Wednesday, May 10, 2017

News: TRC academy consultation begins


The Rotherham school and sixth form college that were both attended by the Education Secretary, Justine Greening, are set to join together in the same Academy Trust, under new proposals.

Consultation is now underway on plans for Thomas Rotherham College (TRC), a sixth form college to become a 16 to 19 academy and join with Inspire Trust, an existing multi academy trust which currently comprises Oakwood High School and Sitwell Junior School in the borough.

TRC was told to look at joining a multi academy trust following the findings of a Government review into skills in the Sheffield city region.

A series of Area Based Reviews (ABRs) of provision are being carried out with the Sheffield city region one of the first three areas. Each review starts by assessing the economic and educational needs of the area, and the implications for post-16 education and training provision, including school sixth forms, sixth form colleges, further education colleges and independent providers.

The Government announced in 2015 that sixth form colleges could explore the academisation route. Governors at TRC believe that this is the best way to build on the college's strengths, secure its financial position and deliver ever better opportunities for its students.


Dissolution is planned for August 31 2017 - just as TRC celebrates its 50th anniversary, after which the former Rotherham Grammar School will continue to operate as normal after joining Inspire Trust. Students will be able to continue their courses of study on the same campus, the College will continue to use the name of Thomas Rotherham College for all marketing purposes and there are no plans for major curriculum changes or changes to entry criteria or our catchment areas.

The plan is for the Regional Schools' Commissioner to consider the application in June 2017. An "academy order" will be need to be signed off by the Secretary of State for Education and the Trust would enter into a funding agreement direct with the department, taking it out of local authority control. The current Education Secretary is Rotherham-born Justine Greening, who studied at both Oakwood and TRC. The first comprehensive school educated secretary of state for education went on to study at Southampton University, earning an MBA from the London Business School and used to work in business.

The consultation points out that the main benefits to the proposals are the ability to share expertise and resources, and to support the transition between each phase of education even more effectively. It added: "The ability of the Trust to reclaim VAT will provide additional funds to Thomas Rotherham College to allow substantial continuing investment in our students, staff and facilities. This will allow us to operate on a level playing field with schools and academies who are already able to do this."

There is no intention for staff contracts and terms and conditions to change.

David Naisbitt, headteacher at Oakwood High School and a director of Inspire Trust, said: "There will be people who talk about the financial gain in these extremely challenging financial circumstances. We know that budgets are not getting any better and will, indeed, become increasingly tighter. As they say the budgetary envelope is not increasing in size.

"Yet the underpinning principles or reason for coming together with this iconic post-16 institution is to provide an enhanced educational experience for the children and young people of this community. Writ large in our submission is an educational vision and underpinning educational principles and priorities. We have a desire to establish a truly exciting and innovative learning community; which will enhance and will boost the educational opportunities within this town and within this region."

The consultation runs until June 16 2017 and a public consultation event is also planned for Monday May 22 between 5 – 6 pm at the college.

TRC website

Images: TRC


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