Please see below answers to some of your questions. If you have something to say, or a query that has not been answered below, please let us know.
Why the name Morris Eduction Trust?
Henry Morris was the Chief Education Officer for Cambridgeshire from the 1920s up to the 1950s. It was his memorandum written in 1925 that laid the foundation for the village colleges, with the first established at Sawston in 1930. In this piece, Morris writes that ‘The village college could lie athwart the daily lives of the community it served; and in it the conditions would be realised under which education would not be an escape from reality, but an enrichment and transformation of it. For education is committed to the view that the ideal order and the actual order can ultimately be made one’. We believe the new Trust will seek to do the same – enrich and transform the lives of students and pupils who come to the schools.
Who makes the decision whether a school can join the Morris Education Trust?
The crucial starting point for any new partnership is whether the Morris Education Trust is the right fit for a particular school. We want to work with schools who believe in what we stand for, and share our vision, values and ethos. For a school to join the Trust their governing body as well as the MET Board would have to be clear that it is the right move for all parties. ‘Due diligence’ (by both parties) has to take place as well to scrutinise the finances, estates and education of each prospective school. All decisions regarding multi-academy trusts have to be approved by the Regional Schools’ Commissioner (as part of the Department for Education), in terms of capacity of the Trust and whether the school is making the right decision to join a particular Trust.
How much independence do schools within the Morris Education Trust have?
We expect schools to retain much of their independent character and their pre-existing identity if they choose to. The MET has no desire to impose a central way of running a school, but it does expect joining schools to share common values so that they are natural partners. All schools within the Trust will have degrees of autonomy that are established and developed through something called the ‘Scheme of Delegation’. This very lengthy document identifies the decisions to be made by the Head teacher/ Principal and his/ her team, and those which need the authority of the CEO or the MET Board. These are usually in line of the scale of the decision.
The MET has overall priorities which are developed with input from Principals/ Head teachers, whilst each academy will have its own locally developed priorities. Some practical decisions like GCSE syllabus will be harmonised over time so that staff across the academies can work together and share resources and planning. However other decisions such as approach to teaching and learning, uniform, behaviour policy and the allocations of teaching will be locally decided.
How do the finances of a multi-academy trust work?
The Department for Education has a master funding agreement with the MET, and supplemental funding agreements with each individual school. The MET will receive the allocated funding for the academies and distribute the appropriate budgets to each school. Some funds will be retained centrally to develop and provide core services around IT, finance and management. As a Trust we are guided by very strict financial controls through the Academies Funding Handbook and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) acts as the Chief Accounting Officer with the Director of Finance and Resources its Chief Financial Officer (CFO). For new schools joining the MET, the impact on your budget will depend on your circumstances. Needless to say the MET gets funding for education; therefore money will always be prioritised for teaching, resources, provision and learning for students.