Northern House School Academy Trust uses special schools


AN ACADEMY trust has announced that it is severing ties with a special Oxford school, leaving its future in limbo.

Northern House School Academy Trust has revealed it is relinquishing control of the five schools it operates, including its ‘outstanding’ school in South Parade, Summertown.

They will all be re-stitched, which means the Education Department will try to find one or more other trusts to take them over, but this is often a long process that sees schools “in limbo” until the end. ‘that a new direction is secured.

The trust blamed the “flawed and volatile” funding system for its decision, fueling concerns about a crisis in SEND (special educational needs and disability) funding.

READ ALSO: Oxfordshire Special Education Costs Soar

A statement on the trust’s website, attributed to President William Powlett Smith, said: “As an academy trust, we have historically been able to maintain healthy cash reserves. However, there is more to it. year, we highlighted concerns about funding directly to the Ministry for Education and also engaged with local authorities.

“These discussions did not identify any likelihood of a short-term shift to a flawed funding system that provides an inadequate and unreliable, often volatile funding stream that is impractical within a dedicated SEN trust at SEMH. [social, emotional and mental health] students.

“To achieve the academic outcomes our children deserve, the academy trust must continually invest in its staff and infrastructure to deliver not only the expected academic outcomes, but also the social outcomes necessary to prepare our students for adulthood – this is only possible with adequate funding. ”

The Summertown school, which teaches approximately 80 students aged 5 to 11, was rated “outstanding” during its last Ofsted in 2016.

It dates from 1938 and was taken over by the trust in 2012.

Northern House School in Wokingham is rated ‘inadequate’ while its schools in Solihull and Wolverhampton are rated ‘in need of improvement’.

Mr. Powlett Smith’s statement added: “All of these schools, prior to the sponsored conversion, were in crisis, some with long periods of shutdown and regular police presence – time, care and investment were essential.

“Northern House School Academy Trust has worked tirelessly to improve the outcomes of some of the country’s most disadvantaged students. ”

READ ALSO: Oxfordshire Council appeals SEND funding transfer

The decision to re-broker was made at a board meeting on Friday, and the process to find new trusts will begin immediately.

The statement added: “We have informed the relevant local authorities with whom we continue to work – we do not expect their own pressures and priorities regarding the high needs funding bloc to allow resolution to reduce the funding crisis.

“As each of our schools finds a new ‘home’, the Northern House School Academy Trust will step down.”

The board said the decision was “not taken lightly” but said the funding issues “endangered our ability to deliver. [pupils’] rights and ensure continuous improvement in student outcomes.

Mr Powlett Smith thanked the staff for their commitment, adding: “Parents and caregivers should also be reassured that we will continue to provide effective education in a safe environment until such time as we hand over the baton.”


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