FAQ

Section A: Developing a Free School

1: What is a Free School?

Free Schools are state or maintained schools that receive their funding entirely from central government. As such they are automatically ‘Academies’ and sit outside Local Authority control but adhere to the School Admissions Code of Practice. Free Schools are non-selective and free to all attending pupils. They are set up by interested local groups who feel their area would benefit from a Free School and can demonstrate local demand for one.

2: Why are you establishing the school?

We believe that every child deserves a good, local school. The Local Authority have informed us that additional school places in this area are required in the near future. The Local authority are committed to improving the education offer for residents in the town. Local residents tell us that an additional secondary school choice would be welcomed. Many students currently do not secure places at their first choice school and end up travelling long distances and attending schools they had not chosen.
The community deserves a new outstanding school.

3: How many children are you accepting in September 2020?

We are accepting 210 Year 7 places for September 2020. We will only be accepting Year 7 students in the first year. We will build year by year, with an eventual number on roll of 1050 secondary school students.

4: Why do I need to express my interest now?

In order to secure funding, we have to demonstrate sufficient parental interest in our school to the Department for Education. Expressing your interest in the school by completing our survey or registering your interest on our website is all you have to do at this stage, indicating that the Outwood Academy Riverside may be a preference for you. This will help ensure that you and other parents have the future choice of the Outwood Academy Riverside.

5: What if I sign up then change my mind?

Expressing your interest at this stage does not commit you to sending your child to the school. You will complete your school choices when your child is in Year 6 in the usual way.

6: How and when do I apply to the Outwood Academy Riverside?

Middlesbrough residents should apply through the Local Authority application process, selecting the Outwood Academy Riverside as one of your preferences. The school is happy to assist with this process. The process starts when your child is in Year 6. We will retain a list of potential parents and keep you updated on our progress.

7: Is your location decided and has the site been secured?

We have identified a suitable site to build a new school for opening in September 2021. The site will need to be secured and agreed before any confirmation of the site is given. The site will serve the central area of the town. Once public consultation has been concluded we will work with the Department for Education to finalise the plans and get the site ready for opening. It is intended that the school initially opens in a temporary build in September 2020 which will also allow our students to have input on the design of the building.

8: Will this be the name of the school?

Outwood Academy Riverside is a working title for our proposed school, after initially changing it from Outwood Academy Middlehaven. Through the consultation process we will review the name again to ensure its name best reflects its community.

9: How will my child get to the school?

Once we have a clearer idea of where students live in relation to the school we will begin to explore transport options.

10: How does the funding work?

The Outwood Academy Riverside will receive a package of funding direct from the Department for Education to set up and establish the school from September 2021 the school receives a per pupil funding settlement from the Local Authority in line with all maintained secondary schools.

11: What happens if there is a change in government / education policy?

Upon opening, all free schools receive the same legal status as academies. The Outwood Academy Riverside will join our Trust’s family of schools and receive all the benefits our other secondary and primary academies receive from being in our Trust. Details of our vision, ethos, curriculum and wider provision are detailed on our Free School information website.

Section B: Academic Culture and Ethos

1: Will you be focused on academic excellence?

Yes. Our academic priority is to deliver excellent GCSE results in the English Baccalaureate subjects, providing a secure foundation for ‘A’ level success. This will enable students to secure places at the Russell Group Universities. Our curriculum is broad and balanced offering a flexible knowledge-rich curriculum. To find out more visit our Free School information website

2: What is your track record?

Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT) is a multi-academy trust at the forefront of system leadership and has an enviable proven track record in transforming schools more often than not from a category of concern. Since 2007, we have worked in more than 25 schools across 11 local authorities in both the primary and secondary sector. We are proud of the improved life chances given to young people in schools under our leadership. Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools stated that, of the Key Stage 4 value added scores for MATs with the largest number of secondary schools, OGAT was ranked first for improvement in value added score and described as “significantly above average”. We are the highest performing trust in the North East and the fourth highest performing trust nationally.

3: What is the track record of the school leaders?

Our Trust prides itself on the quality of its leadership which has been praised in our Ofsted reports. In Middlesbrough our Executive Principal is Mark Hassack a National Leader of Education, with extensive experience of leading secondary schools. He is a National Leader of Education and a National Leader of Governance and leads Outwood Academy Acklam, Outwood Academy Ormesby and Outwood Academy Bishopsgarth. He is supported by an extended leadership team, experienced in securing high outcomes for students. Outwood Academy Acklam is ranked second in the North East for Progress 8 and is in the top 3% for Progress 8 nationally. Its leadership is graded outstanding.

4: What will you be looking for in your staff?

We will be recruiting outstanding professionals, who share our vision for education, our passion and who are committed to do whatever it takes to deliver excellence for our students. We will deploy some of our existing staff to lead and support the Free School. We will be recruiting teachers on the basis of their academic qualifications, quality of classroom practice, commitment to learning (that of students and their own) and our vision. Being part of a highly successful System Leader Multi Academy Trust with a wider group of schools enables us to use teachers who we already know are good and outstanding.

5: My child has special needs? How will you cater for them?

We will follow the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice to ensure that students are appropriately supported. We have access to experienced Regional Directors of SEND, SENCOs and specialist support teachers. We operate several additional resource provisions or ARPs in our academies. Each of our academies operates Deep Support with an Inclusion Team and provides a Bridge and Personal Learning Centre to support SEND and vulnerable students. Support is provided within lessons and through quality teaching to ensure all students have support to access their lessons. For more information, please visit our Free School website.

6: Will there be a school uniform?

Yes. School uniform is an important factor that helps promote school identity and set high standards. All of our schools have the same uniform. Images of our uniform can be found on our website. We will supply all Year 7 students with a free uniform bundle which includes a pair of trousers or skirt, two shirts, a tie, a blazer and a PE kit including sports socks, a sports t-shirt and shorts. Our uniform items are logoed and are competitively priced. Additional items can be purchased online.

7: Will there be after school clubs for those with working parents?

Yes. Outwood Academy Riverside will run an extended school day, which will finish at 3.30pm. This enables enrichment sessions covering a variety of academic, sporting, arts and other activities.

8: What sports will be offered?

Sport will form an important part of our school. We will offer a wide range of sporting opportunities and high quality sports coaching. Sports will include team games (for example football, rugby, cricket, netball, hockey) and individual pursuits (such as: dance, athletics, personal fitness).

9: Will you encourage arts education – music and drama?

Yes – music and / or drama are offered in our schools. Our afternoon enrichment sessions also allow access to music, drama and artistic opportunities. We have a Director of Performing Arts who works across our schools to ensure high quality Arts provision in all our schools. We will engage with the Tees Valley music to support peripatetic music lessons.

10: What other activities will you offer?

We will offer opportunities for Student Voice offering leadership development, charitable work, public speaking, enterprise activities. Within our provision we offer language trips, Duke of Edinburgh, community development, social responsibility and residential trips and visits such as a free outward bound residential for all year 8 pupils.

Section C: How to get involved

1: How can I become more involved now?

Outwood Academy Riverside is committed to serving the community. We are initially looking for parents to register interest and to attend meetings about the School. We hope parents in our schools in Middlesbrough will promote the work we do and our ethos during the development phase. Once the school is running parental involvement through our Academy Council will be a vital part of school life and parents will be invited to apply to this body.

2: How can parents get involved in the running / future of the school?

We seek to engage positively with our parents. Parents will be invited into school regularly and will meet formally with their child’s teachers three times a year. A parental focus group will operate throughout our pre-opening stages and this will continue to offer a regular voice for parents after opening. Parents will be represented on the school’s local academy governing body.

3: How can I stay in touch as the project develops?

Over the next two years we will continue to involve prospective parents in every aspect of the project. We will provide regular updates via Twitter and our website. We will also run regular formal and informal information evenings and visits to our other academies in Middlesbrough.