Memorandum submitted by the Specialist
Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT)
The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust is
a non-profit English educational cooperative registered charity
founded in 1987 which serves the needs of the 2,400 specialist
schools and academies.
It is funded by fees from affiliated schools
as well as grants from the Department for Education and Skills.
It has a staff of 200 people and an annual income of £35
million. It raises about £8 million a year in sponsorship
The Trust has already encouraged a large number
of its schools to work together in locally based cooperative and
Ninestiles Federation in Birmingham
Led by Sir Dexter Hutt. This is a collaboration
of Ninestiles Technology College and two previously underperforming
schools Waverley and International. All three schools are now
This is an informal collaboration of three Dorset
schools: John of Gaunt School; Clarendon School; and St Augustine's
Catholic College, who run a joint sixth form, collaborate on measures
to protect pupils being bullied and to take action on pupils with
behavioural problems. See attachments 1 and 2.
South East Maidstone Federation, Kent
This is a hard-edged federation of three former
secondary modern schools designed to raise standards of achievement.
The initiative has been successful in raising standards. See attachment
This is a collaboration between four specialist
schools in Grantham, Lincolnshire who have established a joint
sixth form. Previously the four schools only provided 11-16 provision.
Each school provides A-level instruction in its specialist subject.
The collaboration has been a dramatic success with a substantial
increase in the stay-on rate at age 16 in full-time education.
This is a 14-19 Partnership of six Derbyshire
schools and colleges which is developing a vocational educational
partnership. See attachment 4.
We believe there are as many as 100 such collaborations
of specialist schools many of which involve a high performing
school helping an underperforming partner school.
We would hope that the trust mechanism proposed
in the White Paper could enable these groups of schools to pool
resources and best practice. If they were able to operate under
the umbrella of a common non-profit educational charity they could
1. Share central support staff such as a
Bursar, IT coordinator and even a fundraiser to seek the support
of sponsors. Possibly they could engage a joint Chief Executive.
2. Collaborate on Joint Sixth Forms.
3. Use the expertise in particular subjects
of specialist schools, eg the Language College could support language
teaching in all the member schools in the trust.
4. Operate a joint TeachFirst or GTP teacher
5. Link with a neighbouring university.
6. Arrange work placements on a joint basis.
7. Collaborate on special needs, vulnerable
children and behaviourally difficult children.
Groups of these schools have said they would
even be willing to be held accountable on a group basis for GCSE
and A-level results rather than on an individual school basis.
We would hope that whatever proposals are adopted,
they will allow collaborations of this sort to be set up.
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