North Star Community Trust
Exciting new future: Consultation on the amalgamation of Cuckoo Hall Academy with Woodpecker Hall Academy And Variation to Woodpecker Hall Academy’s determined admissions arrangements 2021.
In June we announced plans for an exciting new future for both schools and our families.
Our vision is to create a single, new school on the site with four forms of entry. Amalgamation will produce significant savings, which will make the new school sustainable in the long term to ensure that we can provide the best possible education to the children in our community.
The decline in pupil numbers at both schools, due to demographic reasons, is very serious because of its financial impact on each school. Schools essentially receive funding for each pupil they have, with various top up grants. This has already, therefore, meant a shortfall of £400k in funding, which the Trust has had to cover to run the schools over the past year. This huge level of financial support from the Trust as a whole cannot continue.
We started the process of bringing the two schools together to create a new school by creating a single leadership team.
When schools amalgamate, they are required by the Department for Education (DfE) to undertake a consultation, including on technical matters such as changing admission arrangements.
We believe amalgamation is the best option for the future. It will create a single, sustainable new school on the site, with four forms of entry, and with great teaching and learning resources for the children. Our mission as a Trust is to provide outstanding education and life-changing opportunities for all our children. Moving forward, amalgamating the two schools will help us achieve this goal.
The Trust currently operates the two primary academies on the same site. Overtime, it has become clear to the Trustees that the operation of two separately registered academies creates a significant amount of duplication in costs and resources. The decline in pupil numbers at both schools has resulted in a short fall of £400,000. In view of the proximity of the two academies on the same site and serving the same community, it makes little sense to incur duplicated costs. Nor does it present value for money.
Trustees are also mindful of the reduced need for pupil places in the area that both academies serve. In discussion with various senior local government officials and reviewing local demographic data it is clear that the numbers of reception age children will not increase in the next five years, and this will create an ongoing severe financial strain on the two schools. The Trust must be proactive in addressing these issues to ensure that the quality of education is not impacted for any of the pupils concerned. The savings made can be reinvested into the educational resources available for pupils currently attending both academies but under a single educational establishment.
How and when will this be achieved?
Pupils will continue to attend either Cuckoo Hall or Woodpecker Hall as usual. When we get to the stage of making better use of the buildings in both schools, different classrooms and study areas may be used. Over the next 12 months, there will be minimal changes.
Our proposal is to bring both academies together to pool resources and to reduce the costs associated with running two separately registered academies. To achieve this Woodpecker Hall will be expanded to be a four-form entry school with many new facilities to benefit the children and the community. During the expansion of Woodpecker Hall we will continue to use both academies buildings, to ensure children’s learning is not impacted.
We will stop using the name Cuckoo Hall Academy from September 2021. Both schools will operate under the name Woodpecker Hall Academy and over the next 3 years will move into the proposed expanded state of the art buildings at Woodpecker Hall.
There will be a total of 120 places per year group and a new published admissions number (“PAN”) of 120 for the single academy: Woodpecker Hall Academy. The amalgamation will require a variation therefore to Woodpecker Hall Academy’s determined admissions arrangements for September 2021. A mini admissions process will be required and will be in place for the amalgamation of both schools. More information will be provided once the amalgamation is approved.
We wrote to our families about amalgamation in June. Please see a copy of the letter here.
We want to hear your views
The Trust welcomes views from all stakeholders about our proposal. This consultation will run until 9 November 2020. Any views or queries arising out of this consultation can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting it to Executive Assistant, CHAT Academies, Cuckoo Hall Academy, Cuckoo Hall Lane, London N9 8DR.