Outcome of School Consultation

7th January 2016


Dear Parents, Carers and Staff

Following last term’s joint consultation process, Riverside’s governing body met this Monday to consider their preferred strategic future in light of the feedback received.

We would like to start by joining with our Federation governor colleagues in expressing our thanks to the staff and parents of all three schools for their time in contributing to the process by attending the meetings, completing feedback forms or emailing their thoughts and opinions.

We are aware that the governing body of the Federation of Infant Schools met before the Christmas break and determined that shared leadership across all three schools at this time does not provide the best solution for the Federation. Information regarding their decision, and the resultant next steps, is available from the infant schools.

After careful consideration of the consultation feedback, but also of the extensive feedback Riverside governors have received from parents, carers and staff over the last year or so, our governors confirmed the previously agreed position, namely that moving towards shared leadership across all three schools at this time would have provided the best solution.

Governors also agreed that, had this also been the view arrived at by the Federation’s governors, it would have been preferable to move quickly to form a single governing body across all three schools in order to ensure a clear leadership relationship with a single Head.

The keys points behind Riverside’s governors reaching this position are as follows:

  • We continue to be mindful that a significant body of research evidence shows that children benefit most when the primary education they receive is as consistent as possible all the way from nursery to the end of key stage two and believe that this consistency would be best optimised through shared leadership.
  • It was recognised that numerous staff respondents identified many current strengths of the infant schools that they considered may be lost were the three schools to have shared leadership. They also identified a number of potential risks associated with shared leadership across all three schools, as did the Federation’s governors. However, while acknowledging these concerns, Riverside’s governors are of the view that the strengths could be maintained, and the risks mitigated, under the right leadership.
  • The majority of parental feedback received during the consultation process was in favour of formal integration, as has been almost all the feedback our governors have received from a significant number of parents and staff over the last year or so.
  • In view of the different positions arrived at by the two governing bodies, two key actions are necessary:
  1. Ensuring continued high quality leadership at Riverside: While the current leadership arrangements are not permanent, they are proving to be very effective, with the school continuing to improve in all areas. We have therefore agreed that Mrs Greenaway will continue in her role as Executive Head until at least the end of the academic year, with Mrs Burton continuing as Acting Head of School. In due course, governors will consider longer term leadership options with a view to putting more permanent arrangements in place.

Both governing bodies have committed to involving each other in any appointment process to ensure that the collaboration requested by parents is integral to the way that we move forward.

  1. Optimising consistency of provision across the primary school phase: We are in full agreement with our Federation colleagues that a consistent approach to curriculum delivery would be beneficial and, moving forward, this will be a priority for leadership across all three schools. Governors will consider how we best achieve this consistency, and it is likely to include shared governor and teacher sessions, to agree plans and strategies that can be implemented consistently.Please direct any questions or comments regarding the content of this letter to me. I can be contacted at chair@riverside.calderdale.sch.uk or via the school office.

We recognise that some of you will be disappointed with the position that has arisen. We would like to make clear our commitment to ensuring that the different positions the two governing bodies have arrived at will not in any way undermine a continued desire to work closely together in the best interests of the children of Hebden Bridge.


Jon Hairsine

Chair of Governors