Parent Questions 1


Q: Do we have a choice in joining the trust?

A: The reality is that there is no choice. Governors have been seeking a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) to join under the recommendation of the Department Of Education since May. After investigating several options the governors came up with a short list which included the Wensum Trust. The Office for Regional Schools Commissioner then matched us to the Wensum Trust and the Department of Education ratified the decision a few weeks ago.


Q: If we do join the trust how much influence in decision-making in the future will our current board have?

A: That is yet to be finalised. The advantage of joining a MAT that contains a very successful high school is that we can lean on them for best practice and to help raise standards. There will be a local governing body but its remit is yet to be agreed. It is clear that the new local governing board will be the main body to provide challenge to ensure that standards are improving. Financial, staffing and other matters are likely to be handled by the MAT, at least while Acle is going through its improvement phase.


Q: Can we have a meeting with the board and the trust and also the parents soon as possible?

A: As advertised, that was the purpose of the meeting on the 14th December at which our Acting Head was present to represent the school, Gerry Batty was there to represent the Wensum Trust and Rob Hayles was there to represent the Governors.


Q: Will the financial situation of the school affect next year's prom and if so what is being done to support you need help fundraising or is there another plan in place.

A: No, this will have no effect on the 2016 Leavers Prom.


Q: Can we please have in writing the current action plan of how you will be supporting the current year 11's through their GCSEs. 

A: Some things are being done already, but the formal plan will be published at the start of next term.


Q: When will the new headteacher be appointed, if we're not going to appointment one what are the reasons behind this

A: Currently we have a very good Acting Head of whom the Governors are fully supportive of. When a school is part of a Trust the role of Headteacher becomes redundant and you have a Head Of School. Whilst to parents these are one and the same thing there is technical difference between the two roles which we have to be very careful about. Please expect a formal update on this shortly.


Q: When will the staffing cuts take place and how will this affect the school.

A: The staffing cuts will take effect from September 2016. Whilst clearly there is a painful process to go through, the effect on the school will only be positive. The most obvious change is that we will have fewer classes in some year groups.


Q: When is all the literature websites phones and information on the Internet going to be updated as it gives misleading information.

A: The website is being updated all the time, and I agree some parts are out of date. The current website it is cluttered and difficult to navigate. Governors have chosen not to spent money re-designing the website until we had joined the MAT in case there are any software packages and/or expertise we can leverage from other members of the MAT.


Q: Why aren't we officially in special measures is this due to the upcoming OFSTED results and will that happen afterwards.

A: Whether the school is officially in special measures or not does not affect the changes being put in place within the school at the moment. The only difference is if we were officially in special measures is that there would be additional monitoring from Ofsted, the change has to come from within the school. The results from the most recent Ofsted inspection should be available soon after Christmas.


Q: Can parents please be informed as soon as possible of any changes for example teachers leaving as we are emailing problems to people who a not in their normal roles or who have left and this brings more frustration.

A: Good point, sometimes our hands are tied, but we will discuss how we can best inform parents quickly and effectively on any staffing changes (temporary and permanent)


Q: How are the school and the board going to tackle the morale in school for the staff and the pupils. My suggestion is nurtured heart as they already work for the Benjamin foundation which is part of the cluster group so indirectly are employed by the school.

A: This is something we need to discuss internally, but your concerns are very heart warming.


Q: Who will be the head of year for year eights as Miss Schofield has moved on to do something else and Mr Becker is now leaving.

A: Lisa Frary who is currently Head of Year 10, will take on Year 8, with the support of Neil Hurren,


Q: If within three years all schools have to join a trust why are we not joining a trust that contains our own cluster group of schools.

A: There is no timetable for when other schools may join the Wensum Trust and indeed if, when and what trust any of our feeder schools join is not within our sphere of influence. That aside, we need to be selfish here: Acle Academy needs help and we need to be part of a trust that contains a strong high school who can help us get back to where we should be. The fact that Head of that school (who is now the head of the trust) used to be the Head at Acle and is passionate about Acle is a bonus that the governors welcomed.


Q: How much of a deficit is the school in and how are you planning to resolve this.

A: We used some very specific terminology during the meeting and that may have confused. The school currently has an ‘in-year deficit budget’ which means our outgoings are greater than our income in the current academic year. The school has reserves which Governors are using this year to fund the deficit. The staffing restructure was required regardless of whether we joined a MAT or not due the demographic of our catchment area and the falling student roll and should ensure a balanced budget going forward.

18th December 2015

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