share best practice. Trumpington is already establishing areas of expertise, such as in the use of Chromebooks and Google classroom
Will becoming an Academy change the admissions process or the catchment area?
No, both will stay the same.
Is the ability to change curriculum an important factor in the decision?
Schools have to follow a curriculum which leads to public examinations such as GCSEs, and we want our students to do well in these. We therefore follow a curriculum which gives students the knowledge and skills they need to succeed, and academy status actually has little effect on this.
Will becoming an academy introduce selection?
No it will not. The MAT is opposed to selection by ability.
Will being an academy mean that the school does not co-operate with other local schools?
Not at all. All our schools work in partnerships in Cambridge city and more widely across the county, and Trumpington will do the same.
Do academies focus only on the most able?
Academies are comprehensive schools. They do not select their students, and provide a curriculum that meets the needs of all learners, including appropriate vocational options