We work in partnership with our academies, collaborating and supporting one another to arrive at solutions and improvements that are right for pupils, staff and the wider community. Excellent performance is the core purpose of the trust. We share accountability for improvement with our academies and work in partnership to help every academy become the best it can be.
Two of our academies are already rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. We aspire for all of our academies to become ‘outstanding’ and we know we can do this through collaboration and partnership. We believe in improving performance through school-led, self-improving systems.
We recognise that some schools need additional support to get there. With two National Teaching Schools in the trust, outstanding teacher training provision in the university and a range of good and outstanding academies, we are well placed to rapidly improve the quality of teaching and leadership in all our academies.
The St Leonards Academy was formed from two underperforming secondary schools with 34% and 12% of pupils achieving A*-C grade at GCSE including English and Mathematics in 2008. In 2016 it saw its highest ever GCSE results of 58% and was nationally recognised for its exceptional 2016 performance by the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT). Educational Outcomes data analysis from SSAT has shown that the academy is in the top 10% of schools nationally for progress.
We are developing our provision of high-quality services for disadvantaged pupils, children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and those who need additional support with behaviour and attendance.
Our structure as a network of academies makes it possible for us to consider and develop shared strategies and job roles wherever they are most needed.
Other established support services include:
- an annual programme of training and development for trustees and local board members
- advice and support on all governance matters
- a wide range of trust-level policies which are developed and continually reviewed, ensuring that they align with latest Department for Education, statutory or best practice guidance
- advice and support to each academy on legal issues and admissions matters
- access to high-quality marketing and communications support.
We are fortunate to benefit from the world-class education research of University of Brighton academics. They give our academies advice and support on how to put the results of this research into practice in the classroom and support teachers to undertake practice-based research of their own. The university’s education experts work with academy colleagues to constantly reflect and improve on their teaching practice.
We encourage and support our academies to develop innovative and creative approaches to teaching and learning which inspire our pupils and meet their individual needs. When pioneering new methods are developed, we can then share them across our academies.
Read more about the university's School of Education.
I found the three-day maths training very useful. To have the opportunity to step back and challenge your pedagogy is key and to do so with the university was a fantastic opportunity. The research from the university was very useful, as it opened my eyes to new possibilities. Particularly on how to use resources when teaching maths. I have now enhanced how I use equipment to enable children to make connections in their learning.
Jane Hitchman, Teacher, West St Leonards Primary Academy
We believe top-quality training, continuing development and career opportunities for staff lead to the best teaching and learning for our pupils.
We help academies to identify suitable training and development opportunities for their teaching and support staff, whether that is for initial teacher training, professional development throughout their careers, or leadership support. All the teachers in our academies are qualified.
Our supporting leadership: career pathway supports teachers at all levels in their career development and facilitates succession planning and talent-spotting across the trust.
Our scholarship scheme is available to help cover the costs of accredited university awards. Where possible we also offer opportunities for academies’ staff to join relevant activities at the university.
In July 2016 the trust celebrated the achievements of over 40 teachers who had successfully completed professional development programmes including the ‘Stepping up to leadership’ course and a ‘lead practitioner’ scheme to train outstanding teachers to coach and support others.
In 2015 the University of Brighton introduced 10 annual scholarships of £1000 for teaching and support staff in the academies to enable them to access university accredited awards.
Our operational services support allows academies to concentrate on their core activities of teaching and learning.
We help identify where academies need support in operational areas like finance, human resources, estates and ICT. We then share our expertise so each academy can benefit from insight and efficiency.
Academies manage their own budgets. They have the freedom to raise additional funds to benefit their pupils and the wider school community.
By working collectively with the university and other academies in the trust, we can negotiate better contracts and rates.