Background

Evergreen Primary School and The Oaks Secondary School federated in September 2015 following a period of working closely, with the Head Teacher of The Oaks acting as Executive Head Teacher at Evergreen.

Following the success of this federation and the additional benefits which this brought to both schools, when their own Head Teacher left, following a period of working closely with The South West Durham Learning Federation, Croft Community School’s governing body approached The South West Durham Learning Federation to request a formal partnership, and to join the federation.

After a consultation process, which involved staff and parents from all three schools, The North and South West Durham Learning Federation was formed.

Key points about our Federation

  • Evergreen Primary School, The Oaks Secondary School and Croft Community School remain individual schools.
  • The names of the schools have remained the same, but there is also a name for our federation, which is The North and South West Durham Learning Federation.
  • There have been no changes to admission arrangements.
  • There was no need for a change in school uniform.
  • There have been no changes of employment for existing staff.
  • We have one governing body and one Executive Head Teacher, Mrs. English, with strategic responsibility for all three schools.
  • There is a “Head of School” in each school who manages the school on a day to day basis in the absence of the Executive Head Teacher. Ms Benson is Head of School at Evergreen, Mr Tweddle is Head of School at The Oaks and Mr Davis is Head of School at Croft.

Benefits of a Hard Federation

Pupils

  • Improved transition between the schools with the possibility of closer staff links and some movement of staff between the two establishments.
  • Closer collaboration between the schools in terms of curriculum to ensure that the primary curriculum prepares pupils for secondary education.
  • The Schools have improved opportunities for cross school moderation
  • Sharing of staff knowledge, expertise and ideas between all three schools
  • Increased opportunities for shared projects and activities between the two schools.

Staff

  • Potential opportunities for promotion due to changes to leadership structures
  • Opportunities for shared professional development between the three schools
  • Opportunities to share good practice between the three schools
  • Opportunities, for current staff who wish to, and for all staff appointed post federation to work across the schools, increasing their knowledge and expertise of different phases, or aspects of the schools’ work

Parents

  • Reduced anxiety about their children moving from Evergreen to The Oaks as they would already know the Executive Head Teacher and potentially other staff from The Oaks.
  • A more seamless transition from one school to the other, with the knowledge that staff would be involved in sharing information, teaching and behavioural strategies more fully.

Governors

  • The extended remit as governors of three schools gives increased challenge and variety and utilises the already strong skills of both governing bodies to provide the best possible leadership for all three schools

In addition a hard federation provides opportunities for:

  • a structured way for the three schools to collaborate.
  • cost effective and coherent budget management in terms of procurement across both sites to ensure best value.
  • an enhanced profile of special needs education within the community.

Three schools working closely together can offer their children opportunities beyond that which a single institution can provide.

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