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Cranmer Education Trust

Intention of St. John’s CE, Thornham to join Cranmer Education Trust


Over the last 12 months St. John’s senior leaders alongside the governing board have worked very hard researching what it means to become an academy and have spent time looking, in depth, at three church of England MATs. The governing board looked at reasons for academisation/

joining a MAT, strengths in joining a MAT and risks if the school does not join a MAT.


The Christian Distinctiveness of our school is lived out every day in our actions, with our school motto and ethos at the heart of all decision making. The governing board were unanimous in their decision to proceed with an application to Manchester Diocese to become an academy. They were also unanimous in their decision that Cranmer Education Trust, through its values and ethos would enable our school to continue to thrive, further flourish and grow as a Church of England school within a Church of England family of schools led by a trust with a Christian Foundation. We believe that Cranmer Education Trust will enable us to do exactly what we encourage our staff and children to do each day face our fears and build hopes and dreams for our futures, ensuring that SJT continues to serve the community for many years ahead.


Cranmer Education Trust also-

  • Have a clear growth plan that would support a small school joining in the trust
  • Value our contribution towards the MAT
  • Have a strong reputation, with strong schools reflected by recent Ofsted and Siam’s Inspections
  • Recognise our strengths in leadership and good quality teaching and learning
  • See our potential grow and develop further and actively want to support our growth to one form entry
  • Have a Local Church of England secondary school in the trust which is making good progress where further links can be developed to ensure our children move on to a CofE School in their local catchment area
  • Have the current capacity for shared services to provide best value
  • Can provide strong opportunities to further staff development across schools and within the SCITT and leadership hub.
  • Cranmer’s values and ethos will ensure our school uniqueness is valued and cherished allowing us to continue to serve our community in our distinct way.


Cranmer’s Values and Ethos

  • We believe in the unique worth and value of every individual. As a Christian foundation we express this in our belief in every child as a child of God, equal, worthy of respect, entitled to nurture, opportunities and a future where they can and will do good as they go along.
  • We serve children and young people of all faiths and denominations and none. We will nurture Christian children in their faith support children of other faiths in theirs and seek to ensure that all children understand the significance of faith.
  • We are committed to the development of all staff throughout their careers: and to growing inspiring, committed, highly skilled and reflective teachers.
  • We work collaboratively, we commit, we share, we invest and we learn to build a system that enables all children and young people, and those who serve them, to thrive.
  • Our schools are communities that bring together young people from different social, cultural and faith backgrounds to build a cohesive, integrated, respectful community for all.

"The Cranmer Education Trust is delighted that the governing body of St John’s CE Primary, Thornham has resolved to join us. We look forward to welcoming the pupils, staff, governors, parents and wider community of this wonderful school to our trust family, and to working with them in our shared commitment to life in all its fullness and excellent education for all our young people."

FAQs – St John’s CE Primary School (SJT) joining the Cranmer Education Trust (CET)

1(a)   Why have the governors decided SJT should join the Cranmer Education Trust?

This is a decision that the governors have been weighing up for a year. The main reason is that we want the best for our children. With so many pressures now on schools and communities, it makes sense to work together. Small primaries can be particularly vulnerable to movements of staff or pressures on budgets.  We want to be part of a family that shares our vision, our values and our ethos, that invests in people and in schools and that shares expertise and experience.

We spent a lot of time researching the possibilities and spoke to a number of great trusts. We are grateful for the time they gave us. In the end we decided unanimously that CET, which runs St George’s East Crompton and Mayfield primaries, and St Anne’s, The Blue Coat School and the new Brian Clarke CE Academy secondaries, was the right one for SJT because:

  • Cranmer absolutely shares our distinctive Christian ethos. We want all our children and young people to understand and begin to experience what “Life in all its fullness” means, in mind, body and spirit. Their schools are all different, and they all serve different communities, but their commitment to the young people and the staff who serve them is rock-solid, and the CE distinctiveness of their CE schools is absolute
  • They are strong and know what they are doing. They have been going now for 6 years as a schools’ trust and have planned their growth strategically. They have both primary and secondary experience and expertise, plus teacher training and development arms. Their central capacity has ensured every school is supported and every school has improved/continues to improve. They are financially sound. Their accounts are exemplary. Their governance reviews have both been excellent. A recent staff survey showed high levels of awareness of and alignment with the trust, and recognition of the benefits for schools. We saw a real commitment to and indeed passion for the trust from the schools and the people who lead them.
  • Cranmer is very local with schools in Rochdale and Oldham. The trustees are all local people who are strongly invested in our area and our children.
  • We like the cross-phase character, and working with secondary colleagues. The benefits go both ways, we already have a lot of support from St Anne’s on transition, which our children really enjoy and benefit from. We look forward to bringing our strengths to the family, for example in the teaching of reading, and writing.
  • Cranmer’s culture is collaborative, i.e. do with, not do to, and it is based on growing the leadership in each school. There aren’t big central teams; it’s all very lean, but it is expert, and that is essential for school leaders as the demands and expectations continue to increase.
  • We are in a strong position; we have just had a really good inspection. We want our brilliant staff to have opportunities to develop others and keep on learning themselves. CET runs a teacher training arm, Manchester Nexus and the professional development hub. Our headteacher is now leading the National Professional Qualifications for Senior Leaders in this hub, which puts us in the centre and brings resource into our school.
  • As part of one trust, we will be a powerful and coherent voice for our schools, our children and our communities.


1(b)   Does joining trust mean that the schools are no longer part of a Local Authority?

SJT will remain part of the network of primaries in Rochdale. The CET works in civic partnership with Local Authorities.


1(c)   What is the role of Manchester Diocese in SJT becoming an academy and joining CET?

The Diocese is neutral in that it does not direct governing bodies in decisions such as this. It makes information available for them, and will want to hear/has heard our rationale and check/ed that we have thought about this thoroughly and weighed up all the different options (which we have). Ultimately this is the decision of the governors who are the responsible body for the school


2.       What will it mean for the pupils of SJT?  Will we be able to keep own identity?

This was one of the aspects that drew us to CET. Our school has a very long and proud history of serving children and our community, and we wanted that distinctiveness to remain. The CET is very clear (and you can see this in their school members) that all the schools are unique and distinctive. They have shared values, principles, policies and a shared identity as one family, but within that the schools are different and distinctively themselves:


  • They have their own uniform.
  • They decide their own environment/colours.
  • They set their own term and holiday dates (within the LA pattern – nothing causes more problems for parents than having to work around different school holidays).
  • All policy is based on shared principles, which may look different in different schools.

How pupils will benefit – will be that their school is part of a bigger family which gives it security, the benefit of shared resource; a range of expertise to call down and therefore, high-quality in everything we do. Our pupils already benefit from transition work with St Anne’s; we will be linking with Blue Coat for the faith days, and with the whole trust for family celebrations


3.       How will staff be affected?  Will staff have to move between schools?

Currently, the employer is the Governing Body. All permanent staff will be transferred to the CET on their existing terms and conditions of employment. They are protected. The unions will all be involved. CET has a Joint Consultation and Negotiation Committee, with all unions representing education sector employees to consult on policy across the trust. Our HR provider (iTrent) will work with CET to make sure that all details are correct.


Once in CET, staff remain working in their school. The CET does offer secondments across schools for professional development – these are voluntary, and depend on the ability of the school to backfill. As part of the School Improvement Strategy, staff across the trust support, mentor and coach one another to develop new staff and people who are taking on a new role

Networks between support staff are particularly useful as these posts can be quite isolated in a single school.


4.       SJT is a Church of England school with a distinctively Christian ethos.  How will this be preserved?

We have chosen the CET because it is committed to a distinctive Christian ethos in its CE schools. St Anne’s, The Blue Coat, Brian Clarke CE Academy and St George’s all share the text for the year and the plan for worship across the year. All worship themes are based on the Bible. The trust’s chaplain, a teacher, leads worship in all schools every half term.


Worship follows the arc of the Christian year with a shared trust approach to advent and lent. All CE schools follow the Diocesan Scheme for RE.


The CET’s schools serve children of all faiths and none, and from all backgrounds and circumstances. The aim is to enable children to understand and be able to live “life in all its fullness”. The children have different needs, and church schools must respond to these, to support children, staff and communities.


5.       Will the Admissions Policy change?  Who decides?

No. In law, any change to admissions policies can only be made after consultation and all policies must comply with the Admissions Code (Sept 2021). If the code changes then schools have to adjust policy in line with this. It is the responsibility of the Trust Board to ensure that school policies comply with statutory requirements.


6.       How will parents and other members of the community be consulted?

We want everyone to be able to ask questions and share views This is the start of the first, informal stage of consultation. We are informing all parents and are developing a list of FAQs which we hope will answer a lot of the initial questions. We will add to the list as we go along.

We hope also to be able to answer a lot of other questions through our Governor-at-the-Gate Scheme,

There will be a formal consultation lasting 6 weeks probably in Autumn 2023.


The Open Day Presentation Mrs Hunter shared at the Open Day for the 2024 Reception Intake is available under the About Us tab in the admissions section of this website. Do not worry if you missed the Open Day just give us a ring to arrange a date and time to visit us!