Foundation School

Downloads: Booklet1 Booklet2 Leaflet Letter Questionaire


Official Notice and Proposal, click to download:

Stoke Special Schools' Learning Trust Statutory Notice

Stoke Special Schools’ Learning Trust Statutory Proposals



Changing our School Category and creating a Co-operative School Trust

Four local special schools are seeking to change their legal category from community to foundation and at the same time create ‘Stoke Special Schools’ Learning Trust’ as their legal foundation.   The schools involved are:



For some time we - like many special schools - have been looking at the various structures that are available to us, including both Academy and Foundation Trust status.  After a great deal of thought and discussion and a lot of ‘opinion-taking’ from stakeholders, including staff, we decided to explore further the co-operative foundation trust route.  Our four Governing Bodies have now decided to take this a stage further by agreeing to consult on proposals to form our own local co-operative special school trust.  We will be the fifth such special school trust created across a local authority area.  (NB  The others are, in chronological order, Devon, Lewisham, Norfolk and Kent.  We also understand that all the special schools in Sheffield are looking at a similar model, as indeed are quite a few other groups of special schools.)


What’s different about a co-operative school trust? 

Becoming a co-operative school trust means that, over time, our stakeholders (ie our staff, parents/carers, people who work and live locally and vitally our learners) can also join the trust as members.  Local family members of our pupils as well as past pupils themselves can also join the Trust.  This is potentially very important to us.  Another important attraction for us in the co-operative school model is that it will ensure that the historic co-operative values and ethos, as well as its ethical principles and co-operative ways of working, are formally embedded in our school.  In many ways we already subscribe to these informally.


Crucially we will not be leaving the Stoke-on-Trent Local Authority (LA) family of maintained schools - as would be the case if we became an academy.  The Governing Body, rather than the LA, would become the legal employer of staff and the Admissions Authority, but our land and assets would transfer across from the LA to the Trust where they would be held mutually on behalf of the Governing Body and our stakeholders.


Consultation Process: 

The four named schools will formally enter into the consultation process by issuing our statutory proposals at noon on Wednesday, 4 March 2015.  This four week statutory consultation period runs until noon on Wednesday, 1 April 2015.  The Governing Bodies will meet on Tuesday, 21 April to consider a report on the outcomes of the consultation and decide whether or not, following the views and comments received, to agree to these proposals or not.  Currently, if they (all or some of the four consulting schools) do decide to agree to them, the day the schools would change their legal category and establish the Trust would be  Friday, 1 May 2015.


Consultation Documentation and Meetings: 

Attached is an information leaflet which sets out briefly the implications of the proposed change of category and the creation of a local mutual co-operative school trust, as well as the reasons why our Governing Bodies and Headteachers are proposing it.  It also seeks to answer some of the more common questions.  The leaflet includes dates, times and venues of consultation meetings.


This includes a special meeting for our parents and carers on Tuesday, 10 March at 3.30 pm at Portland School and Specialist College.  There is also a public meeting on Thursday, 19 March at 5.30 pm at the Bridge Centre, Birches Head Road, Stoke-on-Trent ST2 8DD to which you are invited if you cannot attend our parents/carers meeting.


A much more comprehensive and in-depth consultation document (‘Booklet One’) can be obtained from our school’s website ( or from the school office.  Similarly available is a detailed Questions and Answers document (‘ Booklet Two’).


A key part of the initial consultation process involves gathering stakeholder views and feedback.  Included with this letter is a consultation questionnaire.  If you would like to complete this please return to the school.


We consider your views to be very important and hope that you are able to help us to determine the best way forward for our school.  If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact the school at your earliest convenience. 


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