We welcome all new schools to our Trust family and look forward to getting to know their staff, students and community family so that we can work together to create a brighter future. 

For schools interested in joining the Shaw Education Trust, we’ve created this step-by-step timeline of events outlining the different actions to be taken before academisation. Our team will support you throughout the process, with academisation taking as little as three to four months from start to finish. 

Schools and their governing boards should ask themselves:
•    What are the main drivers behind your decision to join a multi academy trust?
•    Are you looking for ways to improve your performance?
•    Do you want to safeguard your school’s long-term financial future?
•    Are you keen to improve your governance?
•    Do you want to provide new opportunities for your staff?

If you are interested in joining our family of schools, simply reach out to us by using the contact form on our website. Don’t forget to include the name and phase of your school, your name and role at the school, and your relevant contact details. 

Once we have received your enquiry, a member of the Trust leadership team will be in touch. From here, we will discuss your school’s needs, vision and values, how these align with the Trust, and why you want to join our MAT. This initial discussion is a good opportunity for your school to ask any leading questions and find out more about how your school can benefit from being part of our alliance. 

At this point you will be assigned a designated member of the Trust leadership team who will support you through the process and will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. 

Due diligence
Both the interested school and the Trust carry out an information gathering exercise. It shouldn’t just be focused on compliance; ultimately both parties should have confidence in the merits of one another. While undertaking due diligence, the following areas should be taken into consideration: 
•    Ethos and culture
•    Vision and strategy 
•    Size and capacity 
•    Geography
•    Diversity 
•    Performance, challenge and support
•    Leadership and governance
•    Finances
•    Legal and commercial 

Members of the Trust central team will be on hand to ensure the school receives all necessary information and answer any questions they may have about our operations, education and leadership teams. 

Stakeholder consultation 
While the decision to apply for academy status is ultimately made by the school’s governors, before they go through the academisation process and joins our multi-academy trust, they should make anybody with authority over the school aware of their intentions. This involves the school governing board consulting with the leadership team and, if you are a maintained school, informing the local authority. 

In line with Department for Education guidance, your governing body must consult formally about your school’s plans to become an academy with anyone who has an interest in your school. This will include staff members and parents, but you should also involve pupils and the wider local community. The Education and Adoption Act 2016 clarifies that this consultation can occur before or after an academy order, or an application by the governors for an academy order, has been made.

Schools may also wish to talk to their DfE Regional Director at this stage in order to find out more about how the landscape in their area is evolving and about the types of partnership the Regional Schools Commissioners are likely to approve.

Approval and legal actions 
Schools must register their interest in applying for academy status with the Department for Education. Following this, the governing board can take a vote on whether the school are to convert to academy status. This decision can be made by a majority of those present at the meeting of the governing body.

In the case of foundation schools and voluntary schools, the governing body may only apply for academy status with the agreement of any existing trust and those entitled to appoint any foundation governors. 

The academy application then goes to the Secretary of State for Education and, once approved, an ‘academy order’ is issued which gives the school the legal right to start the conversion process.

From here, and with the support of the multi-academy trust, schools can then apply for the conversion grant, establish new governance arrangements, register the academy trust and so on. An important aspect of the conversion process is undertaking the TUPE consultation and ensuring that information on employees’ transfer rights are provided by the employer to union reps. Our HR team will be able to support the school with completing this task. 

Once all the legal arrangements are in place, the school and multi-academy trust sign the funding agreement with the Secretary of State, or his/her representative, and the academy conversion process is complete. 

Onboarding checklists 
When joining our Trust, we provide you with a comprehensive checklist of any necessary actions that are required, including in relation to HR, finance, IT, estates, marketing and data protection. In the months running up to the conversion date, members of the Trust’s central team will support you in ensuring any relevant information is collated and the appropriate actions are taken, helping you to have a hassle-free academisation.  

Join and announce
On the agreed upon date you officially become part of the Shaw Education Trust family! Our Marketing and Communications team will help you to announce the great partnership in the local press and throughout the wider community, while our Trust leaders will provide on-hand support in school to ease the transition. We can’t wait to have you onboard and look forward to working with you to ensure all children are able to reach their full potential. 

If you'd like to start a conversation about joining our Trust please get in touch via our contact form.
We look forward to hearing from you