Statement – 20 April 2023


20 April 2023

Following a restructure of some of our support staff roles earlier this academic year (which has brought us in line with schools, local authorities and academy trusts nationally), we have responded to many questions, queries and comments from parents and the community.  This statement provides a final summary now that we are at the end of this restructure.

This consultation process, which was not a public consultation, rather a consultation with colleagues within the Trust, concluded some time ago.

In total, across our six schools, five support staff have informed us that they have decided to leave their employment with us as a result of the restructures. This is less than 1% of our workforce. We have not reduced the number of teaching assistants in our school structures. Rather, we have been able to recruit high quality colleagues where vacancies have arisen. This is because our schools are special places, with great cultures, where people want to work.

The investment that the Trust has made into central support services, particularly around SEND, has also meant we have more capacity to support schools in the brilliant provision they have in place for children in our classrooms.

There have been other reports about our schools’ cultures, leadership, teaching and support which we simply do not recognise. Some of what has been reported has understandably caused much upset, sadness and frustration for our headteachers and colleagues across our schools who are working incredibly hard to support and educate our wonderful children every day.

As a Trust, we take the well-being of our children and staff very seriously. We therefore respectfully request that the press, parents, carers and wider stakeholders consider the potential consequences of their reports, social media interactions and communications with our schools carefully. We are an organisation made up of human beings, all of whom have dedicated their working lives to doing their best for children.

However, we do want to hear if we’re not getting things quite right. If parents and carers have specific, individual concerns, then we really want to know about them, and I promise that we will try to resolve them. We simply ask that concerns are raised directly with schools and not via social media, the press or any third party, as this makes it difficult for our schools to resolve them.

We urge anyone who would like to see the reality of our schools to visit them. Indeed, we recently invited the Council’s Director of Children’s Services and the Assistant Director of Education into our schools. We also invited the Department for Education’s Regional Director into Millthorpe School, where we have also hosted an open evening for current and prospective parents. We have also had three highly successful Ofsted inspections this academic year. These visitors, like many others, spoke very positively of our work and the culture in our schools.

We appreciate it is sometimes difficult for journalists to print our responses in full. Therefore, all letters and responses to the press and other groups can be found on our website for anyone who would like to know the facts regarding some recent reports in the media.

Finally, it’s right that we focus our time on educating and supporting our children and so we will use this statement, and the other communications on our website, rather than engage further in lengthy exchanges on these topics. The vast majority of parents and carers rightly want us to get on with educating and supporting the children in our schools without being unnecessarily distracted. This is what ensuring excellence every day for our children is all about.

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