Frequently asked questions

Below we seek to answer some of the frequently asked questions that arise when a school is considering whether to convert, and whether our trust is the one that suits your school best.

We hope that it is helpful to you, but it will not be as effective as an actual conversation in which we might better explore what joining our trust might mean for your students and staff. Please get in touch via if you would like to set up a meeting to explore your school’s aspirations further.


  • Why should my school consider joining a schools trust?

    At this time there is no requirement for maintained schools to consider joining a trust. Our experience, however, is that the collaboration and support from being a school within a trust brings benefit to both staff and students. This is backed up by research, particularly from experiences during the covid pandemic. The leaflet Starting with Why: Why join a trust – and why a trust-based system may help your thinking on this.

  • Are all trusts the same?

    No. The geographical spread of academy trusts varies, as does the extent of operation at a central level. A range of models have proven to be highly effective, and therefore it is important to find one that resonates with the values and needs of your school.

  • My school is a Church of England school, what difference does this make to our conversion options?

    Church of England schools will be supported by their Diocese in joining a trust that operates on a Church of England foundation as set out in the trust’s Articles of Association. In the Anglican Diocese of Leeds church trusts have all purposefully been established to welcome all schools with a shared ethos, whether church or not.

  • My school is not a church school, what impact does this have on our conversion options?

    Non-church schools are open to consider joining a wide range of trusts, including in many instances those who operate on a Church of England foundation. In the Anglican Diocese of Leeds church trusts have all purposefully been established to welcome all schools with a shared ethos, whether church or not.

  • Our school is a community school, will there be any pressure for it to become a church school?

    No. Our trustees and the wider organisation value both church and non-church schools, and although our trust is based on a Christian foundation this does not mean that all schools will be expected to become church schools. We believe that our ethos and values can be effectively upheld in both settings.

  • We are not a church school – is joining Yorkshire Causeway an option?

    Yes, definitely. Our trust is already made up of church and community schools and we are committed to continue developing this model. For us the important factor is shared values and a willingness to work together to deliver education that is ambitious for all of our students.

  • Who is the employer for staff working in a trust?

    The trust becomes the employer (in our case, Yorkshire Causeway Schools Trust), and staff in post at the point of the conversion will be consulted with as part of the transfer of their employment in line with TUPE legislation.

  • How big does Yorkshire Causeway plan to become?

    Our trust is open to conversations on conversion interest from church and community schools in North Yorkshire or just beyond, primary or secondary. Yorkshire Causeway currently operates across the Harrogate and Craven areas, and whilst this may widen in achieving its wish to work with schools sharing the same ethos, it has no plans to operate at county, region or national levels. There is no fixed number of students or schools that we are seeking to achieve, our growth will be considered and informed by shared ethos and values as well as the more technical operational aspects such as financial position. Our intent is that every school will have something to bring to the trust, and every school will be able to draw some benefit from it.

  • We would like to retain the look and feel of our school – will this be possible in Yorkshire Causeway?

    Yes. Our trust is committed to schools continuing to represent their local communities and as such we do not require any changes to branding, uniform or other presentations of the school, other than inclusion of the trust logo on things like external signage.

  • Is St Aidan’s the lead school of Yorkshire Causeway?

    No. Our trust is comprised of a number of primary schools, plus St Aidan’s CE High School. Whilst we strive to realise mutual benefit from having primary and secondary education in the same organisation, no school leads over another.

  • Will Yorkshire Causeway take on any schools that require significant support?

    Our trust is proud to hold sponsor status which means that we are approached with requests to support and take on schools who are facing difficulties, likely in the form of a poor Ofsted outcome. Where it is right for our organisation and the joining school to do so, we will ensure that the appropriate support mechanisms and resources are in place to bring about the necessary improvements. This is a collective responsibility which will be co-ordinated and led centrally, according to the needs of the staff and students of the incoming school.

  • How much autonomy will remain with our school leaders if we join Yorkshire Causeway?

    All trusts have a Scheme of Delegation which describes this. Broadly speaking, for us, leadership of teaching and learning sits with headteachers and their teams. As a trust we have accountability mechanisms to provide assurance that all of our students are receiving education that is ambitious.

    In order that headteachers and senior leaders can focus on teaching and learning as much as possible, we are increasingly moving to provide central oversight or management of operational matters such as finance, compliance and estates. We are resourcing the central team to do this and will always work in conjunction with our school leaders in pursuit of our shared commitment to students.

  • Would our school retain its own budget?

    Yes. The school’s budget is set and monitored specifically for the school which also retains its own bank account. Our Director of Finance will work with you to support effective financial management. You can find out more about how finances are managed in the trust from our Annual Reports, available on the trust website.

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