The Governors of Dafen and Swiss Valley Primary Schools have written to advise parents that they have agreed to enter an informal Federation for a pilot period of one academic year.
The term ‘federation’ describes collaborative leadership and governance arrangements between the schools. The schools will work collaboratively to improve outcomes for both schools under the pilot, which will be monitored and reviewed regularly by a Focus group, made up of Governors, Head Teachers and a Senior Local Authority Advisor. Under arrangements made between the two schools, Swiss Valley School's Mr Ceri Morris, will take the leadership role of Executive Head Teacher, and Mrs Iolan Greville from Dafen will be Deputy Head Teacher.
Information evenings will be held at both schools in the coming weeks, and updates and feedbackwill be given to parents throughout the pilot period.
According to a report by ESTYN, the Inspectorate of Education and Training in Wales, nearly all schools are involved in some form of partnership working with other schools.
The details of the 'Federation Working' planned for Dafen and Swiss Valley may become more clear during the forthcoming information evenings, and it is important to note the 'informal' status of the arrangement, but ESTYN says that Federated schools seek to improve the learning experiences of pupils by planning schemes of work jointly. It says that, though most federation arrangements are relatively new, there is evidence that outcomes for pupils in relation to well-being, such as attendance and behaviour, improve as a result of federation. Joint extra-curricular activities contribute well to pupils’ well-being, and teachers develop a greater range of teaching skills as a result of working together and sharing professional development activities. In nearly all federations studied in the report, there have been financial benefits, derived from sharing and pooling staff and expertise; achieving consistency of approach; being able to negotiate better deals for services and resources; and rationalising staffing structure.
At present, Federated schools remain registered as separate schools,which means that for audit and inspection purposes they are treated separately.
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