Highfields governors are responsible for securing a better future for our students and staff.
With this in mind, the governing body has been considering, since 2017, the potential benefits of forming or joining a multi-academy trust. Recently, several events have increased the governors’ resolve to explore this option:
- Peak 11, a support network to which Highfields has belonged for many years, has disbanded after a number of its members moved away from the network to join or form trusts. This has left Highfields without collaborative partners with whom they might work closely.
- The Covid 19 crisis has provided a stark illustration of the benefits of working collaboratively with a strong team of schools such as those within a trust. As a standalone school Highfields’ capacity to respond to a succession of crises has been stretched because of their inability to draw on the combined resources of a strong team.
- The local authority is unable to commit to the repair, renovation and redevelopment required to stop Highfields facilities and premises becoming obsolete over the next 5-10 years. In contrast, our potential partner, EMET, has given assurances that such investment in students’ and staff working environment WILL be undertaken.
After pausing this discussion for sixth months during lockdown in March 2020 we consulted informally with stakeholders in November 2020 regarding joining our chosen trust, EMET (East Midland Educational Trust). This consultation gave all stakeholders the opportunity to look at relevant evidence and to meet EMET staff in a series of online meetings. The response to the consultation was positive, especially amongst families. We therefore applied for in-principle agreement to proceed to formal consultation in order to find out more about the views of stakeholders.
However, we paused this progress again in November 2020 to allow school staff to focus on dealing with remote education and Covid 19 risk management. Governors will meet again in 2021 to review their position. Governors will always aim to balance staff and parent views alongside the pressing need to achieve the best future possible for our students and staff. Governors believe in total transparency for stakeholders and will continue to provide all available information about our decision making process.
Governors are mindful of the restrictions which Covid may place on our ability to consult face to face with large groups. However, we are satisfied that meaningful consultation can still take place using a variety of other communication tools.
Covid 19, as well as delaying progress in this matter, is also a reason for governors to move this process forward: Highfields needs to be part of a strong team of schools in order to face what is likely to be a challenging and uncertain post pandemic educational landscape.