The Leek Federation

The Leek Federation 

 Hard Federation of three of the Secondary Schools in Leek

from 1st September 2012


There has been a long history of all of the schools in Leek working together in partnership. As Leek has a three tier system there are four schools deemed to be Secondary Schools and these four schools have always worked closely together on all issues relating to the education of our young people. The four schools are

  • Churnet View Middle School
  • Leek High Specialist Technology School
  • St Edward’s CE (A) Junior High School
  • Westwood College

In order to be able to continue to offer an outstanding education, at a time of declining school incomes and a radically changed County Council structure, the Governing Bodies of the following three schools have decided by unanimous vote  that, from 1st September 2012, they will form  a Hard Federation, in accordance with The School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2007:

  • Churnet View Middle School
  • Leek High Specialist Technology School
  • Westwood College

A Hard Federation is a formal and legal agreement by which these three schools will now have a single Governing Body. This will mean that one Governing Body will strategically lead all three schools, ensuring the smoothest possible route for our 9-19 year olds. The advantage of a Hard Federation is that it will strengthen significantly the permanent long term relationship between the schools in the Federation. However, each school will also create a School Management Committee that will look after the interests of that school.

The Hard Federation, of the three schools, will be now formally be known as ‘THE LEEK FEDERATION’.

IN ADDITION, St Edward’s Junior High School will enter into a formal collaboration with the three other schools so that all four schools can work together to further improve outcomes for the young people of Leek and The Moorlands. For legal reasons around their church status it is not possible for St Edward’s to federate under the same terms and conditions as the other schools. However, St Edward’s Junior High School will have representation on the Federation Governing Body and on the committees of the new Governing Body. Schools in The Leek Federation will, likewise, have representation on the Governing Body of St Edward’s Junior High School. In this way all four schools can continue to work together to share and realise a common vision that will maintain the three tier system, building upon the superb work being done in the First Schools. John Kime, Headteacher at St Edward’s Junior High School,  believes that this proposal “is a commitment to a shared vision based on a solid existing partnership.”

Julia Turner, Headteacher of Churnet View Middle School is of the opinion that “the Hard Federation is the logical development of the collaborative arrangements that we already have in place” whilst John Spencer, Headteacher of Leek High Specialist Technology School feels that the Hard Federation, of the three schools, with strong collaboration with St Edward’s Junior High School, “is an opportunity for all four schools to work closely together whilst retaining their own character and ethos.”

The decision to form a Hard Federation follows a long consultation process that ensured that The School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2007 were followed and which included formal consultation with parents, staff, Local Authority and other stakeholders.  Eileen Murfin, Chair of Governors at Leek High Specialist Technology School is especially pleased that “support for the Hard Federation was unanimous from all the groups that were consulted.”

The Governors of all three schools felt that there are a number of reasons why this Hard Federation will be a big success.

  • A sense of shared identity between schools through being close together and a sense of being part of the same community
  • A strong sense of common purpose, with schools involved having a shared sense of what needs to be done, how it is done and a joint vision for improving the attainment, achievement and progression of their young people
  • A strong cohesive leadership and an interest in developing leadership at all levels in the participating schools
  • A strong management team with the ability to deliver the school improvement agenda
  • Trust built into every level of management, the ability to share a sense of openness, and willingness to operate in a joined-up and united way
  • Schools prepared to commit time and resources to ensure that the new system is effective and sustainable. There must be a strong commitment to raising standards and achievement in all schools in the partnership and to continually improve progression for their young people

They are confident that this partnership will build on the successes that the four schools have already achieved and that new arrangement will enable a child’s journey through the system to be planned more effectively. All of the schools will take responsibility for all of the children in the schools. Resource, support, care and guidance will be focused on the needs of the child not the school. Mandy Bennett, Chair of Governors at Westwood College, is confident that “this partnership will be a mechanism for developing this change of focus away from needless competition between schools” and Judy Gregg, Chair of Governors at Churnet View Middle School is of the opinion that whilst our schools may be forced to respond to financial and political pressures “the key driving force behind this proposal is to improve the quality of educational provision.”

Ian Hamilton, Headteacher at Westwood College believes that “the strengthened partnership will enable us to more readily share our facilities and improve the educational opportunities of our youngsters.”

In the new Leek Federation every school will retain its own Headteacher. There will also be an Executive Principal who will be myself. I will also continue as Executive Principal of The Cheadle Academy. The Executive Principal’s role will be to provide strategic leadership across the Federation. I feel that at a time of increasing uncertainty in the educational sector our new Hard Federation will give us the opportunity to take control of our own future; by keeping three schools on three sites we will be able to develop a local solution to all of the challenges that we face. This is a real opportunity to develop a system that is responsive to the needs of local youngsters. I would add that support for this proposal was unanimous amongst all of the groups that were consulted. I am confident that your trust in our judgement will not be misplaced.

Yours sincerely

Keith Hollins

Executive Principal

Sentinel Federation Article (Feb 2012)

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