For the attention of pupils, parents and staff
The governing boards of Lauriston School and the existing Federation of Daubeney and Sebright Primary Schools propose the federation of their schools from 1 April 2018. This is an important matter and before making a final decision, the governors of each school wish to seek the views of the pupils and their families, members of staff as well as stakeholders within the wider community.
Under the Education Act 2002, schools and local authorities can propose that schools join together to create a federation. A federation is formed when two or more schools agree to work together on a formal basis through a single governing board. Federation schools remain separate schools at their existing sites with their own names and own identities. They have separate Ofsted inspections and continue to report separate results.
This document sets out the reasons why the governing boards of each school believe this proposal is a good idea and the benefits for pupils, parents and staff. It also provides information about the vision that the extended federation has for its family of schools.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions
What regulations apply to governing boards proposing to federate?
The consultation process is determined by The School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2012. These Regulations apply to governing bodies of maintained schools in England that are either federated governing bodies or are proposing to federate.
It is important to note that The School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 made provision to amend the number of parent governors allowed on the governing board of a federation.
What do the regulations require in the constitution of a federation governing board?
The regulations that determine the constitution of the federated governing board are different to those that apply to standalone schools.
The constitution of a federated governing board must include the following:
- two parent governors;
- the head teacher of each federated school (unless any such head teacher resigns the office of governor);
- one staff governor;
- one local authority governor.
The governing board may in addition appoint such number of co-opted governors as they consider necessary. Members of staff cannot make up more than one third of the governing board.
Is this a vote to decide on the proposal?
After consultation, the full governing board of each individual school must separately consider and decide whether or not to federate. The consultation process is used to seek the views of a stakeholders to inform these governing boards before they make that decision.
What options did the governors at Lauriston consider before they decided to consult to federate?
Minutes from the relevant meeting of the Governing Board can be found on the Governors Minutes page.
Are there any third party financial interests involved in the proposed federation?
Federations are structures created to govern more than one maintained school. They have no financial interests separate to the schools they govern.
The financial arrangements for all maintained schools within Hackney (federated and standalone) are managed according to robust financial processes and procedures which are outlined in the Schools Financial Procedures Manual and the DfE Schools Financial Value Standard regulations. The control mechanisms in place take into account EU procurement rules; delegation of authority; authorised signatories agreed by the LA Chief Finance Officer. The financial management of all schools is further scrutinised by internal and external audit.
Governors, school leaders and managers are held to account for the public monies they manage; external income will be administered under the same controls, as well as any further reporting conditions applied by the funder. These processes remain the same when schools choose to federate.
What will staff be paid within the federation?
Management of a school’s staffing is done in agreement with the governing board of a federation or standalone school. The practice is usually delegated to the headteacher.
Individual school expenditure, including information on staff costs, is available on the Department for Education benchmarking website.
Will the proposed federation assume financial accountability for all three schools?
Yes, financial accountability for all three schools (including their assets and liabilities) will become the responsibility of the governing board, which is answerable to the London Borough of Hackney, as it does now. Under the proposal, the schools will continue to adhere to the Local Authority's financial procedures and governors will continue to have a role managing expenditure and agreeing annual budgets. The schools will still be funded individually and the governing board may choose to maintain separate accounts or they could decide to merge the accounts across the 3 schools to benefit from economies of scale . Whether or not the governing board decide to pool resources, the accountability remains the same and the board will responsible for ensuring that one school is not being treated unfairly.
Individual school expenditure information is available on the Department for Education benchmarking website.
Does this mean the schools will become academies?
No, our proposal is for a federation of three maintained schools only, not a multi-academy trust. We believe that this is the best way for the schools to work together to provide the best outcomes for our pupils.
Why have the results of the Lauriston School Parent Survey conducted in June 2016 not been shared?
There has been a more recent survey which supersedes the 2016 parent survey and therefore is more relevant. The survey formed part of the Ofsted inspection in June 2017 and can be found on the Parent View website.
Will there be a meeting arranged with governors to consult on the proposed federation?
Three separate meetings were held in three different locations which all parents were invited to attend, details of which can be found on page 10 of the consultation document. A letter was sent to parents when the consultation went live and reminders were also sent by text message, email and through the school newsletter.
We understand that there is now a vacancy for a parent governor Lauriston School. Why has this not been communicated to parents? Have the parents lost representation on the Governing Board during this time?
There has been a recent governor resignation that leaves a vacancy for a parent governor at Lauriston. Minutes of the December Governing Board meeting where this was discussed will be made available on the Lauriston School website when approved. The Governing Board continues to function as before, informed by the views of parents and other members of the school community. It is helpful to note the definition of a school governor from the National Governance Association:
"All governors regardless of their constituency are elected or appointed with one common purpose - to govern the school in the best interest of pupils. Parent governors are no exception. They are not elected to represent their stakeholder group, but are elected in order to contribute to the work of the governing body in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children and young people in the school, contributing to strategic discussion, holding senior leaders to account by monitoring school performance and ensuring money is well spent."
What are the results of the schools during the last two or three sittings?
Results of all three schools can be found by searching for published data from the DfE school performance tables.
Are Daubeney or Sebright affiliated with any secondary school?
Daubeney and Sebright are not affiliated with any secondary school.
What is the relationship between the schools’ senior teachers and management?
If Lauriston School were to join in federation with Daubeney and Sebright Primary Schools, the strategic leadership of the Executive Headteacher would continue. Each school would continue to have its own leadership structure with a Head of School, who will work in collaboration with their counterparts at the partner schools, reporting to the Executive Headteacher.
What considerations were given to the Lauriston Governing Body as an alternative to federation?
During the course of the soft partnership arrangement between Lauriston and Sebright/Daubeney, the governing board of Lauriston have been mindful of considering the options available once this partnership ended. The board concluded their considerations at the meeting in July 2017 and took a decision to seek the permission from the governing board Sebright/ Daubeney to join their federation, and as such to bring forward a consultation. The consultation document sets out the reasons for this proposal.
The regulations provide that there must be 2 parent governors; can the board agree that this representation is extended, for example to 3 to allow a representative of each school ?
The federation regulations provide for only 2 parent governors drawn from across the schools, and who have been elected by the collective parent body. However, the governing board of the federation will have collective responsibility for selecting all co-opted governors, and they may as such consider a parent of one of the schools to fill a co-opted seat on the board.
The appropriate regulation can be found on legislation.gov.uk.
What do the governors consider will be the specific benefits to the pupils should Lauriston federate?
This question is already addressed within the consultation document.
Will the proposed federation commit to providing pupils with a balanced curriculum that will properly encompass a broad music, drama and arts offering throughout the schools?
Every school is already required to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum and this will continue. All schools are also inspected on this basis. For example, the Lauriston School 2017 Ofsted report states that art work is of a high standard. The existing curriculum offers many opportunities in music, art, drama, languages and a whole host of exciting subjects as part of topic based whole school approach.
Will the proposed federation commit to ensuring that the curriculum (and finances) are not almost exclusively directed at results driven endeavours? In other words, will the proposed federation recognise that balance needs to be achieved and different pupil needs and attributes responded to?
Every school is already required to meet the wider needs of all pupils and are inspected on this basis. We will as such continue to do this with the resources available to us whilst delivering the broad and balanced curriculum.
What are the financial drivers for federating? What are the potential positive and negative financial consequences of federating or not?
This question is already addressed within the consultation document
Why is Lauriston not returning to be a standalone school as first indicated in 2015?
The Governing Body of Lauriston School did, in 2015, begin the partnership with the intention of returning to a standalone arrangement within two years. However, following the early successes achieved and progress made by the leadership team, it was felt that federation needed to be considered within the options for the long term future of the school.
Can you conduct an open meeting with parents and carers before the consultation period ends on Feb 8th at 1pm?
We have organised additional drop in sessions which all parents were able to attend. The session at Lauriston School was held on Monday 5th February.
Can you present the key findings of your research and evaluation of options available to Lauriston school, in particular the financial and operational implications of federation vs stand-alone school?
At this stage, we are consulting on the single option of whether to federate the three schools. We have identified relevant information about this proposal in the consultation document.
Can you tell us how future communications between the new Governing Body and parents/carers will be handled?
Communication with parents will be an important aspect of the work of the proposed federation governing body. If agreed, it will for the board to work with parents to establish the best means of communicating and maintaining an appropriate flow of information.
Can you publish the latest Lauriston Parent Survey which closed on June 30, 2017?
It was the Lauriston Governing Board’s intention to carry out the survey as notified on 5th June 2017. The following week on 13th June Lauriston had an OFSTED inspection. Parents views were collected via Parent View during the inspection and can be found on the Parent View website.