The Church of England Education Office has published a report entitled ‘Embracing Change: Rural and Small Schools’ in which it re-emphasises the conclusion of its previous publications that “small rural schools could not continue to operate as stand-alone units” and highlights the need to come together in formal groupings such as federations or multi-academy trusts (MATs). It states that the key message for governing bodies of small local authority maintained schools primary schools is that “doing nothing is not an option”.
The report calls for further research into what ‘outstanding’ looks like in this context and also highlights a number of key challenges for small schools:
recruiting, supporting and retaining high quality staff
maximising available funding
working with available physical resources, such as older buildings
A set of self-review questions for governing bodies are included as an appendix to the report.