Thank you for your responses so far to our consultation upon age range and admission changes at Meadowdale.
Q.1 If the school has an admissions number of 45 per year group, will the school be viable financially? As due to DfE ratio guidelines of a maximum of 30 students per class in reception 1 and 2, this would mean that 2 qualified teachers would need to be employed for each year group. As this will create additional staffing costs, the question of whether support is available from the academy’s sponsor(s) needs to be addressed?
A: We have managed budgets carefully and prudently since becoming an Academy in 2012 and we intend to continue to do so. We have explored a number of long term budget forecasts and scenarios, these all enable us to employ two members of staff for every year group with an intake of 45 pupils.
Q. 2 . How do the Governors and School Leadership Team propose the primary to develop?
A: As our consultation document states the proposed plan to become a primary will be staged enabling Meadowdale Academy to develop the best start for ‘Bold Learning’ provision in the Early Years and this will also have less impact upon the remaining two first schools as we are staggering numbers
Q.3 Should the plan go ahead based on estimated numbers, as has occurred with a number of free schools for example, and there are then issues with finances and standards, where would support come from? Would the Local Authority be in a position to provide financial support to the academy?
A: As already outlined, our budget forecasts enable us to carefully and prudently plan to ensure that we do not run into a deficit. We have been an Academy since 2012 independently managing successful finance and standards performance. The local authority has no jurisdiction to give financial support to an academy.
Q. 4 As the requirements of EYFS and Key Stage 1 are very different we would seek to know if these specialist rooms are really appropriate for EYFS & KS1?
A: We intend to use our specialist rooms for KS2-Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 which would provide a fantastic learning platform for High School readiness. We would need to fully risk assess the use of specialist rooms with EYFS.
Q.5 How does the Governors and School Leadership Team propose to continue working with the partnership for the benefit of students with such a public condemnation of other partnership schools?
A: We aim to continue to work fully and positively with The Bedlingtonshire partnership as we have always done.
Q.6 The creation of a new primary creates uncertainty and can affect the stability of other schools.
A: There is already a huge amount of uncertainty affecting first, middle and high school staff and their organisations. Our proposal and consultation is about resolving that by initiating a ‘change’ dialogue.
Q.7 Additional housing that is being built will not guarantee the need for a new primary.
A: There are never guarantees but the facts are that over 850 houses have planning permission- eight new projects. Northumberland Council state in its own draft plan that ‘Bedlington’ is one of the towns that is ideally placed for developing the infrastructures for housing, employment, business and with that school places will be needed.
Q.8 A question of concern is whether the required skilled and experienced staff will be recruited in time.
A: Yes. We are confident that there will be a number of quality applicants who would be excited about being here and building our primary vision’ Meadowdale more than a Primary.’
Q.9 Where is the demonstration of EYFS and KS1 performance within Meadowdale Middle?
A: Currently, we cannot demonstrate performance. A successful ‘significant age range change’ would give us opportunity to do so. Already, phonics training has begun, we have joined the National Day Nurseries Association and are working with a number of partners who are ‘sharing best practice’ that we will implement.
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