Manor Hall Ac...

Manor Hall Academy Trust

March 2016

Dear Parent/carer

As you will remember, I wrote to you at the end of the summer term last year explaining our intention to convert to academy status and to join the Shaw Education Multi Academy Trust. It was the opinion of the governing body at both Springfield School and The Meadows School that converting to academy status, whilst we have the opportunity to decide how we do this and who we do this with, was essential.

We believed the Shaw Education Trust offered the best opportunity at that time for Springfield and The Meadows to develop and improve. We believed the newly formed Trust would be a special school led trust, a collaboration of equal partners without a hierarchical structure, with schools keeping their individual autonomy so that they could provide what the children and young people in that locality need most.

We experienced several delays in our applications, finally receiving approval in December 2015, we were therefore not able to begin the due diligence process until January 2016. The due diligence process should be an open and honest conversation between the Multi Academy Trust and the individual schools so that both parties can be sure that it is the right decision for everyone concerned. It includes discussions about the needs of the school, the current and future financial situation, the structure of the Trust, the representation of the school within the Trust and the levels of autonomy for individual schools- in other words the freedoms schools have to make their own decisions.

Having carried out this due diligence process, The Governing Bodies of Springfield and The Meadows no longer believe joining the Shaw Education Trust is the best option for either school and have formally withdrawn the applications.

We still intend to pursue conversion to academy status but we will do this with a partner that fits our vision. The governing bodies have considered several options, each of which offer a bright and exciting future for the children, students, young people and staff. The preferred option of the Governing Bodies is to convert to academy status and join the Manor Hall Trust.

The Manor Hall Trust was established in August 2015 by Loxley Hall School and Cicely Haughton School. These schools provide education for children and young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties. The ethos of the schools is centred upon building relationships. Only by building a strong relationship with young people can adults begin to educate. This ethos is very similar to our own- for us the relationships between staff and student is our greatest strength and is the most important factor leading to students making progress. As part of the Manor Hall Trust we will continue to foster these strong relationships and will have the opportunity to learn from each other. Together we will cover the full continuum of special educational needs. There are many specialist skills that could be shared between the schools to improve the opportunities for all.

The Manor Hall Trust aims to grow and include other special schools but significantly it recognises there is a limit to how big it should become. It aims to create a “Flat” Multi Academy Trust where each school has representation at board level and is led not by a CEO or hierarchical structure but by a collaboration of school leaders from each school.

We will have to begin a new application with the Department for Education as we will need approval to convert with the Manor Hall Trust. We hope that we will be in a position to convert by September 1st 2016 however this is dependent upon the speed at which the DfE and Local Authority can work. There are many schools currently in the conversion process and resources are stretched.

In the meantime, here are some reminders of some of the key facts around conversion to academy status.

There are no plans to change how the school functions on a day-to-day basis, and there are no plans to change the school day or the pattern of holidays. Our provision and ethos will remain the same.

Admissions will continue to be co-ordinated by Staffordshire Local Authority, and the Trust will continue to act in accordance with the Government’s Code of Practice for Admissions.

Our working relationship with health and social care providers will not change, and the nursing, physiotherapy and speech and language services will continue as normal.

All staff currently employed by The Meadows School would become employees of the Manor Hall Trust. The employment rights of all members of staff would be protected by TUPE, Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations 2006 as amended by The Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014. This means that these employment rights would transfer to the Trust under the same terms and conditions of employment. Pension rights and continuity of service record would be preserved.

The governing body would be reconstituted as an Academy Council, and retain all existing earned autonomy to be accountable for the school and its running.

If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely


Christopher Best



Clive Lilley

Chair of Governors



Links to other schools who are part of the Manor Hall Trust

Loxley Hall School, Uttoxeter

Cicely Haughton School, Wetley Rocks

Link to Merryfields School, Newcastle under Lyme – now also part of the Trust