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Kinsale Infant School


Invitation to share views on Kinsale Infant School joining the Wensum Trust

The Governing Body has been carefully considering the future of Kinsale Infant School and we have been exploring the option of converting to academy status and join the Wensum Trust.

As you may be aware, the educational landscape is continually evolving, with a growing emphasis on collaboration and shared resources. In line with this trend, many schools across the country are moving towards forming multi-academy trusts. These trusts foster collaboration among schools, promote sharing of best practices, and provide enhanced support for the staff and students within their network.

As governors, it is our duty to provide strategic direction to the school and we now feel that the time is right for us to make the change and become an academy within the Wensum Trust.

We have identified the Wensum Trust as the natural and best fit for Kinsale Infant School. We believe our children will continue to flourish and benefit from greater collaboration with Kinsale Junior, Firside Junior and Hellesdon High schools, which are already part of the Wensum Trust.     

As you are aware, Stacey Coleman has been successfully working with the school for  the past academic year.  The governing body has full confidence in this arrangement and have been more than satisfied with the smooth transition that has enabled the school to continue to flourish.

Therefore, the governors have expressed interest to the Department for Education in becoming part of the Wensum Trust and an application will be presented to the Regional Schools Commissioner in June this year.

However, before making any final decisions, we genuinely value your input as staff, parents and carers. Your opinions matter greatly to us, and we want to ensure that your views are taken into account during this crucial point in the process.

Therefore, we invite you to participate in a consultation process, which will be open between Tuesday 30th April 2024 and Wednesday 15th May 2024. You can do this by completing the online form via the link below.




We will also be holding an informal drop-in session for parents and carers on Wednesday 8th May between 5pm and 6pm, in the school, where you can ask any questions you may have.

All comments must be received by noon on Wednesday 15th May which is the end of the consultation process.


What happens now?

In order to proceed with the next steps of this potential partnership, we will be consulting with staff, parents and carers between now and Wednesday 15th May, before seeking approval from the Department for Education (DfE).  The timeline of decisions / processes is laid out below.

  1. We will consult directly with parents, carers and staff and seek their views using an online form.
  2. We will produce a page on our website that gives further detailed explanation of the information gathered to demonstrate the governors reasoning behind the application to convert.
  3. We will be holding an informal drop-in session on Wednesday 8th May between 5pm and 6pm, in the school,  where parents and carers can ask questions.
  4. After the consultation has been completed our governing body will confirm the decision.
  5. We will then look to seek approval from the Department for Education for the conversion in June.
  6. If the Department for Education approves the application, there would then be legal work that would be completed with the Local Authority and staff.   This could take several months.
  7. When all the legal work has been completed the governing body would agree to the final decision to convert.
  8. We are seeking to be in the family of the Wensum Trust in January 2025.


We believe that this potential collaboration would strengthen our school community and create an even more nurturing and supportive environment for our children to thrive. We encourage you to actively participate in the consultation process, as your engagement would ensure that we make an informed and collective decision that is in the best interest of our children.

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to Kinsale Infant School. Together, we can shape a brighter future for our children.




What is an academy?

 Academy schools are state-funded schools in England, which are directly funded by central government (specifically, the Department for Education) and independent of direct funding and control by the local authority.


Are all academies the same?

 No. There are many different types of academy. For example, some schools have become academies independently; others have joined together with other schools to form a multi-academy trust (MAT); whilst others have joined larger groups and organisations, often known as academy chains. Different academies have a variety of school improvement and governance arrangements.

There are also differences in the amount of ‘standardisation’ or ‘alignment’ that individual MATs expect. Some have a standardised curriculum that they insist their schools teach, others do not and allow the school to continue to teach in the ways that it believes are the best for their children.  Some MATs insist on the same uniform or ‘branding’ of the school, others do not. 


Why are we considering converting to an academy now?

 The current educational climate is changing and many schools nationally are choosing to take advantage of the benefits that becoming an academy brings. Many schools wish to make the move now to determine their own destiny and to make the changes when it is right for their own school. As a successful school, gaining academy status would give us the autonomy to continue to develop and to maintain our high standards. Becoming part of a MAT will bring greater opportunities for working even more closely with other local schools and the wider trust community of schools. We genuinely believe that it will help make us even better as a school.  As in all of the decisions that we make, the impact on the children is our highest priority.   We don’t make changes unless it will help our school community.


Who is the Wensum Trust?

The Wensum Trust Is a family of schools that believes in putting children and families within our local community at the centre of all they do. Their vision is to work together to help every child develop into high achieving, confident, healthy, caring and resilient members of  their family and community; creating a pathway to support their career aspirations, independence and contribution to society. You can read more about the Wensum Trust in their prospectus here.


What are the advantages of becoming an academy and joining a MAT?

 Our governors and headteacher believe that working together to ensure the highest standards across the trust is an exciting new proposition. We will also continue to actively work with all local schools and current partners, ensuring the best of both worlds.


Advantages of joining a MAT:

Allowing Leaders of Learning to focus on Learning.

Collective development and support across a group that wants to work together

Strengthening of Governance accountability – additional support from educational experts

More collective bargaining and cost reduction

Professional development across subjects – drawing on secondary expertise

Support for school systems – HR, Budgeting, Grounds maintenance etc

Review of all of our systems and processes as part of joining to ensure they are as efficient and effective as possible


Advantages of joining the Wensum Trust specifically:

The Wensum Trust is a family of schools that believes in putting the children and families within our local communities at the centre of all we do.

By joining the Wensum Trust, Kinsale Infant School will benefit from closer working with Kinsale Junior School, as well as the other schools within the Trust which reside in the local area, such as Firside Junior and Hellesdon High School. This provides a complete education journey and seamless transitions from early years to sixteen plus.

Whilst each school maintains its autonomy, they work closely together to achieve an enriching education and to provide inspiring and exciting opportunities so that children enjoy a diverse range of experiences that help them to reach their full potential. This includes the Trust’s unique partnerships with a number of organisations to offer experiences that allow children to explore their interests and talent from an early age.

Our Strategic Framework is built on developing the whole child. Our first priority is mental health and wellbeing, knowing that if a child is feeling happy and safe, they will be ready to learn. Our second is on learning and achievement, with high expectations for each child to make excellent progress at every stage – and our third is careers and life skills, giving each child a clear career pathway on which they can mould their learning – and by nurturing a child’s aspirations, it provides them with a reassuring and stable educational path which can only benefit their mental health and wellbeing.

With access to a Central team (HR, Finance, Estates, IT, Communications),  school staff can focus on teaching and learning, and we also offer SEND expertise through our Educational Psychologist and our Strategic Lead for Attachment and Trauma.


What are the disadvantages of academy status?

As an academy, there are a number of additional responsibilities placed on the school in terms of financial management and reporting, however these are dealt with centrally and not within the school itself. It is expected that on a day-to-day basis, pupils, their parents and carers, teachers and staff will not notice the difference if we became an academy.




Will a move to academy status mean a new name for the school?

 No. The school will continue to be called Kinsale Infant School. Please be assured that the character, ethos and values of our school would remain unchanged should academy conversion take place.


Would becoming an academy mean a new uniform?

 No. Parents will not need to buy a new uniform.


Would becoming an academy mean the school could still be open to the community?

 Yes. There will be no change to the current provision and use of the school by different groups to hold events.


What will be the impact on our children with special needs?

There will be no change to the level of support provided. We will continue to recognise that every child is different and has the right to be included as a valued, respected and equal member of the school community. Consilium’s inclusive ethos was one of the factors that we felt made a good fit for our school.


Will the school hours be any different as an academy?

Although it is highly unlikely that the school day will be changed, as is the case now, parents would be consulted prior to any change in school hours, although no change is envisaged.


Will pupils’ education be disrupted by a transition to academy status?

No. If conversion is approved, it will happen with minimal disruption to staff and students. Most of the changes will take place behind the scenes, with support from a dedicated team from the trust who have gone through this process before.


If we move to being an academy, will this change what is taught?

 We would be expected to continue to offer the full range of National Curriculum subjects. OFSTED inspects academies and their handbook for inspection is the same one as is used in any other school. The academy would be expected to strive to be outstanding in the statutory OFSTED rating.

Any changes, as now, would be made by leaders in the school because we believed it was the best thing to do for the children.



How is an academy funded?

In maintained schools, all revenue funding (building funding is slightly different) goes directly to the local authority (LA). The LA takes a proportion of the money from the school budget to provide essential services to the school and the rest is delegated under the local management of schools. Schools can, and do, buy additional services from the LA and other providers. As a result, schools currently depend upon the LA for many services such as school improvement, HR, finance, etc.

Academies will receive the same level of per-pupil funding as maintained schools, plus funding to meet additional responsibilities that are no longer provided for them by the LA. The money that would have been provided to the LA to run the school would be provided directly to Consilium, which would retain some of the budget in order to provide services to the academy.

Being part of a larger organisation increases bargaining power and the ability to get better deals on services etc.  This ultimately means that there would be more money available to spend on each child.


Does this improve on current funding arrangements?

 Converting to an academy will not be to our detriment financially, although there may be the potential for some financial gain; however, no decision will be motivated by money. Funding is available to cover the costs of the conversion process itself, which is provided by central government once the decision to convert has been approved. In addition, the trust board has access to capacity funding from the Department for Education as well as opportunities to bid for capital funding on an annual basis.




What will be the terms and conditions for staff?

On conversion, teachers and staff currently employed by Norfolk County Council will transfer with the same terms and conditions, via a formal TUPE (transfer of undertakings protection of employment) process, to become employees of the Wensum Trust. Conversion will not affect any union memberships. All terms and conditions as part of the Wensum Trust match or improve the contracts of employment currently under Norfolk County Council.


Who will employ teachers and staff following conversion?

 At present, teachers and other school staff are employed by Norfolk County Council. Following conversion, they will be employed directly by the Wensum Trust.

Hopefully many of your questions will have been answered on this web page and in the consultation letter that we shared. 

As the letter states we believe that this potential collaboration would strengthen our school community and create an even more nurturing and supportive environment for our children to thrive. To reiterate, the primary focus of this potential partnership is to allow our teachers and leaders to concentrate even more intently on educating our children.

Your views and questions matter to us. You can complete the consultation questionnaire via this link.

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