St James’ CE Primary is part of Sphere Federation, alongside Scholes (Elmet) Primary and Moortown Primary.
Sphere Federation was formed in September 2016. David Roundtree is the Head of Federation (sometimes called the ‘executive headteacher’). Whilst he is the named headteacher of all three schools within Sphere, each school has a Head of School, too. Other leaders works across Sphere to share skills and expertise – see our Who’s Who page.
A federation is where a number of state schools overseen by a local authority come together under a single over-arching governing body. This becomes the accountable body for all the schools and sets the strategic direction for the group. Over 1000 schools are part of a federation in England.
Federation provides maintained schools with the opportunity to form a group – without incurring legal costs – in order to improve the education of pupils. This enables governors and school leaders to focus on forming relationships between schools first, and then joint leadership, governance and business management. This can be done while still remaining a maintained school, so the process is much more focused on relationship building and producing tangible outcomes for pupils, instead of being dominated by legal changes in charity/company status and land ownership.
St James’ CE Primary, Scholes (Elmet) Primary and Moortown Primary are relatively small schools. Federations are often formed to improve capacity for smaller schools.
Federations have the following advantages, which result in improved outcomes for pupils:
- Better, broader offer for pupils – both curricular & extra-curricular
- More opportunity to employ specialist staff
- More continuing professional development (CPD) for staff
- Better recruitment, succession planning & retention of staff
- Moderating and benchmarking: same systems of assessment, data and finances
- Learning from each other
- More capacity for innovation
- Efficiencies – joint services
- Stronger governance (especially with well federated structures)