St James’ CE Primary is part of Sphere Federation, alongside Scholes (Elmet) Primary and Moortown Primary.
A federation is where a number of state schools overseen by a local authority come together under one governing body. The schools’ individual governing bodies are disbanded and a new, single over-arching governing body is formed. This becomes the accountable body for all the schools and sets the strategic direction for the group. The latest figures suggest that just 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:
- Better, broader offer for pupils – both curricular & extra-curricular
- More opportunity to employ specialist staff
- More 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)
These benefits result in improved outcomes for pupils.
Sphere Federation was formed in September 2016. Since that time, the schools have benefited in various ways. For example, there have been efficiencies when we buy school resources, with discounts earned when buying resources and services. Teachers have benefited from sharing CPD and moderating opportunities.
Read more about federations.