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Spurcroft Primary School and Nursery

The future begins here...

Consultation on becoming an academy

As a Governing Board, we would like to seek views on converting our school to an academy, and joining the Equinox Learning Trust. 


After researching a number of trusts, we believe that Equinox Learning Trust is a a natural partner for Spurcroft as a well-established part of the Thatcham community. The trust also has similar values and ethos as ours.


We have already benefited from working with the Trust in a number of areas. We now believe that extending this relationship to formally join the trust will have significant benefits for school life. We also believe that Spurcroft joining the Trust, will bring benefits to the Trust.  


It will offer improved teaching and learning for our pupils because expertise and resources can be shared across the Trust. There will also be greater support for the Senior Leadership Team and more training opportunities for our staff.


Outside of the classrooms, we also anticipate greater direct support for finance management, property, health and safety technology, and contracts and procurement.


Joining Equinox Learning Trust will give us the support that we need to move Spurcroft forward and to be the best school it can be.


We would like you to submit any thoughts and questions on this proposal using the form below. The consultation will close at 3pm on Tuesday 23rd July 2024.


Following the consultation, the Governing Board will consider the feedback from all stakeholders before making a final decision. 


Frequently asked questions


What is an academy?

Academies receive funding directly from the government (the Education and Skills Funding Agency) rather than through the local authority (West Berkshire Council). They are run by a multi-academy trust; they do not charge fees to pupils. Academies are inspected by Ofsted, their pupils sit the same exams and academies follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools.


What is a multi-academy trust?
A multi-academy trust is a group of schools who all belong to the same academy group. They are charitable trusts that cannot be run for profit. They employ the staff and have trustees who are responsible for the performance of the academies in the trust. The schools remain independent of each other, but work together and some services are provided centrally, such as HR, Finance, and IT.

What are the benefits of this for our school?
The benefits include:
•    improved teaching and learning for our pupils
•    better support for the headteacher and Senior Leadership Team
•    more access to a wider range of expertise and resources across the trust
•    more training opportunities for our staff
•    greater freedom in how to spend government funding
•    improved financial efficiency from
          -     buying goods and services at a larger scale across the trust
          -    sharing staff, including specialist staff who work centrally for the trust


What are the benefits for the Trust if Spurcroft joins?

The benefits include:

•    sharing our phonics expertise with the other primary schools in the Trust

•    sharing our Nursery expertise

•    bringing leadership experience from our established headteacher and leadership team

•    exploring making good use of our buildings for the benefit of the community

•    opportunities to benefit the 95% of our pupils who join the secondary school in the Trust.  •  •    Spurcroft’s strengths will be warmly welcomed into the Trust, and together we will collectively enhance our capacity to deliver high-quality education, support professional development, and foster a collaborative, inclusive, and innovative learning environment for all.


What will change?
Our pupils will notice greater access to resources and an improved school site. Apart from this, the school will remain the same welcoming place for pupils that it is now. This proposal is intended to invest in, and continue to improve, our school. Our staff will have access to more support and expertise, enabling them to focus more on the job of teaching and learning.

How will this affect admissions?
By law, academies have to follow the same code of admissions as state-maintained schools – the difference is that academy trusts are their own admissions authority.

Will the trust or trustees make a profit from the school?
No. Academy trusts are charities, and any surplus or other income must be used to benefit pupils.

Will the trust take any money away from our school?

The trust will receive our funding, known as the general annual grant (GAG). It will collect a proportion of this money to pay for some central services and will consider the funding needs and allocations of each academy.

How much is academy conversion going to cost?
The cost of the conversion will be a maximum of £25000 per school which is funded by a grant from the Department for Education (DfE). Any funds remaining from the £25000 grant must be returned to the DfE.

Will the school still be inspected by Ofsted?
Academies are inspected by Ofsted and are held to the same standards as other state-run schools.

Will the school still follow the National Curriculum?
Academies don’t have to follow the National Curriculum. As a school, we will continue to follow the high- quality curriculum we have implemented which is in line with the National Curriculum. The trust has no expectation for schools to change their curriculum.

Will there be any changes to our name/logo/uniform?
There are no plans to change the school name, logo or uniform as part of this process. We remain committed to keeping the uniform as affordable as possible for parents/carers.

Will term times change?
The Term dates of the Trust are broadly in line with the dates of other West Berkshire schools.
What about special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)?
Academies have the same requirements as state schools to support pupils with SEND. As a school, we pride ourselves on the support we give to children with SEND. By joining this trust, we believe that we will be able to further improve our SEN provision and provide more specialist support.

What will this mean for school staff?
All of our staff members’ existing employment rights and pension entitlements will be protected under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) process.


How can I give my views?

Parents/Carers and staff can submit your thoughts and questions on this proposal using the form that has been sent out to you.


Members of the community can submit feedback using this form 


The consultation will close at 3pm on Tuesday 23rd July 2024.

What are the next steps?
Following the consultation, the Governing Board will make a decision on whether to apply to join the Trust. It is then up the Department for Education to make the final decision.