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Letter to stakeholders of intent to convert to academy status

Dear Parents and Carers,

We are delighted to inform you that Wells Park School has requested to join The Beckmead Trust. We believe this will be a positive move for both Wells Park and the Trust. We know you will have many questions to ask about the benefits of this collaboration and the process of becoming an academy school joining a Multi Academy Trust (MAT). In this letter we will outline what this means for the school and will provide some frequently asked questions which we hope will be helpful to you.

We would ask that you read the information below and if there are further questions you would like to ask please send them into the school. Any questions will then be collated and added to the academy section of our website. On the 8th of July we will hold  a virtual meeting as part of our commitment to the process of community consultation (see details at the end of this letter).

What is a Multi Academy Trust?

Academies are publicly funded schools, independent of the Local Authority, held accountable through a legally binding funding agreement with the Department for Education (DfE). Staff are employed by the named academy trust rather than the Local Authority.

Multi-academy trusts (MATs) are groups of academies that have come together to form a charitable company, with a single group of ‘members’ (who have an overview of the governance arrangements) and a single board of trustees. The Beckmead Trust is a MAT.

Even as part of a MAT:

  • individual schools remain as separate entities, with separate names and DfE numbers
  • individual schools still receive separate Ofsted judgements and performance tables are still based on individual schools

MATs are set up as charitable companies and are accountable directly to the Secretary of State through the regional schools’ commissioners.

As charitable companies, MATs have articles of association and a scheme of delegation, legal documents that set out the governance composition and procedures for the Trust.

The people on the main governing board of a MAT are known as Trustees. These roles come with specific legal responsibilities which include:

  • ensuring the organisation remains solvent and spends money in accordance with its charitable objectives
  • ensuring the schools in the MAT provide a good standard of education
  • managing any conflicts of interest

MATs are also required to have a group of members who sit above the board of trustees. The members have a hands-off, but nonetheless significant role. They monitor the performance of the trust and hold the trustees to account. They appoint Trustees and the  Executive Headteacher. They will intervene if the Trustees are not performing by making changes at board level.


MATs are required to produce a ‘scheme of delegation’, which outlines what decisions are taken by whom and at what level of the organisation. MATs must also comply with the Academies Financial Handbook which acts as the financial framework for academy trusts and sets out the financial governance requirements that all trusts must adhere to.

The Beckmead Trust is a growing MAT currently of 6 schools based in Croydon. It was set up in  2019 with a vision to provide the highest standard of care and education to some of the most disadvantaged children in and around Croydon. The schools are both rural and urban, primary and secondary, large and small. Each of our schools is extremely important yet it is the combination of schools which really makes a difference. Each school is definitely stronger and more successful as part of this larger group. We have managed to maintain a good balance between work that is aligned for the benefit of all schools alongside retaining each school’s individual identity.

Over the last 3 years we have been able to benefit from being a group of schools in a number of ways. We have a strong school improvement team who are able to support our schools to be the best they can be. We are able to offer a high-quality professional development package to our teachers and support staff ensuring they deliver high quality care and education but also developing their leadership, communication and IT skills. As a Trust we are able to attract high quality staff who can share their skills across a number of schools. We can offer attractive career opportunities keeping our strongest and most skilled colleagues  within the organisation so to the benefit of all our schools.

We are also able to benefit from reduced costs by merging contracts, buying in bulk and sharing resources. We provide a strong central services team which support HR, payroll,  finance and premises services which it would be unlikely one school could afford on its own.

Providing Trust policies, central services and high-quality support all enable our heads to concentrate their time on teaching and learning to enable our young people to access a rich and vibrant curriculum designed to both meet their needs and prepare them for life in the wider world.

During the recent Covid 19 pandemic the Trust has shown that it is a resilient, flexible organisation which has been able to meet the numerous demands thrown our way and to support each of our schools and families.

Why should Wells Park join The Beckmead Trust?

As the only Local Authority maintained residential primary SEMH in Essex, the school has faced some significant challenges over recent  years. As with many unique provision schools it faces the challenge of finding other schools matched in its ethos and commitment to the professional development of staff as well as monitoring and challenge. The Beckmead Trust is able to provide this essential network of partners, which a school on their own cannot. Through discussions, we have established the culture and ethos of Wells Park and that of The Beckmead Trust are well matched. We have begun working together over the last two years and whilst not a formal alliance, this has already proved to be mutually beneficial.

Whilst Wells Park has enjoyed continued outstanding inspections, it recognises the obvious synergy that joining The Beckmead Trust would offer and the potential to positively impact on a larger number of young people and their families.


Frequently asked questions

Will we lose our school name or individuality?

Whilst our policies and many practices are aligned across the schools each school within the Trust has its own identity and is part of its own community. There will be no change to the school name or uniform when the school joins the Trust.


Will the school still be a residential school?

The school will remain a residential special needs school. We are committed to enhancing and developing the school’s distinctive provision to ensure the continued hi level of care our families enjoy.


Will we lose our teachers and care officers?

The current team at Wells Park will all remain employees of the school. However, if they choose to apply for different roles across The Beckmead Trust they would do so in the same way they  would for a role in another school.


Do we have to re-apply for a school place?

As the school changes from a Local Authority school to an academy, all pupils will automatically remain on the school register.


My child has special educational needs. What happens to their funding?

All funding will continue to be allocated in the same way as it is now and will be provided by  Essex LA.


How does the transfer work?

Wells Park School submitted an application to the Head Teachers Board earlier this spring, which has now been approved in principle by The Regional Schools’ Commissioner. Wells Park are now in consultation with all stake holders prior to final agreement by both The Governing Body of Wells Park School and the Board of Trustees of The Beckmead Trust to legally transfer Wells Park School into The Beckmead Trust.


It is planned that Wells Park will transfer to academy status spring (from April 2022).

If you have any questions, you would like considered at the meeting, you are able to submit those in advance via email to info@wellspark.essex.sch.uk.



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