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MAT (Multi-Academy Trust)

FAQs from MAT Consultation






One point would trouble me by becoming a MAT and that is whether the level of teaching would be affected should the RCS teachers be required to switch to Royal Liberty & vice versa - obviously when I sent my children to RCS ( my last of three is currently in Year 10) it was for the standard of teaching, facilities, etc. Redden Court School offered - whilst I appreciate on Ofsted both RCS and Royal Liberty are both graded as 2 - Good Schools - there are other stats which show Royal Liberty School to be not at the same standard as RCS and these would be slightly worrying for example -


Recent Stats


5+ GCSEs A*-C (%)        

RCS 70%      

Royal Liberty 45%


Average Point Score Per Pupil (GCSE) 

RCS 329.8 

Royal Liberty 292.6


Persistent Absence  

RCS 4.3% 

Royal Liberty 7.25


I do fully understand that the reasoning for becoming a MAT would be to resolve some of the above, but I am concerned that this could affect the RCS students who are very happy with the environment the school currently offers, the absence above could be an example of this.


Unfortunately whilst I would be very happy to attend the meeting you have arranged, this will not be possible due to work, and therefore I hope my query can be answered in my absence.


With kind regards & many thanks - Alison Palmer-Anscomb

There will be no reduction in the standards of teaching at either school. The continuity of teaching staff is essential for continual learning and there will be no switching of teaching staff between schools unless there is capacity to do so.


 Any collaborative working and sharing of good practice would take place outside of teaching time and not to the detriment of any student at either school.


The MAT offers opportunities for both schools to learn from each other and ultimately offer the opportunity of restructuring back office roles to ensure finances are spent on teaching and learning.  We are in a funding crisis where to do nothing is not an option.




As my son has only started his academic life at Redden Court School last week my wife and I were horrified to receive this news.

We spent a considerable amount of time choosing what we hoped would be a school that could deliver the high expectations and aspirations
we have for our son.

We have grave concerns that if the proposed MAT is established his learning opportunities will be significantly reduced.

These concerns are among others
1. The impact that the sharing of budgets will see resources redirected to what locally is considered an underperforming school.
2. Redden Court School will lose the full time leadership of the current senior management team.

It was the drive and ambition of the school's senior management team that came across during our visit to the open evenings that steered us to choosing Redden Court School.

My concern is reinforced by Sir Michael Wiltshire's damning report on Multi Academy Trusts in which he suggested that there is no evidence to suggest that they are working.

He commented that there are very few good Multi Academy Trusts and that most are mediocre.

In his view this is about empire building rather than a capacity to improve schools and offer pupils greater life chances.

I am really angry that having chosen and put my trust in Redden Court School's ability to deliver quality education to my son that after just nine days at the school I have reservations that it will not be able to deliver on its promises.

The fact that the Trust could be established in just 15 weeks’ time I am disappointed that the option to explore this option was not made known to parents before decisions were made about their children's future.

I look forward to having a fuller discussion on the proposal on 18 October.

Thank you for your response to the consultation on the formation of a Multi Academy Trust with The Royal Liberty School.

I understand your concerns and I would like to assure that will be no reallocation of budget or resources to either school. As stated in the consultation letter we will be looking for further financial efficiencies so that funding can be focused on teaching and learning in both schools.

The leadership of Redden Court will not, as a consequence, suffer from this partnership. There is already a developing collaborative working partnership between the schools that has not had any impact on the leadership or management of Redden Court.

We are well aware of Sir Michael Wilshaw's report and the issues related with the operation of a multi academy trust. We are not looking to build an empire and our vision is providing a local education provision that provides success for all.

I look forward to meeting you hearing any further questions you may have at the meeting on the 18th of October.


How much of the decision has been made?

It is the GB of both schools that make the final decisions following the outcomes of the consultation process.


How do staff feel about the proposal

Openness of both sets of staff have been amazing and there is a will to see the schools working together and progress.  Faculties are already collaborating and sharing good practice.  Staff at The Royal Liberty School are a little more anxious as they also have to convert to a Academy Status,


There is a view of lack of transparency due to the short lead in time.  The consultation appears to be a merger.

Not a merger and this is an opportunity that will enhance experience of both school communities.

Schools will not lose their identity, by bringing them together will give opportunity of growth and protect identity.

It is accepted there is a will for school stay the same and how parents value the identity of the school.


Department for Education complete an exercise to ensure schools can work together. 


There is due diligence in place to ensure that any partnership is viable.


Strength of management team reason to come to the school

Will not change - Governing Body (GB) is mindful of progression of the school and do not want to see any regression of results. GB will make the final decision.

There will not be any dissipation of Senior Leadership.  Both schools have a Senior Leadership Team and will continue to have.  Headteacher has a passion for the outcomes and strengths of Redden Court and the Headteacher at The Royal Liberty School has a passion for her school.  The executive Headteacher will have accountability for both schools.


What was rationale for schools choosing each other?

Community model, shared ethos where Success for All forms part of mission statements of both schools and started by conversation between two Headteachers.  Can reach the school during a lunchtime period.


Is there a long term view to take on other schools

We start with two schools.  View is not about building a large portfolio of schools.  There is a plan to develop a primary representation within the MAT but plan this with schools that share an ethos and fit the community model should they wish to.


Joined up thinking from early years into transition through Key Stages of education from 4-16 would be very positive for students.


Would MAT be first in Havering

No there are several that we are aware of and other schools are looking to Join MAT’s out of the borough


Sixth Forms.  Are there any plans to create a sixth form with Hall Mead?

Joint sixth form with Hall Mead will not happen.  Funding is challenging for sixth forms in first two years.  Going forward would like a sixth form but this is a long term ambition. 


I am writing in response to your consultation regarding the proposals to form a multi-academy trust with Royal Liberty School. I regret that I was unable to attend the meeting earlier this week and apologise if anything in my comments below has already been discussed and explained.


I have a very positive view of Redden Court which I have acquired throughout the education of my daughters there. The school is small in size and that contributes to the community and personal feel that exists there. My concern is that the community feel would be comprised by forming a multi-academy trust with any school.


I acknowledge that Royal Liberty School is also small in terms of roll numbers but cannot identify any further similarities. It is a single sex school and the GCSE grades achieved are not at the same level as those at Redden Court. Consequently, any linkage appears to be of greater benefit to Royal Liberty and my concern is that this will be to the detriment of Redden Court and its success.


I also have concerns about the way that working together will impact on the functioning of Redden Court, the teachers, school staff and pupils alike. I appreciate that budgets are becoming constrained and that financial efficiencies are required but my view is that sharing governance and support functions will create financial savings at the cost of the services provided. It will create greater bureaucracy and reduce staffing levels whilst increasing workloads and demands.


I note that the view is that collaboration will provide greater opportunities for the staff and pupils and improve staff retention. Whilst I sincerely hope that is the case, I fear that it will have the opposite effect. The teachers at Redden Court have chosen to work there and the recent GCSE results are testament to their commitment and hard work. Whilst I can see the benefits of sharing good practice, it needs to be of equal benefit. My fear is that the link could require staff to co-locate as necessary which would affect continuity and could result in staff becoming disenchanted and dissatisfied. In this event, staff retention would actually become difficult and this would obviously impact upon the students, their education and the overall performance of the school as a result.


As stated earlier, I think that the success of Redden Court rests with its personal approach which is possible because of its size. I am aware that demands on infant/junior school places are increasing and that it is only a matter of time before that requirement will apply to secondary schools too. In view of this, I consider it essential for the school to retain control of its operation.


There will invariably be extensive costs incurred in forming the multi-academy trust and this appears difficult to justify at such times of financial control. At present, I note that this involves Royal Liberty only. However, the expectation is that additional schools will join in time and each addition will require further restructures and increase demands on the operation of the school.


I apologise for my stance being negative as I understand the current climate and acknowledge that collaboration is the new way of the world. However, I fear that the education of the pupils will be adversely affected as a result.

Both schools will retain their own unique identity and this is not a merger.  The Multi Academy Trust means there is one board of Trustees that is responsible for any school within the Trust.

We believe that the MAT will benefit the community and as Redden Court is the lead school we can share our ethos and learning over the last several years to benefit other schools in the community.


Given the current economic climate and having had school budgets frozen for the last seven years, not seeking economies of scale and further efficiencies is not an option as the alternative is to reduce the number of teaching staff and have bigger class sizes which in turn changes the method of delivery that has been so successful at Redden Court.


We do not aim to make any wholesale changes in the first instance and will look at where work is duplicated and efficiencies can be made.  There is no intention to create bureaucracy but in fact streamline it as far as possible.  For example a shared finance office will result in just one audit taking place rather than two.


No staff member will be forced to work across any other school.  As a small school there are limited opportunities for staff to develop into leadership roles and we are at risk of losing quality teachers where there is no career pathway for them within Redden Court.  By forming a MAT this will give wider opportunities to retain quality teachers even if not in Redden Court but within the community. 


Recruitment is becoming increasingly more difficult.  Cost of housing in outer London is excessive to the salary that a newly qualified teacher can earn, therefore less people are training to teach.  Retention is key to this and opportunities and development within a MAT will help.


At present it is just The Royal Liberty School that will join Redden Court in the MAT.  Where a school shares the ethos and vision of the MAT which is essentially ‘Success for All’ and the school is local then further schools could join the MAT if they wish to.


The Local Authority has now made it clear to all schools in Havering that they should be looking to join a MAT.  Chafford are now part of the Harris Academy Trust which is a national venture and they have lost their identity.  This is not what we want for Redden Court and by leading the MAT we can retain some control and autonomy in relation to our identity and how we wish the MAT to develop.


The MAT board and executive Headteacher will be accountable for performance and results.  Results are at the forefront of every decision and the student’s success.


Financially doing nothing is a risk as we will not be in a position to balance a budget in 17/18 and The Regional School’s Commissioner may force the school to join another Academy Trust.