On Thursday of this week I attended the Uttoxeter Learning Trust Annual General Meeting.
At the meeting we were provided with a summary of our work over the past 2 years which I have copied for you below. Converting to become an academy has been a very smooth process for us at Thomas Alleyne’s. In addition to building closer links with all the middle schools and first schools to improve transition, we have also been successful in achieving over £2.5 million to improve the quality of our buildings. The money was much needed but would have been unlikely to have been secured if we had remained with the Local Authority.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support this year and wish you a very happy Easter.
ULT CEO Annual Report for AGM 11.4.19 Anne Tapp.
What have we achieved?
ULT Membership and Growth
The Uttoxeter Learning Trust was established as a multi-academy trust (MAT) on 1st April 2017 with 3 founder schools: Picknalls First School, Windsor Park CE Middle School and Thomas Alleyne’s High School. 3 more Uttoxeter schools converted to academy status and joined the ULT on 1st January 2018: All Saints CE First School (Church Leigh), Hutchinson Memorial CE First School (Checkley) and Oldfields Hall Middle School. Ryecroft CE Middle School then came on board on the 1st April 2018. These are our 7 full member schools.
We now offer associate membership for a 12-month period prior to fully joining the ULT. The Richard Clarke First School, Abbotts Bromley have joined the ULT as an associate member. We are in very positive discussions with a number of other potential schools in and around Uttoxeter. We are a sponsored multi academy trust and therefore could be asked to support an underperforming school/s in the future.
New Free School Presumption Application
The three full member first school headteachers have been working hard on the application for a new 150 place first school land west of Uttoxeter. The local authority have established the need for this school with the new housing developments around Uttoxeter. The headteachers have taken advice from the New Schools Network and are on track for the closing date of the 12th April. Successful shortlisted schools will be interviewed in June with a prospective opening of September 2020 for a Reception class only and will then build each year by a year group at a time.
No ULT schools have received an OFSTED inspection since the last AGM. As schools may receive an inspection between their second and third year of converting our three founder schools could receive an inspection from 1st April onwards.
Current OFSTED grades for the ULT schools are:
Thomas Alleyne’s High School – good
Windsor Park Middle CE (C) School – good
Oldfields Hall Middle School – good
Ryecroft Middle CE (C) School – good
Picknalls First School – good
All Saints CE (C) First School – good
Hutchinson Memorial CE (A) First School – outstanding
Richard Clarke First School – good
School Categorisation Outcomes
Each year Staffordshire LA categorise a school based on key performance indicators available including trends over the last 3 years for all and disadvantaged pupils. Currently we have a majority of schools that achieved the highest categorisation. (This included Thomas Alleyne’s High School) We are working closely with our schools that showed some concern which are all showing strong progress in their key areas.
School Performance Summer 2018
We are very proud of all our ULT schools and the efforts they go to in order to support children in all areas of education. We are able to celebrate the strong personal development of individuals, our broad and balanced curriculum and the wider opportunities provided by all. We focus closely on school performance and our flight paths monitor the outcomes for all individuals and groups. We have some very strong areas to celebrate across the Trust such as KS1 and KS4 outcomes, but we acknowledge that in some areas we need to improve further and this work is underway. Progress in schools own action plans demonstrate the impact being made and any underperformance when compared nationally is monitored closely. All ULT schools aim to be in the top 20% when compared nationally.
External review of governance
All full member schools completed an external review of Governance during Autumn term 2018. Each school has received it’s individual reports and have completed action plans in order to address any areas for development. The outcome of the reviews were extremely positive. They showed that all our local Governing Boards have outstanding features and the action plans will further develop improvements. The reviewer stated that all Governing Boards were very professional and fully embraced the process.
External safeguarding review
Roz Randall (Education Lead for Families First) has completed an external review of safeguarding in 5 of our 7 schools. All schools completed an initial NSPCC questionnaire then had a one to one session with Roz. Schools completed an action plan as a result of the work and actions being completed.
External Health and Safety Audits
All ULT schools currently buy into a service level agreement with Entrust and get very effective support with health and safety. Schools are expected to aim for at least a level 3, which means they are establishing and managing health and safety. Level 4 indicates a school is performing well concerning health and safety and level 5 schools are continually improving.
School Improvement (Teaching School)
Thomas Alleyne’s was successful in being appointed as a Teaching School. All of the ULT schools, plus other partner schools, are part of the Teaching School Alliance headed by TAHS and are funded to broker and provide school improvement and training, including initial teacher training. The Teaching School has appointed key central staff and are working extremely hard to develop its offer to local schools and the wider community.
School Improvement (Uttoxeter Pyramid)
We continue to work closely with the pyramid of Uttoxeter schools, whether or not they are part of the ULT, especially on training and transition. Heads have formed triads which enable them to visit partner schools, learn from them and provide external critiques of work.
Capital Projects – CIF (Condition Improvement Funding) bids
Successful CIF bids for 18/19 included TAHS (£900K and £1.5M) and WPMS (£2.1M). Thomas Alleyne’s has received a second capital investment of £370,000.
Headteachers’ Professional Board
ULT Headteachers continue to meet every 3 weeks to discuss leadership, management and pedagogical issues. They make recommendations to the ULT Board relating to teaching and learning and finance. They have excellent working relationships and are proactive and dynamic in driving improvement. The CEO chairs these meetings and the Board Chair often attends.
School Representation Board
ULT Chairs of Governors meet half-termly, supported by the Heads. Currently, the chair of Windsor Park Middle School chairs the meetings and the CEO and Board Chair attend and update all present. The group tackles a number of key areas and ensure that all Chairs of Governors are up to date with key information. It is an opportunity to feedback updates from Trustee meetings, and as they meet a week prior to Trustee meetings, it is an opportunity for chairs of local governing boards to feed up to the Trustees.
DFE Review of the Uttoxeter Learning Trust
The Chair of the Board, Julie Rudge and myself attended a meeting in Coventry on 27th March. This was the first review we have received and the agenda included:
Welcome and Introductions
School Performance and Improvement
People and Leadership
Future Ideas for Growth (if applicable)
They asked many questions about our leadership, performance, finance, capacity etc and really tried to get to know us as a relatively new MAT. They seemed genuinely interested in our local issues.
It was a very positive meeting when concluded with the statement ‘The ULT are one of their stronger trusts.’ This was great to hear after everyone’s hard work and having been going only 2 years.