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E. Impact on pupils and families

18. Would conversion to academy status affect the school’s admissions policy?


There would be no real impact on admissions as the criteria on admissions would remain the same. This is because the allocation of places for pupils with special needs would continues to be administered by the LEA and is determined by our admissions policy.


2. What would the benefits be for the current Richard Cloudesley pupils?


This proposal would benefit Richard Cloudesley pupils by:


  • Providing access to a greater range of resources and facilities across the schools’ sites
  • Widening staff expertise to meet the ever-increasing learning and complex needs of our pupils
  • Creating opportunities for distinct and specialist sixth form provision that could enhance the range of courses offered
  • Firming up links with mainstream schools within the MAT to create more inclusion opportunities
  • Allowing for joint specialist teaching staff, for example subject teachers, that as a very small special school we are currently unable to employ full-time.


38. What would be the impact for families?


Our rationale for exploring this proposal is to maintain and enhance the provision for our current and future pupils, so we expect the day to day experience for pupils and their families to remain largely unchanged, apart from the benefits listed above.


4. Does The Bridge London Trust have its own admissions policy? If so, could this override Richard Cloudesley's own admissions policy? Can each academy within a MAT have different admissions policies?


SEN admissions are all managed by the LEA. Islington is currently consulting on the future of special needs in the borough and considering how they might continue to meet the changing needs in the future. Themes for consideration are whether Islington:

  • should have special schools or whether mainstream schools be more inclusive
  • has the right designation for its special schools, given the greatest needs are social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) and autism.


Schools within the MAT have their own admissions criteria. For example, the ILS and The Bridge School currently have different admissions criteria even though they are within the same MAT. As part of The Bridge London Trust, Richard Cloudesley School would still support the needs of young people with profound and multiple learning needs.


5. How safe is it to integrate children between complex needs and those with autism?


We already have children with autism spectrum disorders. We will be able to gain from the experience of Bridge staff, in the same way they can learn from us around our complex needs. Each school will keep its own specialism, rather than mixing children with different needs. We could however share facilities.


6. We have worked hard to get to where we are. Could joining a MAT cut our budget for important resources such as communication?


The money that we get for individual pupils can only be spent on their needs. Therefore, it cannot be used in another school, or for different purposes. Equipment would be funded as it is now.


In real terms, there have already been budget cuts and this proposal is a way of ensuring greater efficiencies and protecting our level of resourcing.


7. Would things change with Prior Weston?


Being part of a MAT does not prevent us have other types of partnership. The relationship with Prior Weston would stay the same.


8. Would our NHS therapy change as a MAT?


Therapy is provided by Whittington Health and commissioned by the local authority. This would not change as therapists are not employed by the school.