Choosing to convert to an academy, or selecting an academy trust to work with is a significant decision for any school.

While the opportunity to work with a network of like-minded schools is exciting, we understand that such a major change requires careful consideration. In recognition of this, we offer schools the opportunity to join us on a temporary basis through a trust partnership.

What is a Trust Partnership?

Trust partnerships are a time-limited arrangement which allow schools and trusts to come together in mutually beneficial partnerships. They do not deliver the full benefits of formally joining a multi-academy trust, but provide a way for a school and a trust to work together and test whether a formal partnership will benefit both parties.

For NCEAT, the key is ensuring that the distinctive ethos of the school is compatible with the Trust so that we share similar values, which gives us the basis for a strong and sustainable partnership.

Partnerships can allow strong schools and trusts to explore the benefits of collaborating (for instance, sharing expertise through Headteachers and subject leads). Trust Partnerships can also be used as a powerful school improvement tool, allowing vulnerable schools to access support from the networks and services provided by a strong trust.

How does a Trust Partnership work?

Trust Partnership with NCEAT is governed through formal documents, where both parties agree terms and conditions to ensure the success of the partnership. The partnership is time-limited, usually 12 months and it is not intended to be a long-term solution, or a replacement for conversion. However, it does give both school and trust an extended period to explore whether the school joining NCEAT would be beneficial to both parties.

Each Trust Partnership agreement is bespoke and allows the school to buy into a menu of support from NCEAT, so your school can benefit from leadership support and experience the value of belonging to a trust. This includes access to school improvement services, CPD opportunities, our Headteacher network and other central services provided by NCEAT.

Financing a Trust Partnership and Next Steps

If a school is eligible for the DfE Trust and School Improvement Offer, funding may be provided to support a partnership arrangement, subject to DfE approval.

Where costs are involved and external funding is not available, NCEAT provide services ‘at cost’. However, partner schools are not charged for many of the benefits of a Trust Partnership. The scope of services available and any costs are set out in the partnership agreement.

During the partnership, the governing body of the school gives due consideration to academisation and joining NCEAT, through formal consultation where required.

Would you like to find out more?

At NCEAT, we feel school visits are particularly valuable and would be delighted to welcome visits to any of our schools to talk to members of staff or those in governance about life in a multi-academy trust. Our CEO would also be delighted to visit your school to discuss the possibility of a Trust Partnership or membership of NCEAT.

Get in touch with us to find out more or click here to view/download our Trust prospectus which contains more details about the process of becoming an academy within the NCEAT family.