FUTURE OF WOODSIDE JUNIOR SCHOOL
As you may know, many English schools in recent years have become 'academies,' in response to government policies on school organisation. An academy is no longer maintained by the Local Authority but by an independent charitable trust, and is funded direct by central government. Schools making the switch currently, almost without exception, do so not on their own but by joining a group of schools governed by a single board of trustees, known as a multi-academy trust (MAT).
The governors of Woodside Junior School have decided that the school should now take that step. Our future as a Local Authority-maintained school is becoming more isolated and insecure as other local schools take the MAT route, and as the capacity of the Authority to support its schools diminishes. Among the advantages of being in a MAT are that we will be able to share in a larger pool of expertise and resources; have the support of the Trust's central management and administrative services; have available to us many more staff development opportunities and career pathways; and have the opportunity to contribute to the development of a school-led system, in which schools support each other rather than rely on an external source of guidance and advice on school improvement.
The MAT we are seeking to join is the Oxford Diocesan Bucks Schools Trust (ODBST). This is a fairly new trust in the county, but is sister to a well-established parallel trust in Oxfordshire which now maintains some 30 schools educating 3500 children. The considerable expertise and experience of the Oxfordshire Trust are being brought to bear on the development of its Buckinghamshire counterpart. Both have their origins in the Diocesan Board of Education, which continues to have a significant role in their governance, but their schools are not expected to subscribe to any particular faith: the ethos of both derives from the ancient Church tradition of serving the community by helping its children to flourish regardless of background or belief.
It may interest you to know that among the local schools which have already joined ODBST are Chesham Bois Combined and Thomas Harding Junior School, with whom we already work closely. Our own participation in ODBST would strengthen our relations with them and help to form a natural local cluster.
Although the transition may not appear to change very much on the surface, for the reasons outlined above we believe that the deeper effects will be both profound and beneficial to your children. There are several substantial processes to be gone through before completion, and we are unlikely to be there before spring 2019. We will keep you informed about our progress but in the meantime, if you have questions or points you would like to raise please don't hesitate to contact the Headteacher via the school office.
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