Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

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MAT Consultation

SECTION 1: Background Information 

The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School (CVMS) became a Single Academy Trust on 1 April 2015, following a conversion process which included a consultation with staff, parents and the wider community. 

In September 2017 the Diocese of Westminster launched its Catholic Academy Trust (CAT) Strategy to establish eleven Family CATs incorporating all its Catholic schools.  

The aim of the strategy is to ‘protect, secure and develop Catholic education’ for future generations. The strategy is available on the Diocese’s website and can be accessed using the link

The Directors of Cardinal Vaughan understand the challenges and opportunities facing Catholic education and have responded to the Diocese’s strategy by inviting other schools to join the Trust.  This has involved completing a due diligence process to obtain the consent of the Diocese of Westminster and the Regional School Commissioner (RSC) to become a Multi-Academy Trust.  This will allow Catholic schools in the Royal Borough of Kensington Chelsea (RBKC), the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (LBHF) and City of Westminster (CoW) to join an expanded CAT if and when they choose to do so. 

This FAQ provides parents and staff with further information on this proposal.


Why is Cardinal Vaughan proposing to become a Multi-Academy Trust and welcome more Catholic schools into the Trust? 

There are a number of reasons for this: ·                    

  • The Headmaster and Directors believe that becoming a Catholic MAT will deliver the best future for our school and the other schools that chose to join us in the future: in short, the education provided for the pupils in all the schools in the expanded CAT will be better and the Catholic mission stronger.                    

  • We face a growing need to protect, secure, develop and develop the Church’s mission in Catholic education: working together, we can play an important role in this.                     

  • The Headmaster and Directors believe that the expanded CAT will secure strategic school-to-school support and development through sharing the best of our leadership and management, thereby strengthening teaching and learning, pastoral and spiritual development.                     

  • Catholic schools currently work as ‘islands’ and by coming together in solidarity we will be stronger, more robust and more resilient for the future.                     

  • Catholic education is facing many threats both nationally and across the Diocese, in terms of declining rolls and increased financial pressures due to Austerity; an expanded CAT would play a key role in building up resilience.                     

  • With government borrowing already at unprecedented levels, prospects for an increase in school funding in the short to medium terms are extremely low. 


Which Schools are currently proposing to form a Catholic Academy Trust (CAT)?

 St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School (Cadogan Street) has also completed the Diocese’s due diligence process and received the consent of the Diocese of Westminster and the Regional School Commissioner (RSC) to join an expanded CVMS CAT. The Governors and Executive Headteacher of St Joseph’s are leading a simultaneous consultation with the St Joseph’s staff and parents to listen to their views on the proposed conversion of the School to an Academy.


Will the CAT expand to include more than two schools over time? 

Yes, it is hoped that the CVMS CAT will further expand to embrace all Catholic schools in RBKC, LBHF and CoW which, over time, wish to become Academies under the Diocese of Westminster CAT programme.  All schools will operate as equals supporting each other. 


SECTION 2: Governance 

How will the Governance arrangements of the CVMS Catholic Academy Trust work?

The Diocese of Westminster has nominated five Members who will own the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Multi-Academy Trust, which is registered with Companies House.

The Members include Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of the Diocese of Westminster, the Auxiliary Bishop and Chair of the Education Commission of the Diocese of Westminster, the Chief Operating Officer/Financial Secretary of the Diocese of Westminster and the Director of Education for the Diocese of Westminster.

The Members appoint a Board of Foundation Directors with strategic oversight for the Trust and schools.  The Foundation Directors will be comprised of Foundation Governors associated with both schools who wish to serve on the Trust Board. 

Each school will retain a Local Governing Body with the Headmaster (CVMS) and Executive Headteacher (St Joseph’s) responsible for the day-to-day running of the school. The Local Governing Body will have powers delegated from the CAT Board of Directors under an agreed Scheme of Delegation and will be accountable to the Board.


Will the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School change its name?

No, the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School will not change its name, nor will the ethos, values, Catholic life, academic focus or pastoral care change.  These characteristics, upheld by Governors, staff, pupils and parents, make Cardinal Vaughan the successful school that it is today, and they will continue to be the cornerstones of our approach.

All schools in the Trust will be seen as central to their own community with the skills of each being used to support all the others. 


Will the name of the Academy Trust change?

The Directors are currently considering a change to the name of the Academy Trust, the legal entity registered at Companies House under company number 09482572, to the Saint John Southworth Catholic Academy Trust.  Should this change of name take place, it would be subject to the agreement of the Board of Directors. 

St John Southworth was one of the Tyburn Martyrs.  Born in Lancashire, he was ordained a priest in 1618 at the English College, Douai, in Northern France.  After returning to England, he was frequently arrested and imprisoned for administering the sacraments and visiting the sick and dying.  He was particularly active in Westminster, which became his base.  His final arrest was in 1654, when he was condemned to be hung, drawn and quartered after his trial at the Old Bailey, where he pleaded guilty to being a priest.  He was martyred soon after and was canonised in 1970 by Saint Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs on England and Wales.

In 1930, his major relics – the only complete body of a Reformation martyr – were brought to Westminster Cathedral, where a shrine was prepared for them and where he now rests, in the same Cathedral as Cardinal Vaughan, built by Cardinal Vaughan. This is a powerful symbol of the community that the proposed expanded CAT will serve, in the very location where both men were so active in and for the Faith.

If this change of names takes place, and if St Joseph’s Governors decide to convert and join the expanded CAT, both Cardinal Vaughan and St Joseph’s will become Academies within the Saint John Southworth Catholic Academy Trust, embracing the vision of the Diocese’s CAT Strategy whilst retaining all that is unique and special about each school.


When will St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School become an Academy and join an expanded CAT?

We would expect that the process will take four to six months.  Work is underway and the planned conversion date is 1 September 2021.


Why is there a consultation?

The Academies Act 2010 requires the school to consult ‘such persons as they think appropriate’ on whether the school should become an Academy.

The Governing Body of St Josephs’ is consulting with all key stakeholders about the proposed academy conversion, including parents, staff, pupils and other schools, over a four-week period from 1 March to 26 March 2021.

The Directors of the CVMS CAT are conducting a simultaneous consultation exercise on the proposed conversion from a Single to a Multi-Academy Trust in order to ‘protect, secure and develop Catholic education’ across the three aforementioned London boroughs in the Diocese of Westminster.


SECTION 3: Other implications

Does Cardinal Vaughan have to hold a TUPE* consultation with staff?

No.  There is no change of employer or any changes to staff terms and conditions of employment.  The only change will be to the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

(*TUPE = Transfer of Undertaking – Protection of Employment)


Will becoming a MAT affect the Cardinal Vaughan admissions arrangements?

No. The Local Governing Body of any school in the CVMS CAT will be free to set their own admissions arrangements in association with the Trust Board, the Diocese of Westminster, admissions law and the School Admissions Code.


Will our responsibilities in relation to Special Educational Needs change?

No. Our responsibilities in relation to Special Educational Needs will continue as they are now.


SECTION 4: Providing feedback

If you wish to comment on this proposal, please use the email address below.


Mike Craven

Chair of Directors

Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

March 2021

Paul Stubbings


Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

March 2021