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Cherry Orchard Primary School

Acorn Federation Greenwich

In September 2019, Cherry Orchard and Fossdene Primary Schools began to work together in partnership with one Executive Headteacher across both schools and a Head of School on each site. In 2022 this was formalised- Acorn Federation of Greenwich was created. The federation enables greater opportunities and flexibility for staff development, curriculum design and the sharing of pedagogy, as well as allowing for some "back-room" staff to be shared. Each school retains its own distinct identity whilst sharing good practice and expertise.


In September 2023, Acorn Federation partnered with two other Greenwich schools, DeLucy Primary School and Gallions Mount. Together we have put on cross-school events, including a maths and debating competition, as well as training and networking opportunities for staff.



Federation of educational establishments as defined in law

Two or more maintained schools operating under the governance of a single governing body. Each federated school is treated as an individual school, meaning it:

  • keeps its existing DfE category and does not gain, lose, or change its religious character through being part of a federation
  • continues to have its admissions determined by the appropriate admission authority
  • will receive individual budgets. Additionally, the federated governing body, upon receiving the delegated budget for all the schools in the federation, can allocate the budget to each individual school or pool all or part of the budget with the agreement of governors.
  • is inspected individually by OFSTED


The Rationale for the Cherry Orchard Primary School and Fossdene Primary school Federation

The establishment and membership of Acorn Federation Greenwich, means that the governors and school leaders commit to improving the outcomes and life chances for all children across the federation, as opposed to just a single school.

The governors at Cherry Orchard and Fossdene Primary schools strongly believe that federation would enable both schools to move towards our shared vision of education for all of our children across the partnership of schools by:

  • sharing good practice finding ways to work more efficiently in order to continue the trajectory that we are on
  • teaching and learning outcomes

 Be stronger together by:

  • creating greater financial sustainability
  • being better able to attract, develop and retain high quality staff
  • developing opportunities for further improvement


The governing bodies of both schools decided to federate for the following reasons:

  • Curriculum – We want to continue to improve learning opportunities for all of our children. Both schools work with Unicef to ensure that the ‘Rights of children’ are adhered to. Strengthening our curriculum intent, implementation and impact across all subjects.
  • Financial – School funding is becoming increasingly difficult and, like many other schools, our budgets are looking more stretched in a three year period as separate schools. Having consulted with representatives from the Local Authority, we believe that federation is the right model of partnership for our schools. We feel that federation would offer the ability to retain the individual character of our schools and the strengths of each school’s approach within a stronger economic framework.
  • Leadership and staffing – Maria Hill would remain as Executive Head Teacher (EHT) across the partnership. The role of the EHT is the strategic development of each school and the partnership, financial budgeting and growth development.  Each school would have a Head of School who would oversee the day to day management of the school.

Seyde Hassan – Head of School at Cherry Orchard

Sarah Jowett – Head of School at Fossdene

There were no redundancies as a result of this proposal. All employees remain employed through the Royal Borough of Greenwich at their individual school. New members of staff will be employed by the federation through RBG.

  • Similarities between the schools – We share many similarities in character, organisation and practice. These include: our pupil intake; age of pupils; organisation of classes; values, approach, budget and secondary school links. This would provide a firm foundation for continuing our work together in a formal partnership.


What are the benefits for our children?

  • Both schools are currently graded by Ofsted as ‘Good’ in all areas; by sharing knowledge and expertise we want to be stronger.
  • Sustaining and improving our high quality teaching and learning, for example, by sharing planning, ideas, expertise and resources.
  • Enhanced learning opportunities for our children, for example, the sharing of expertise to meet the needs of all.
  • Access to a wider range of facilities, activities and shared resources, which may not otherwise be available to individual schools.
  • Giving the opportunity for our children to get to know children from a linked school could help with their confidence on transfer to secondary school.


What are the benefits for our staff and the wider community?

  • Families would continue to have the choice of sending their children to a school with its own identity. We believe that it is important to work together to improve financial stability and sustainability for both schools. Standalone schools are more vulnerable to financial difficulties and can therefore limit the range of opportunities available.
  • The provision of a greater range of leadership possibilities and continuing professional development for staff would help us to retain and attract high quality staff and leadership.
  • More opportunity to share functions across both schools would improve efficiency and could reduce some of the challenges faced by subject leaders and other staff who carry multiple responsibilities
  • Improved economies of scale through sharing resources offers more value for money – a good use of the public funding used to run our schools.