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Schools for the Future programme – November 2021 open letter FAQs

The open letter the BEST Board of Trustees has sent to the Central Bedfordshire Council Executive may have raised lots of queries in our school communities.

So we have compiled this list of Frequently Asked Questions to try and address any concerns.

Do you have a question we haven't answered below? Please email and we'll respond to you.

why has best chosen to write this open letter to CBC now?

We had initially highlighted our growing concern about the speed of progress towards the end of the last academic year. We were then surprised by CBC pausing the programme in August, with an update promised by the October half-term.

This update was limited to a holding statement promising a further update in December. Therefore, we felt the time was right to make our concerns public and alert our communities – especially as September 2023 gets increasingly closer.

why are the five pledges so important?

We want equality of opportunity for education for all children in the cluster, whichever school they attend. The agreed pledges ensure BEST can continue to provide high quality education in a new primary-secondary structure.

Having consulted on these pledges in the summer of 2020, we also have the mandate of our communities to see them carried out.

will the shefford and stotfold cluster still fully convert to two-tier in september 2023?

With the agreed cluster plans still in place, we fully expect the conversion to happen on time. However, the current pause and review has clearly cast a little doubt on the proposed timescale – which is why in our open letter we’ve called on CBC to commit to September 2023 or an alternative timeline agreed with the whole cluster.

could the cluster remain three-tier?

It is no longer possible for the entire cluster to remain in the three-tier model, since some schools have already converted to the primary-secondary model.

my child will be in a year group that is due to be directly impacted in september 2023. what will happen if plans are changed or delayed?

At this point in time while CBC review the cluster plans, there will undoubtedly be concerns about this scenario. This was one of the driving forces behind our open letter, to seek assurances for families.

If plans are changed or delayed by CBC, we will ensure we communicate the news and the implications fully to our parent and carer community.

what 'next steps' could best consider after cbc responds to your trustees' letter?

We are looking forward to receiving a positive response by CBC by Friday 12 November. Once we’ve had a chance to digest this, we’ll be in a better position to answer this question.

We do, however, remain committed to working with both CBC and all schools in the cluster to deliver a coherent programme of change.

how can i stay informed about further developments?

We produce a regular newsletter for our school communities and key stakeholders and we plan to send the next edition out before Christmas, giving details about CBC’s response and our next steps.

We will also ensure that more detailed information is shared with families at individual school level by our schools in the cluster.

If you have any specific queries please ask your child's school(s) or email