From September 2012 until August 2015 Framfield Church of England and Blackboys Church of England Primary Schools worked in a successful Collaborative Partnership under the leadership of the Executive Headteacher Mrs Jonquil King.
The schools, located within two miles of each other, are small, rural primary schools and both are Voluntary Aided church schools.
The partnership brought a range of benefits schools including:
- raised academic standards and pupil achievement
- increased opportunities for pupils’ personal development
- opportunities for pupils to meet and work as part of a larger group
- the ability to share resources, including staff, across the two schools
In May 2015 the governing bodies of the two schools took the decision to move towards a more formal partnership and set up the St Thomas à Becket Church of England Federation with effect from September 2015. In this federated structure both schools continue to operate as single schools, each with its own unique character (including Christian ethos, school name and uniform), admissions process, performance targets, budget and traditions, and have separate Ofsted inspections.
The main significant change is that, in the federation, there is one governing body with overall responsibility for the schools within it. This new governing body comprises 15 members including parent and staff governors, a local education authority governor, a co-opted governor, and Foundation governors (appointed either by the Diocese of Chichester or by the Parochial Church Council of St Thomas à Becket Church, Framfield). The Executive Headteacher and the Vicar of St Thomas à Becket Church, Framfield are governors ex-officio.
The governors are confident that, building on the success of the former partnership, the federated structure will offer:
- Long-term stability for both schools
- Secure leadership and enhanced staff development opportunities
- Stability for the current class structure and staffing levels
- Opportunities to bring the Framfield and Blackboys village communities closer together through the work and fellowship of the schools
- Strong leadership in a new governing body, making effective use of governors’ skills and a clear focus on raising outcomes for all pupils in both schools
- The enhanced ability to recruit high quality governors, especially Foundation governors