FAQs About SLT


Each academy retains its own Local Governing Body (LGB) who, through the ‘Scheme of Delegation’, keeps a good deal of autonomy. Where a school is experiencing challenges the Trust Officers will work closely with the LGB to overcome these.

Do we have to ‘do things’ in a prescribed way?

In some trusts this is the case; a form for this and a form for that, a common assessment method, prescribed teaching and learning approaches etc. At SLT, where standardisation or aligned practices are seen it is because our Headteachers are synthesising the best ideas from their academies leading to a consistency of approaches, rather than prescription by the Trust. Some of our policies (i.e. HR) are shared across the Trust and yet there is room for local solutions where necessary. All Headteachers are key agents of Trust policy because they are members of the Executive Team that shape our policies for Trustee ratification.

Who manages the budget?

All the time the academy is ‘in the black’ and expending funds in a prudent manner for the benefit of current and future learners, the LGB and Headteacher control the budget. When it is required, the Trust Officers will support the LGB if the academy is experiencing budgetary challenges. Later in this document we will explain the Annual Partnership Contribution (APC) that each academy contributes to for central Trust staffing, School Improvement, centralised CPD, Speech and Language support, Educational Psychology support etc.

Will we have to change our uniform?


Will we have to change our branding?

No, although there will need to be the SLT logo on headed paper, signs at the front of the academy etc.

Will our name change?

SLT prefers that schools joining have the word ‘Academy’ after the recognised name of the original school, but this will never be a barrier to joining us.

Will the Headteacher and LGB be able to make their own staff appointments?

In some trusts there has to be permission sought to make appointments. Not so with SLT up to positions that will be on the academy’s Leadership Team. For Assistant Heads, Business Managers, Deputy Heads and Headteachers the trust and academy would constitute a shared recruitment panel. The CEO, as Accounting Officer, is ultimately responsible to the Secretary of State for the outcomes of the academy and therefore has to be content with senior appointments. However, it is highly unlikely that like-minded leaders would disagree after a thorough interview process.

Who line-manages the Headteachers?

All Headteachers (and Chairs of LGBs) in our Trust have direct access to the CEO. This happens formally (see Executive Team) and informally as and when they wish such access. In addition, the CEO line manages all Headteachers as their school joins the Trust to ensure that the transition into the Trust is seamless.

How large is Sussex Learning Trust?

SLT is a relatively small trust. We believe that the number of academies that constitute the trust is not the critical aspect, rather it is how it is organised to work that really matters. We believe in clusters or ‘hubs’ so that each academy is an important stakeholder within the locality of approximately 5 or 6 partner academies. We are hoping to create 4 such clusters.

How is governance of the MAT structured? Will my academy be suitably represented on the main board of Trustees?

We want the Local Governing Body to retain responsibility for their academy. At SLT the Board of Trustees is organised so that each academy has a named trustee responsible for ensuring each institution has its views represented.

What is the Executive Team?

This comprises all the academy Heads and Trust Officers who meet together fortnightly to support and challenge each other. This is exceptional CPD for both Heads and Trust Officers whilst developing a sense of team and shared moral purpose to learn from each other to the benefit of the pupils and students throughout the Trust. This team has a key consulting (for the Trustees) and decision making role for the Trust. It means that each academy Head has equal access to debates that shape the future of the Trust, overcome shared barriers to improvements and design initiates that will benefit our various learning communities. The agenda of meetings is shaped by the Team and it is chaired by the CEO.

If my school is joining with a less than ‘good’ OFSTED how will we be treated?

SLT believes that all schools can and do add value to the collective benefit of our constituent academies. Therefore, all the access and influence detailed above that schools receive and bring to our Trust will be just the same, irrespective of their OFSTED judgements. The support received will be tailored accordingly to meet the needs of the school which will be at a proportionate rate of the challenges to be overcome.