Once a school's governing body has decided to begin the process of joining the Good Shepherd's family of schools, the Trust's central team and Directors will provide support every step of the way to ensure a seamless transition for everyone involved.
The first step is to consult with all the school's stakeholders, including parents and staff. Informed by this consultation, the school's governing body will then decide whether to proceed with applying for an academy order from the DfE to release a start up grant - which currently starts at £25,000 - to pay for the legal and other costs associated with joining The Good Shepherd.
The next step is when the main work takes place - both the Trust and the school will need to undertake due diligence, agree a Scheme of Delegation, resolve any issues regarding ownership of land and buildings and prepare to transfer staff to the Good Shepherd Trust. But don't worry, there's a great deal of support available for schools to carry out the necessary work as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Once this detailed work has been concluded to the satisfaction of both the school and the Trust, the school's governing body will then decide whether to agree to the signing of the DfE's Supplementary Funding Agreement to finalise the conversion. Only at this point does joining the Trust become legally binding.
Most schools are able to complete this process in four to six months. Conversion can take place at any time during the year on the 1st of a month.