Joining the Trust
Who can join?
Our Trust was set up by the Diocese of Chichester as its first academy trust offer. Any school who is willing and able to offer high quality of education within our Christian vision, ethos and values is warmly welcomed to join our family of schools. We recently welcomed our first non-Church of England School into the Trust.
As a church trust we can provide high quality support for schools that are:
- Outstanding and ready and able to develop the quality of education in other schools
- Strong, but want to be part of a larger hub/group to collectively drive improvement
- Defined as a ‘small’ school and are motivated, as above, to create a group of schools to drive improvement and to benefit from economies of scale
- In need of improvement and are seeking a high-quality, supportive, ‘hands on’ school improvement
Why become an academy?
This question is answered differently dependent on each school’s context. In our work we are approached by different schools who have decided to explore becoming an academy for a variety of different reasons. These include:
- A desire to work with other schools on a more formal footing
- Freeing up the Headteacher to focus on the quality of education with the Trust taking on a wide range of back office functions
- Unhappiness with the support currently provided
- A commitment to being a Church School and a desire to protect/develop this
- Wanting to delay Ofsted with the schedule resetting when academisation takes place
- As a small school a push to join up with others to become financially viable
- Wanting to access new funding streams as an academy. E.g. capital
DCAT Headteachers expressed why they joined the Trust and why others may wish to do so. Their comments included:
- “To retain Christian characteristics”
- “The Trust cares”
- “Reputation – heard good things”
- “To stay in a Christian family – values etc”
- “Had explored other options”
- “The Trust allows schools to celebrate and explore being a church school”
- “Support network”
- “The Trust allows and recognises each school as individual”
Academisation originated as a Labour policy as far back as 2005 and this agenda has been built upon by the Coalition and the Conservative party. Over 50% of children in the Country are now education in an academy.
Academisation itself responded to the school-led agenda, which looked to schools themselves to work together to drive improvement. Multi Academy Trusts, such as DCAT, are designed to bring leaders together, to share resources, and through collaborative approaches add more value than they are able to do alone.
Common fears and ‘myths’
There are a range of questions that are raised with us when schools are considering becoming an academy. Common fears are: Will it cost us to join? How does our autonomy change? How does our governance change? Answers to these questions any many more can be found in the FAQ section of our website.