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What is a free school?

Free schools are independent, state-funded schools. They have the same legal status as academies. The schools are free to attend but are not controlled by the Local Authority.

Can free schools make a profit?

No. Free schools can only be set up and owned by charities.

How are the schools and the trust be held accountable?

The schools are run by the Headteacher and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). The Headteacher is accountable to the Local Governing Board/Sustainable Improvement Board (locally) and the CEO. All are ultimately accountable to the Charitable Trust (Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow) which oversees the schools. In addition, the trust and both schools are also accountable to the Department for Education through the terms of their Funding Agreements.

The Charity Trust is also accountable to the Secretary of State. As a company limited by guarantee, the Trust must prepare and file an independently audited annual report and accounts with Companies House.

What is the process for staff progression – performance management? Will there be other opportunities?

There will be a range of opportunities for staff training and progression both within the schools and for centrally appointed staff. The Charitable Trust will be responsible for the performance management of Headteachers.

What is a Multi-Academy Trust?

A Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is where a number of schools join together and form a single Trust with a Board of Trustees answerable to the Trust's Members. Members of the Trust are a group of independent people who are responsible for the strategic oversight of all Academies within the Trust.