In October 2014 the Church of England Education Office produced a document called “Working Together – The Future of Rural Church of England Schools”. This document looked at the large numbers of small schools in rural settings who are facing tough challenges in the ever changing education landscape.
One of the solutions to some of these challenges was for small schools to work together in both formal and informal collaborations, so that resources and best practice can be shared to maximise school improvement and impact. This, in itself, is a challenge as the nature of the schools mean that they are sometimes in remote locations. There seemed to be a need for some sort of financial planning tool that would enable small schools to take a strategic approach to their future.
Drb Limited was asked to work with the Academy Adviser to look at producing a “Small Schools Planning Tool” which could be used by groups of small schools to model their budgets and funding to establish if working collaboratively or joining together as a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) would be sustainable for them.
In the current landscape, the Government is looking for all schools to convert to academies and the promoted model is for schools to work together in a MAT. In view of this the “Small Schools Planning Tool’’ has been based on this principle.