Formal consultation on the option of becoming an academy and joining Scholars’ Education Trust.

(Updated 1st March 2023)

Over the last twenty years there has been considerable energy put into researching what makes for the best educational outcomes for young people.  Out of that research has come some large government initiatives like Every Child Matters, and the pupil premium.  Time and time again, the work done has shown the significant impact of successful, purposeful and effective cooperation between schools in raising attainment for all.

The last two years, and the Covid pandemic especially, has shown us even more clearly how important it is for organisations to work together and support each other.

This is a great school, with fantastic students, inspiring staff and brilliant outcomes.  We want to be nothing short of exceptional, because, as I have said to many of you in person, nothing short of exceptional is good enough for my children, your children, or any of the children in our community.

And so, as a great school, with big aspirations and lots to offer we have been exploring how we could work more closely with other great schools, for the benefit of all.

Governors have been exploring the benefits, advantages or disadvantages of converting to become an Academy and joining the Multi Academy Trust (MAT)  called Scholars’ Education Trust (SET).  The research into whether academisation and joining a MAT is right for the school started in November 2021.  This has given the Governing Body time and information to support its decision-making process.   We have been in formal due-diligence with SET since April 2022.

This is a matter that schools up and down the country have been thinking about since the Academies programme began in 2010. As of January 2022, 45.5 percent of all schools are academies (79.8 percent of secondary schools and 38.6 percent of primary schools). Many of these academies are part of a Multi Academy Trusts (MAT) with other academies. This enables them to work in close partnership, learning from and supporting each other, and sharing resources to enable them to make the most from their budgets. There are 1,197 MATs in England with two or more schools. Over half of all pupils in England attend an Academy. In April 2022 the Education White Paper also reaffirmed the government’s intentions that all schools are part of strong trusts.

It is our proposal that the School should join SET, formed of five other academies within the Hertfordshire/Bedfordshire area.

We believe this would bring the following five, significant, advantages:

  1. Working in collaboration with other strong schools to secure better education opportunities and outcomes for all students.
  2. Working in collaboration with other strong schools to recruit, retain, train and develop the very best teaching and non-teaching staff.
  3. Working in collaboration with other strong schools to find efficiencies, economies of scale and savings in operational costs so that more money can be invested in children’s well being and education.
  4. Working in collaboration with other strong schools to provide leadership, security and direction during difficult times and periods of change.
  5. Working in collaboration with other strong schools to ensure the highest levels of safeguarding of children’s physical and mental health.

This process of due-diligence and formal consultation has, and will operate to the following timeline:

On the 31st March the school began a process of due diligence with SET, by:

  • A presentation to, and open meeting with, all staff
  • A special newsletter to parents and carers:  a link is here
  • An open letter to all feeder schools and local secondary schools: a link is here
  • A letter to Hertfordshire County Council (HCC): a link is here
  • A letter to Herts for Learning (HfL): a link is here

On the 4th May 2022 the school wrote an open letter to  all trade unions and professional bodies represented in the school workforce: a link is here

On the 11th May 2022 the  Governors of the School published a formal consultation on the proposal to convert to Academy status and join SET, by:

From 11th May 2022 to 1st June 2022 we held a formal consultation and encouraged stakeholders to take part by:

  • Using a special email address, and/or
  • Writing to us at SET Consultation, The Hemel Hempstead School, Heath Lane, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1TX, and/or
  • Completing the online survey send to you by letter on the 11th May 2002, and/or
  • Attending the open meeting for all parents and carers, at the school in M9, on 18th May 2022, at 1800hrs

This consultation is now closed and the outcomes of it are published here:

  • Formal Consultation Report of the question of joining Scholars’ Education Trust: a link is here

Formal due-diligence has now been completed and the Frequently Asked Questions updated:

  • Final FAQ presentation (updated 23rd November 2022) for all stakeholders: a link is here

At an  Extraordinary Meeting on the 30th November 2022, the Governing Body made the final decision to  join Scholar’s Education Trust and this was approved by the Secretary of State for Education with the granting of an Academy Order.

The Hemel Hempstead School will convert to an academy and join Scholars’ Education Trust on the 1st April 2023.