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A federation is when two or more schools operate under a single governing board. This single governing board is accountable for all the schools in the federation. In many cases the federation may have a single Headteacher and shared staffing although this is not a required part of federation.
While a federation creates a single governing board to govern more than one school, maintained schools in federations continue to be individual schools. It is possible for a school to join an existing federation.
Benefits of federating can include increased opportunities for staff and pupils, a wider and richer curriculum, stronger governance, improved financial viability, sharing of key resources and enhanced leadership. Federation is often a natural progression from existing collaborative arrangements where schools already share a Headteacher.
The Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) must be consulted as part of the federation process and must also approve the Instrument of Government for Church of England Schools to become part of a federation.
As soon as a school or schools are considering federation it is essential to involve your School Adviser and seek further advice from the Education Team. This advice will include assisting the governing board in assessing potential partners and helping to ensure careful consideration of the impact of the proposal on the school and the Church of England foundation.
Before moving forward formally with the consultation process the governing boards of each school are asked to seek an in-principle agreement from the DBE. This includes sharing why the federation is desirable, how long any existing partnership working has been in operation and its impact, and to confirm that all relevant governing boards have agreed to issue the request to proceed with the process at their respective meetings, as well as any other information relevant to the decision.