Proposed Federation with Oakington Primary School

Monday, 19th June 2017
Dear Parents/Carers

I am very pleased to inform you that we have decided to begin the formal consultation process towards federation with Oakington Church of England Primary School. This is a significant event for the school. Dry Drayton Church of England Primary School has, as you know, benefited greatly from the partnership with another school this year, including school leadership, and this experience, among other considerations, has convinced the governors that federation is highly desirable for the school. Huge thanks go to Mrs Katie Kendall, our Interim Headteacher, and Mrs Karen Stanton, the Headteacher at Caldecote Primary School, for their work with the school over the past year, and the progress that has been achieved. We have known for some time that the arrangement with Caldecote Primary School would only be for this school year, and so the school governors have been working throughout the year towards securing not only long-term school leadership, but also the connection with another school that would allow school improvement to continue in the years ahead. The Diocese favours the federation of church schools, which was a factor in the choice of potential partners. Oakington Church of England Primary School is a good school, very close to Dry Drayton, and possesses leadership capacity to be able federate successfully with Dry Drayton Church of England Primary School.

The discussions required within the governing body, staff and leadership at Oakington have also taken some time, and rightly so. This is an important decision for both schools, and is a long-term commitment. Oakington has also concluded that federating with Dry Drayton is the right thing for that school. Both Dry Drayton and Oakington are seeking the best way of preserving and strengthening the character and qualities of each village school, which includes the distinctive and particular relationship between each school and its local church.

The two federated schools with be led by one Headteacher, and there will be a single governing body, and more distributed leadership responsibility. Foundation Governors from each school will be on the new governing body, and they will be working to ensure the preservation and enhancement of the distinctive Christian vision of each school in relation to their local church.

This is the coming together of two schools, rather than one school taking over the other. Staff, governors, and school leaders at both schools strongly back this proposal to federate.

Federating the two church schools has a formal process and all stakeholders in the schools involved must be consulted. If you have any questions or concerns please come along to
one of the informal drop-in sessions (dates and times below). There will also be furtheopportunities to ask questions during the formal consultation process, which begins with
the forthcoming publication of the formal proposal. We hope that the process will be
successfully concluded before the start of the coming school year, 2017-18, although this
will depend on whether the two schools’ governing bodies are able to convene during the
summer vacation.

In the current climate, this is an exciting opportunity to enhance our schools, make them more resilient in these challenging times, and improve the richness and quality of the educational experience both for our own children, and those of generations to come at both schools.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Taylor (on behalf of the Governing Body)
Chair of Governors, Dry Drayton C of E (C) Primary School

When can I meet the new Headteacher?

The first, informal, opportunity to meet with Mrs Sally Daggianti will, weather permitting, be in the school playground at Dry Drayton on Tues 20th June at c. 3.30pm.

When are the drop-in sessions for Dry Drayton parents?

Wed 21st June 6.00-7.00 pm (in the school hall at Dry Drayton)
Thurs 22nd June 3.15-4.15 pm (in the school hall at Dry Drayton)

We would like to hear any comments, questions, or concerns that you may have. We hope to be able to answer many of your queries, and will take forward others, if necessary, to the Local Authority and/or Diocese, with whom we will be working throughout the consultation process.  At a later date, there will be further consultations, which will be of a more formal nature.

What is a federation?

A federation is a group of two or more schools with a single governing body and an Executive Headteacher over all the schools involved. Structurally, each school in a federation remains a separate institution, has its own unique school number, and receives a separate Ofsted inspection. Schools within a federation share expertise and resources to enhance the education and experience of the children in their care.

Why are we federating?

There are a number of reasons, but fundamentally it is to enhance and strengthen the position of both schools, and to preserve the things each school is passionate about. The schools have many shared visions and values. Federation will allow the schools to benefit directly from each other, and for long-term working relationships to become deeply rooted, producing greater resilience in these challenging times.

Briefly:

  • Dry Drayton is an unusually small primary school, and the way funding is allocated
    has made the recruitment of a Headteacher extremely challenging.
  • The government’s ‘Fairer Funding’ initiative will change the way funds are allocated,and the school’s funding will fall further. The school therefore requires school leadership shared with another school.
  • School budgets are already tight – in a recent survey 1 in 5 parents were being asked to make contributions to everyday school activities. Sharing resources will enable us to make our budgets go further.
  • Federation or academisation is increasingly seen as an inevitable trend. By federating with Oakington, we have been able to choose our partner, based on its compatibility, shared vision, strength and proximity. Pupils and staff at both schools will benefit.
  • In small schools, each staff member has to take on more responsibilities than thosein larger schools, where responsibilities are distributed over a larger number of staff. Federating with Oakington allows this wider distribution, and fosters productiveworking relationships between teachers at both schools.
  • Federating widens the pool of expertise available. Moreover, as federating enhances opportunities for staff, it makes retention and recruitment easier.

Will I get a say?

We would like this process to be as transparent as possible, and to take account of as many suggestions, comments and different viewpoints as possible. In the formal process you will receive a copy of the proposal, and will be invited to attend consultation events and send
comments during a six-week period. You may, of course, contact us with any comments,
questions or concerns at any time, not just within the formal consultation process.

What happens next?

  • A sub-committee of governors from both Oakington and Dry Drayton schools
    (termed the Joint Governance Committee or JGC) will draw up a document
    outlining the formal consultation proposal.
    This proposal will contain details of how the new joint governing body will be made
    up (its ‘constitution’), proposed leadership and staffing arrangements, the proposed
    name for the federation (the two schools retain their names, identities and uniforms), a timetable for the formal consultation process, and a proposed date for federation.
  •  Following approval by both governing bodies, the consultation proposal will be published for comment by staff, parents, carers, LA, Ely Diocese, governors, and all concerned.
  • A minimum six-week consultation period is then allowed for comments from any interested parties to be received.
  • Consultation events during this period will ensure that everyone is fully informed and can comment on the proposal.
  • As soon as the consultation period has closed, the two governing bodies meet to consider collectively the responses to the consultation proposal, and then vote individually whether or not to proceed with the federation.
  • If both governing bodies agree to proceed, the federation formally begins.

Will we share a Headteacher with Oakington?

Yes, the proposal is that Mrs Sally Daggianti, the current Headteacher at Oakington, will be
Executive Headteacher over both schools, dividing her time between the schools, and
aiming to be at both schools for portions of most days.

What will happen when the Headteacher isn’t there?

In each school, there will be senior teachers able to assume responsibility as appropriate.
One great benefit of federating with Oakington is that the two schools are only about 7
minutes’ drive apart, and the Headteacher could easily return in the event of a serious
situation arising.

We hope that this has answered some of the more immediate questions, but please
don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have others.