Orchard Head Junior, Infant & Nursery School

What is an Academy?

An Academy is a state funded school operating independently but within the Codes of Practice for state schools. 

  • Unlike Local Authority maintained schools, funding comes direct from central government, rather 
    than through the Local Authority. 
  •  It is the current intention of the coalition government that most schools will be Academies by 2014 

What is a Multi Academy Trust? (MAT) 

  • The legislation of the current government allowed schools that were deemed ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ 
    by Ofsted to convert to become Academies and to form Multi-Academy Trusts to include schools 
    deemed ‘satisfactory’ by Ofsted and possibly to sponsor those schools in a category of special 
    measures or serious weaknesses to become Academies too.
  •  A Multi Academy Trust is a registered company with a Board of Directors and it is accountable for the 
    performance of its individual academies. 
  • The Multi-Academy Trust is the employer of all staff across the individual academies and in effect is 
    like a mini Local Authority, having responsibility for admissions, setting term and holiday dates, and 
    commissioning or providing services such as Educational Psychology and Education Welfare 
  • The Local Governance arrangements of each individual Academy and its delegated responsibilities 
    are likely to differ, with more autonomy being given to those Academies which are performing well 
    and less to those which are not. 

Tell me specifically about the Pontefract Academies Trust. 

  •  Whilst still being under the umbrella of the Pontefract Education Trust, Halfpenny Lane J&I School, 
    Larks Hill J&I School, Orchard Head J, I &N School, The Rookeries J&I School, Carleton Community 
    High School and The King’s School became Academies on 1 April 2013 as members of a Multi 
    Academy Trust – Pontefract Academies Trust (PAT). 
  • Other Pontefract Schools have since joined the PAT, or are in the process of becoming one of its 
    sponsored academies, and some Pontefract church schools have already, or are consulting on becoming 
    academies as members of a faith based MAT.
  •  At the heart of the model is the ethos of working together as a partnership of schools to raise 
    attainment across Pontefract and enable them to achieve shared goals. The aim is that no schools 
    are vulnerable, isolated or left behind and that each school will retain aspects of its own 
    distinctive ethos within the PAT framework. 
  • The freedoms and the extra resources that Academy status has brought are key factors which enable us to provide the best possible education for the young people of Pontefract and to support the wider community 

What does being a sponsored academy mean for Orchard Head Junior, Infant & Nursery School? 

  •  It means that the Pontefract Academies Trust rather than the Local Authority has responsibility 
    for the standards and performance at Orchard Head Junior, Infant & Nursery School, and therefore has significant influence over the key decisions made to ensure best value. 
  •  Orchard Head Junior, Infant & Nursery School has adopted the aims, values and working practices 
    shared by the PAT academies and it contributes to the development of new ones. 
  • The PAT provides support and challenges to ensure that Orchard Head Junior, Infant & Nursery School improves its standards and performance and is an academy which is judged to be at least ‘good’ by Ofsted – because all children in Pontefract deserve nothing less. It does this by deploying its current resources (staff, governors, finance) to support the required developments, or by sourcing appropriate help from elsewhere.