valuing a partnership of equals

why?

We believe good leaders develop more leaders who turn aims into actions and create opportunities for young people.

We have a moral purpose and a deep commitment to comprehensive education.

We are interested in what you can contribute to the partnership.

We believe in the power of collaboration and collective responsibility.

We want to grow equal partnerships where all contribute and all benefit.

We want to develop trust as a more important element of leadership.

how?

We recognise and encourage the preservation of unique and positive cultures.

We encourage and develop potential in people.

We value academic excellence, the development of character strengths and creative approaches.

We have the highest expectations of ourselves and of each other.

We develop good character strengths in our students and staff.

We are inclusive and treat all children equally.

We encourage measured risk taking and innovation.

We value parity in the value of all subjects.

what?

We are a small local MAT that

  • values partnerships of equals
  • wants to grow excellent local schools that local children can attend together

We are divergent – developing in different directions and challenging convention.

why?

We believe good leaders develop more leaders who turn aims into actions and create opportunities for young people.

We have a moral purpose and a deep commitment to comprehensive education.

We are interested in what you can contribute to the partnership.

We believe in the power of collaboration and collective responsibility.

We want to grow equal partnerships where all contribute and all benefit.

We want to develop trust as a more important element of leadership.

how?

We recognise and encourage the preservation of unique and positive cultures.

We encourage and develop potential in people.

We value academic excellence, the development of character strengths and creative approaches.

We have the highest expectations of ourselves and of each other.

We develop good character strengths in our students and staff.

We are inclusive and treat all children equally.

We encourage measured risk taking and innovation.

We value parity in the value of all subjects.

what?

We are a small local MAT that

  • values partnerships of equals
  • wants to grow excellent local schools that local children can attend together

We are divergent – developing in different directions and challenging convention.

frequently asked questions

Who established the Trust?

Wrotham School Trust. We are an approved academy sponsor and convertor academy keen to work with others for the benefit of all.

What schools/academies are in the Trust?

Wrotham School is currently supporting Aylesford School with school improvement and Executive Headship.

The Governing Body at Aylesford School are in the process of converting to academy status and joining the Divergent Partnerships Trust.

We are now looking for further schools or academies to join with us.

Is there a CEO or Executive Headteacher?

The Trust has an Executive Headteacher.

This role has three core functions:

  • To maximise the opportunities for positive collaboration across the Trust
  • To support all Headteachers across the Trust
  • To champion the interests of all academies in the Trust

The Executive Headteacher’s role is NOT to take power from Headteachers or to make their jobs any harder.

Why are we different to other MATS?

We are interested in what you would like to contribute to education in the wider context of a group of schools.

We believe that the point of a MAT is to help each other be the best schools/academies we can be.

We want to develop partnerships of equals.

We want all academies in the partnership to be contributors of ideas, leadership, innovation, challenge and support.

What is the structure of governance?

Academies in the Trust will retain their local governing bodies. There will be an Executive Board that will have both representation and the ear of each local governing body.

What will Trust HR policies look like?

The Trust is keen to protect teachers’ pay and conditions.

At present the current National Teachers’ Pay and Conditions document does this well, but should that cease to be the case leaders across the partners may decide to explore better frameworks to aid recruitment and retention of the best teachers and leaders. We would decide this together.

Will there be a central finance policy?

We are keen to grow a small Trust and will develop opportunities to save money and generate money by working with Headteachers and Governing Bodies to identify those.

What financial contributions to the Trust are expected?

We will agree with each new school an annual payment in return for services the Trust will provide. Over time, the Trustees’ strategy is to stabilise and harmonise the annual ‘top slice’ which each academy pays. This will be necessary because as the Trust grows so will the services which are provided to schools, and these will require the development of a staff team shared between the academies in the partnership. These will need a steady income stream. Most academy Trusts find ultimately that 3-5% of per s income is what is needed to run the services schools in the Trust need, and moving in this direction will help to provide an economical and sustainable approach to a trust’s finances.

We anticipate that the ‘early joiners’ will play a very significant role in shaping the working practices of the Trust and in creating its central services, both financial and business-related, and educational.

What are the benefits for a school from joining the Trust?

There will be a range of factors that lead a school or academy to consider joining a MAT. They may include one or more of the following:

  • The opportunity to benefit from a partnership which leads to close collaboration, the sharing of resources and expertise, which ultimately lead to real benefits in terms of teaching, learning and student progress;
  • Being able to contribute to educational experience and outcomes of young people in a wider context is attractive to many school leaders, and can help create opportunities to retain and manage the talent within your staff body.
  • Joining a MAT like the Divergent Partnership Trust will enable schools to benefit from increased scale for initial teacher training and wider staff development at a time when money will be tight and teacher recruitment ever more challenging. Being part of a MAT offers a group of schools the opportunity to train its own teachers and share the costs and time of recruitment;
  • As managing finances becomes increasingly challenging, there are opportunities to share resources and make savings which will enable more money to be spent directly on students and teachers. Furthermore, a group of schools can benefit and afford the high level of financial expertise needed to manage finance effectively and take every opportunity to generate additional income;
  • Joining a MAT with a focus on ‘partnership’ and a respect for each school’s identity is preferable for many schools to having at a later stage to join a MAT with a different approach and less emphasis on these areas;

As local authorities wane in importance and ability to support schools actively, a Trust of like-minded schools serving the local community can help fill many of the gaps left by LAs;

How will ICT procurement be handled?

We are keen to ensure we develop a partnership where Headteachers and local governing bodies continue to make decisions relating to their school. We believe that collaboration will generate ideas and the sharing of ideas which will give all of us more options to choose from.

What are the expectations around cross Trust CPD?

Different school/academies will have different CPD priorities and will want to address those in their own way. However, collaboration will provide all partners with opportunities to share the best of what they do and may choose to support each other with professional development projects.

our academies

Wrotham School

Wrotham School is a comprehensive secondary school on the outskirts of the historic village of Wrotham, and close to Sevenoaks, Kent. Wrotham was a convertor academy in 2013 establishing the Trust as a MAT. Wrotham was approved as an Academy Sponsor in 2016. Wrotham has a strong reputation as one of the highest performing comprehensive schools in Kent. The school is heavily oversubscribed and as a result has had to expand in recent years.

Aylesford School

Aylesford School is a comprehensive secondary school on the outskirts of the historic village of Aylesford, and close to Maidstone. We are proud to be a fully inclusive school that treats all children equally and has the highest expectations of staff and students.

Our vision is to provide quality academic and ‘Character Education’ which develops confident young people who are successful learners and contribute to society.

our team

Matthew Wright

Executive Headteacher of the Trust

Tanya Kelvie

Headteacher – Aylesford School

Mike Cater

Headteacher – Wrotham School

If you would like to know more about the divergent partnership trust please email matthewwright@divergent.org.uk