Kinoulton Primary School

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Academy Consultation

This page will contain information relating to the ongoing consultation around Kinoulton Primary School joining the Equals Trust.

Dear Parents/Carers,


Consultation on a proposal to join Equals Trust and convert to academy status



The governing body is considering its options to be able to continue to provide an excellent education for the pupils of Kinoulton Primary School while protecting our school’s role at the heart of the community and retaining our unique qualities and strengths. Kinoulton Primary School is a local authority school and most of our support and services are provided via the local authority. The education landscape is changing, however, and many schools have joined Trusts, leaving the LA with reduced capacity for support. On several occasions, the government has been clear that they would like all schools to join Academy Trusts and it seems increasingly likely that this will happen at some point in the near future.

With this in mind, the governing body has been considering the future plans for our school in this fast-changing and increasingly challenging educational landscape. This began with preliminary due diligence of more than twenty Academy Trusts operating in our School’s region, between October and December 2022. Following this process, the Equals Trust was identified as the leading candidate Trust that best matched our ambitions and values. As ‘collaboration’ is one of our three core values, we were keen to collaborate with others beyond our school and wanted to join a trust that is truly collaborative, as we feel Equals is. Based on the principal of equality, the Equals Trust is, at its heart, a group of like-minded schools working together to improve the quality of education for our children. Therefore, the governing body has taken the decision to join Equals Trust.

We believe pupils and staff would benefit from the greater opportunities that formal partnership, through the Trust, would bring, including for example:

  1. extending learning opportunities and activities for pupils
  2. enriching the curriculum through partnership working and shared resources
  3. enabling the sharing of excellent practice in teaching and learning
  4. enhancing the professional development of teaching and support staff
  5. securing cost and resource efficiencies through joint commissioning of services


We are now consulting with staff, parents, carers, pupils and the community. The consultation period will run between 11th October and 6th December 2023. Meetings will be held on:-

  1. Wednesday 8th November 2023 - 2:30-3:30pm in the school hall.
  2. Wednesday 8th November 2023 - 6:00-7:00pm in the school hall.

Please email for details of this meeting and to confirm your attendance.

The governing body will then consider a report on the academy consultation before making a final decision on whether to proceed with the proposal. If the governing body agree to proceed, the plan is for the school to convert before the end of this academic year.

If you have any feedback on the proposal that you would like to share with the governing body then please do so by emailing before the close of consultation on Wednesday 6th December 2023.

Yours sincerely,


Paul Townsend

Chair of governors

Following the recent consultation meetings, the following questions were asked and answered:

Question raised



What are the benefits to Kinoulton?


Access to Trust services, support and development for staff, networking etc - especially important with a small school.  There is much more support for the school, much more quickly.


Change is constant and it is so much more difficult to keep pace with change when you are a school on your own.  If you don't keep up, regardless of how good the school is and the experience the children are having, you are in danger of failing.


Presumably standards are standardised?


Yes, we have the same national standards to abide by, but development is based on the identified needs of the school.  As a parent, you will probably notice more opportunities for children to work with other local schools in the Trust.

Where does the funding come from?


Currently, Kinoulton gets its funding from the Local Authority (LA).  If it converted, it would come direct from the government's education funding agency (which is where the LA receive it from).

How long is it since the last school joined the Trust?


The last school joined during lockdown in March 2020.  We have another school joining in December 2023. 

How long does it take for a school to join the Trust?



It usually takes approx. a year to go through the conversion process, but this timeline depends largely on factors outside the School and Trust’s control. The process involves liaison with the Local Authority, DfE etc.

How far along the process are you as a school?



The school has been investigating academisation for over a year, finding that Equals Trust aligns with Kinoulton’s ethics most closely.  We believe there is a risk of not converting, as services are diminishing.  We have now signalled our intention to the DfE to initiate conversion but can back out at any time before that takes place.


Is the curriculum bespoke to the Trust?


Curriculum development is bespoke to the school.  All our schools have individual curriculums, which may have common features and will have differences as they reflect the local environment.


How do you choose Lead Practitioners?  How much control do the school have over whether they influence the curriculum or not?


Headteachers will have access to the support of Lead Practitioners, but this is provided as an option, not enforced and is used as a supportive measure.

What is SCA and CIF?



Schools Capital Allocation (SCA) is funding provided to Multi Academy Trusts with more than 3 thousand pupils.  We receive SCA to fund building improvements in our schools to sustain our buildings.  Condition Improvement Funding (CIF) is the funding that Local Authorities and small Trusts have to submit bids to, to fund building improvements. 


The Governing Body recently reviewed the School’s Headteacher Report and felt it was very data rich.


Where schools within the Trust are doing something that they think can benefit the wider Trust we always welcome those ideas to enable continuous improvement.


How many individuals make up the Central Team within the Trust?



From January 2023, the Trust will have 13 people in the Central Team to support all 13 schools that will be members at that point.  Not all of them are full-time and some work term-time only.  We sustain a team that is busy but with enough capacity to support the joining of new schools, without compromising the support to existing schools.

The Leadership Group refers to all the Headteachers within each of the Schools, coming together.


How does the financial contribution from schools to the Trust compare with the services bought in as an LA school?



As a small school, we think that Kinoulton will struggle over the next few years to balance the budget.  The buying power of a group of schools will bring savings as well as the planning for IT renewal for schools that will help our school immensely.


How much do schools pay for central services?



The Central Services contribution is as follows:-

  • Central services – 4% school contribution
  • Teaching and learning – 1% school contribution – led and managed by the Leadership Group of Headteachers
  • The IT strategy – 1.2% school contribution – this ensures that all children in all schools have the best equipment possible.
  • Capital Funding – to ensure schools are safe and are the best resource possible.


The Trust can change its governance structure; it’s not set in stone, is it?



No, but we have a strong moral ethic that attracts like-minded leaders.  All our Headteachers have similar values and the Trust has maintained its philosophy over time.  We strongly believe in Local Governing Bodies and local autonomy wherever possible and have no intention to change it.


What capacity is there within the Trust to give staff further career opportunities?



There is a job club that is scheduled at the end of each leadership team meeting where Headteachers can discuss opportunities arising across the schools and within the Trust itself. Our schools support each other in this area.


Trust ethos



Each year the Trust holds a conference where it discusses whether the Trust is still fulfilling its aims and values in the way it set out to do. This is to ensure that as we grow, we don’t lose sight of our purpose and the strong values in which the Trust was established.


Is academisation going to remain on the agenda?



The Schools White Paper sets out the Government's aspiration that all state schools become academies ("a fully trust led system") and that they be in or joining a strong trust by 2030. While the Schools Bill that included powers intended to help facilitate this process was aborted, the sector is still moving in this direction.


Is the Trust a Not-for-Profit entity?




Yes. The Trust is governed by Charity and Company Law. The Trust Accounts are publicly available and can be viewed on the Trust website.

What are the principles on which the Central Team are paid?



The CEO and School Improvement staff are paid according to the Teacher Pay Scales for Leadership.  Support staff in the Central Team are paid on the Local Government Pay Scales, with job descriptions matched to the equivalent pay scale within local government.  We are aware that there may be other Trusts who pay inflated Executive Pay but we strongly believe that this is wrong.


How will the Trust help with SEND?



The Trust is employing an Inclusion Lead to support schools and children to help them reach their potential.  She is a behaviour specialist, an existing Family SENCo and has a wealth of experience to support staff and pupils.  SEND is poorly funded and we need to make the most of our support.


Are all schools within the Trust considered the same level i.e. not dependant on their size etc?


All the Headteachers are equal. Every Headteacher has an equal chair at the table.



Additional questions raised by school staff:

Question raised



How are you able to make better use of your funding to provide better services than the Local Authority (LA), seemingly with the same amount of money?



LA schools have their own funding, but they have to buy in for individual services for their schools.  As a Trust, we can pool some of our funding to fund bespoke services for our schools and can also take advantage of group discounts for systems and to fund services, e.g. we have our own Speech and Language Therapy services to give children access to this instead of waiting two years, on average.


Do contracts and terms and conditions change on transfer?



No, all terms and conditions are moved over.  We retain the existing pay scales for teachers and support staff.  Length of Service continues and transfers over.  We buy in Nottinghamshire County Council's payroll services and so you will still be paid on the same day of the month.  You will be consulted in a separate TUPE consultation with staff about these aspects.


Are there regular observations from the Central Team?



We focus development along with support based on the priorities of the School Development Plan agreed with the Headteacher.  We don't have 'Mocksteds'. Teaching and Learning Leads will work with staff in a supportive way to provide development, e.g., team teaching to demonstrate strategies, group sessions with other teachers, the opportunity to observe another teacher who can show good practice, etc. However, there are not regular observations or judgements made by staff from the Central Team.  Development should be non-threatening and progressive to enable staff to grow in their role.


Will our term dates change?  Who will decide them?



The Headteacher will propose them to the Local Governing Body who will approve your term dates.  We advise our Headteachers to make the decision that is best for the local community so most schools in the Trust have very similar term dates to their feeder secondary school.  This means that families with children across both phases of education will have time off together.  Different schools in our Trust have different dates, e.g., over the Autumn half-term, we had some schools shut for the first week, some for the second and some shut for both weeks.  As a central team we were able to support them all.



Who will decide our appraisal outcomes?



The Headteacher will manage appraisals for the staff at their school.  Teachers’ appraisal outcomes are approved by the Local Governing Body.  There may be opportunities within the Trust for providing opportunities of development or promotion at other schools, but this would only be by agreement with staff and Headteachers and is a way to retain talented staff within the Trust.  The Headteachers find that within the Trust, they work together on opportunities and schools become more supportive of each other rather than feeling that they are in competition with each other.