What is a Federation?
A Federation is a formal agreement between two or more schools to work in partnership to raise standards, find new ways of improving teaching and learning, and build on the strengths of each school. In our Federation, the schools remain separate schools, each retaining their own budget and buildings. The schools have shared leadership and management, working in the best interests of both schools and their pupils. Federation allows partner schools to work together and combine the strengths of both schools through sharing a Governing Body, Headteacher and other resources. This gives more opportunities to pupils in terms of the breadth of what is taught, having access to well-qualified specialist teachers and the extra- curricular and social opportunities open to them. Federation helps small rural schools to remain sustainable on separate sites, opening up opportunities to share management, administration and Governing Body responsibility. Teaching staff can also support each other, developing and sharing curriculum expertise.
How is Federation different from Collaboration?
Scorton CE Primary School and Calder Vale St John’s CE Primary School had been working in collaboration for some time. They already shared a Headteacher and were able to see proven benefits to pupils, staff and budgets at both schools.
However, in a collaboration, the Governing Body of the schools are still separate. Federation creates a formal partnership that further benefits pupils, with one Governing Body that oversees the governance at both schools. The schools remain separate entities within a federation – it is only governance that changes.
Sharing the leadership and management means a joint approach to teaching and learning, drawing on the best ideas from each in developing wider curriculum opportunities for all pupils. Recruitment of staff, including Headteachers, to small schools can be very difficult. Federation supports existing staff in developing their skills and makes employment in small schools more attractive for potential members of staff.
A federated Governing Body provides an effective and accountable mechanism for the two schools to combine resources, purchasing, systems and staff which releases strategic capacity for the Headteacher, offering value for money and helping the schools to remain viable.
Federation can help small rural schools to remain sustainable on separate sites, opening up opportunities to share management, administration and Governing Body responsibility.
Teaching staff can also support each other, sharing curriculum expertise.
The Governing Bodies of both schools feel that Federation has helped to secure a better future for all pupils by increasing opportunities at a time of challenge.
How is the Federation be organised?
The two schools are still separate schools legally and have kept their individual names so pupils are registered at Scorton CE Primary School or Calder Vale St John’s CE Primary School. Admissions to each school are made separately.
Each school continues to receive an individual budget. As school budgets are funded largely by student numbers, a Federation between the schools allow the schools’ funding to be used more efficiently by making savings through economies of scale to sustain a broad and balanced curriculum and by sharing some costs.
The Federation Governing Body, legally must contain the following categories of governors (either by appointment or election):
It is important that both schools and their communities are represented, and the ability to co-opt governors ensures that fair representation and that the required mix of skills are possible. The Governors agreed, when the schools federated, that the Federated Governing body would include a parent/carer from each school. Of the eight foundation governors at least two are drawn from each of the respective communities of Calder Vale and Scorton.
School staff continue to be employed by each school and are under the direction of the Headteacher. Newly appointed staff can be appointed to the Federation, rather than an individual school and may be expected to teach in both schools if required.