Dear Stakeholders

We recently wrote to notify you of the proposed merger of Transforming Lives Educational Trust and Houlton CofE Multi-Academy Trust. We are grateful for the time we are sure you took in considering the proposal, and especially grateful to those of you who responded with your thoughts, questions and comments.

The consultation document was sent to a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that feedback would be representative of the communities both Trusts serve and operate within. The consultation period has now come to an end. This document summarises the feedback we have received from consulted parties, outlines our response to this feedback and sets out the actions that will be taken as a result of the consultation period.

Comments and responses:

Respondent Comment Response from the Trusts
Concerns raised about the church majority within the proposed Trust’s governance.


The governance structure of any Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is made up of Members, Trustees and Governors.

Members ensure that the Trust is compliant within its regulatory frameworks.  Members typically meet once per year and are ‘eyes on, hands off’ in the running of the Trust. The proposed merger will bring together faith and non-faith designated schools and as such, Members must represent a church majority in statute.

Trustees are responsible for the leadership and direction of the Trust, setting its vision, ethos, values and the policies and procedures that will uphold these.  Trustees are appointed by members based upon skill set. The proposed merger will have a board of trustees appointed by the members to reflect the skill set needed to ensure the Trust is well managed.

Governors are responsible for the leadership of an individual academy within the Trust and will only have representatives appointed to represent the church interest if the school they govern is a faith designated Church of England Academy.

Relationship of TLET ‘founder’ schools with the new merged Trust.



Both trust’s founder schools have played a significant role in helping to shape the success of each trust to date. However, the proposed merged trust will not have a ‘lead’ school but will be led by a board of trustees drawn from both Trusts with operational functions delegated to the CEO and Local Governing Bodies.

Potential loss of focus on individual schools as the Trust grows.



Careful growth of the Trust is a key priority. Over the past year, TLET have developed a number of ways to make sure that all schools are known well and looked after. Houlton CofE MAT have appointed a local governing body to enable parents, staff and the local community to be involved in decision making.  Principally, the proposed Trust would bring together Rugby based schools who are geographically close making it easier to connect staff as well as for the Trust to get to know schools personally. Each school will be expected to retain a local governing body with delegated authority to ensure that the ethos and day to day running of each school reflects its local context.

Impact on admissions at Ashlawn and whether Trust primary schools would be given higher priority for places.



There are no plans to change the admissions policy for any of the schools within either Trust as part of the proposed merger. This means that priority areas for school admissions and over-subscription criteria will not be changed if the merger goes ahead. Any future changes to a school’s admissions policy would be subject to the statutory admissions consultation process involving key stakeholders.

Potential for increased pay for the Trust’s executive.



The Trust annually benchmarks pay levels against executive pay within similar sized trusts as well as against the pay of school senior leaders within the Trust to ensure that it is comparable, equitable and represents value for money.

Potential increase in size of Ashlawn School.



Ashlawn is a popular and over-subscribed school with little further scope to expand. There is no intention for the Trust to increase the Published Admission Number (PAN) of any of its schools as a result of the merger.

Potential degradation of existing good communication between primary schools and Ashlawn.  

The proposed merger will not negatively impact this good practice, and each individual school within the Trust will continue to lead on transition between schools.


As a result of the above responses, both Trusts have decided to pursue the merger. An application will now be made to the Regional Schools’ Commissioner who will assess the viability of the proposal and determine whether it can go ahead. The application will be submitted in early June and we look forward to updating you on progress in due course.

Yours faithfully

Mr Stewart Jardine                                               Mr Douglas Tribe

Chair of Trustees                                                            Chair of Trustees

Transforming Lives Educational Trust                      Houlton CofE Multi-Academy Trust