Home keyboard_arrow_right Latest news keyboard_arrow_right Trust news keyboard_arrow_down

Trust News: 2017

Academy engaging with educational research
19 December 2017
Teachers at The St Leonards Academy have analysed research into effective feedback and have drastically reduced the expectation of written comment marking, with positive results for both teachers and pupils. 

Led by a group of teachers studying for a Masters in Education at the University of Brighton, through the University of Brighton Academies Trust scholarship scheme, the project has shifted the senior leadership team’s position of certainty regarding best practice for written comment marking. Whereas previously this was imposed and maintained, the new approach encourages teachers to investigate and analyse the impact on pupils.

Chris Dean, Assistant Principal, The St Leonards Academy explains: “With the effectiveness of written comment marking in doubt, our leadership team recognised the opportunity for improvement if teachers could find alternative ways to mark the work of the 200-300 students they may teach in a large school like ours. Our research posed the question, could written-comment marking time be better spent on activities with a higher impact or providing better feedback.”

Teachers in the maths and history departments scrutinised students’ books to assess what types of feedback produced the most improvement and devised their own marking policies. Empowered to share their learning, so that the whole school community benefits, teachers then shared the results at staff meetings and ‘teach and meet’ sessions, which are part of a wider programme of Continuing Professional Development. 

Helen Howard, Director of School Improvement, University of Brighton Academies Trust comments: “I am absolutely delighted that this project is delivering improvements for our pupils and tackling workload issues which can have a dramatic impact on our teachers’ well-being. Engaging with educational research in this way is a key part of the Trust’s vision and a tangible example of how our link with the University of Brighton benefits both our pupils and teachers.” 

The majority of teachers at The St Leonards Academy are involved in the project which also includes strands looking at: meta-cognition sometimes known as ‘learning to learn’ approaches; surface and deep learning; and collaborative learning.

Read more about the Trust’s links to the University of Brighton


Visit The St Leonards Academy website

University’s Vice-Chancellor visits academies
15 December 2017

Professor Debra Humphris, University of Brighton Vice-Chancellor, praised the work of the University of Brighton Academies Trust during her recent visit to academies in Crawley and Burgess Hill.


Accompanied by University of Brighton Academies Trust Trustees and members of the Executive Team, Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton and Professor Chris Pole, Chair of the Trust and University of Brighton Deputy Vice-Chancellor visited Pound Hill Infant Academy, Desmond Anderson Primary Academy and The Burgess Hill Academy in early November.


Pupils from Pound Hill Infant Academy led the visitors round an informative tour of the Academy, expertly describing the academy’s innovative curriculum, which is based on the dramatic inquiry led, ‘Mantle of the Expert’ approach to teaching and learning. Pupils were delighted by Professor Humphris’ invitation for them to visit the University of Brighton in the coming months.


At Desmond Anderson Primary Academy, visitors met the pupils on the School Council who eloquently described the Council’s role and all the aspects they enjoy about their lessons and the Academy.


Students at The Burgess Hill Academy passionately described their school and the many improvements that have been made since it joined the Trust in 2016: they were true advocates for the Academy and its achievements.


At the end of the visits, Professor Debra Humphris commented: “I very much enjoyed these helpful and uplifting visits. The University of Brighton has a long-standing commitment to raising the educational aspirations and achievements of young people, so it was wonderful to see the work of our Academies Trust in action.”


Lorraine Harrison, Trustee, said that the tour was “a wonderful opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the Trust’s academies”. 


Read more about our academies

Volunteers needed to support schools and their community
12 December 2017
Would you like to make a difference to the quality of education for children and young people? 
The University of Brighton Academies Trust is looking for volunteers to join their academy Local Boards in Hastings, St Leonards and Crawley. 
Local Board members are an essential link between an academy school and its community. They help make a positive impact on young people’s lives and use their professional and personal skills to help shape the vision of an academy. Alongside elected parents, staff representatives and the academy’s Principal, they work together to ensure that every child reaches their full potential. They also help celebrate success, monitor academy performance and ensure that staff have the resources and support they need to do their job well.

Local board members include a mix of individuals from the local community and the Trust are is particularly interested in hearing from individuals who have experience in:
·       primary or secondary education
·       fundraising and marketing
·       the local community
·       local businesses
·       volunteering with children or young people 
·       strategic planning. 
Full training and support is also given, providing volunteers with board-level leadership, strategy and team working skills.

Dr John Smith, Chief Executive of the University of Brighton Academies Trust said: “We work collaboratively with our academies and everyone connected to them to achieve excellence. Both the Trust and our academy Principals highly value the role Local Board members play in maintaining links with their local community.”

Applications from interested individuals are requested by Wednesday 28 January 2018.

Find out more about Local Boards

The St Leonards Academy’s Year 11 celebrations
05 December 2017
A celebration evening was held at The St Leonards Academy, on 29 November 2017 to recognise the achievements of academy's class of 2017. The former Year 11 students, who completed their GCSEs this summer, returned to receive their certificates and awards at the event, attended by hundreds of parents, carers and community representatives.
 
Kay Tinsley, Principal, opened the celebration, and said that the students’ achievements were even more remarkable given the introduction of new, tougher GCSEs this summer. She said: ‘We are all so proud of our students’ outcomes; they have achieved great results through hardwork and determination’ 
 
Dr John Smith, Chief Executive of the University of Brighton Academies Trust, presented the graduates with their certificates and awards, congratulating them on their many achievements and encouraging them to be confident in all of their future plans and aspirations.
 
In addition to GCSE certificates, curriculum prizes were awarded to April Clemett (History),  Alexandria Stringfellow (Geography), Charlotte Keeley (Modern Foreign Languages), Haydn Ackerley (Art),  Emily Robinson (Photography),  Natan Okubet (English and Mathematics), Amelia Long (PE),  Douglas Lockyer (Technology), Rachel Old (Science), Chloe Bolton (Drama), Tom Healey (Music), Briony Rose (Dance), Amy Templeman (Philosophy & Ethics), Hollie Fitzgerald (ICT), Lee Armstrong (Computing) and Sommer Cook (Business). 
 
The Academy Awards for Outstanding Progress were awarded to Lee Armstrong and Lily Mabb. Colin Guyton, Vice Principal described how Lee  ‘dedicated his time and efforts to improving his grade in English. He worked so hard and committed himself to such an extent that this summer he surpassed his target and achieved an impressive Grade 6’, whilst Lily ‘managed to achieve grades in each of her ten subjects that were two and a half grades higher than her those target grades set’. 
 
Summer 2017 saw the introduction of new GCSE Grades in English Language, Literature and Maths. The highest grade that can be awarded, a grade 9, is reserved for the 2000 best performing students nationally in each of these three subjects; eight such grades were awarded to students at The St Leonards Academy.  
 
Archie Hall, one of the winners of the Academic Achievement Award, secured a grade 9 in Maths in addition seven A and A* grades; whilst Holly McDowall achieved Grade 9s in English Language, English Literature and Maths, alongside a further nine A* and A Grades.
 
Academy Awards were also awarded to  Emily Pascoe-Marchant (Achievement in Adversity), Marcus Lee (Sports) and the Boys’ Basketball Team (Team Award). Finally, Student of the Year was awarded to Pranab Khadka and Hollie Fitzgerald. Colin Guyton said: ‘The winners of the award for Student of the Year, must encapsulate and promote the ethos and values of our academy. Values that are built upon Potential, Respect, Innovation, Determination and Excellence. Our winners have demonstrated these values throughout their time here at the Academy, always on hand to greet visitors, support their peers, generate and lead on ideas, whilst showing the determination to fulfil their potential and achieve academic excellence.’

Visit The St Leonards Academy website

Lindfield Primary Academy praised by Minister of State
04 December 2017
Lindfield Primary Academy has been praised by the Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for School Standards, for the excellent achievement of its Year 1 pupils in this summer’s phonics screening check. 
 
Over 96% of pupils at Lindfield reached or exceeded the pass mark in 2017, which places the academy in the top 6% of all primary schools in the country. 
 
In a letter to Marcus Still, Principal of the academy, Nick Gibb said ‘Your success in teaching phonics means your pupils are developing a firm foundation in reading, from which they can become increasingly fluent and develop a lifelong love of reading. Thank you for your work in this vital area of a child’s early education and congratulations again to you and your staff for all you have achieved.’
 
Phonics are the letter sounds which are the basis of reading. The phonics assessment shows how well pupils can use the phonics skills they have learned since starting school.
 
Helen Howard, the Trust’s Director of School Improvement said ‘Phonics and reading are extremely important parts of the key stage one curriculum in the University of Brighton Academies Trust’s primary academies. The outcomes for Lindfield’s pupils are outstanding and I am delighted that the hard work of pupils and staff have been recognised by the Minister.’

Visit the Lindfield Primary Academy website

Outstanding teachers accredited as Specialist Leaders of Education
28 November 2017

Four senior teachers in academies in the University of Brighton Academies Trust have successfully gained accreditation as Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) from the East Sussex Teaching School Alliance Network.

SLEs are outstanding middle and senior leaders with a particular area of expertise and the skills to develop the leadership capacity of colleagues in similar positions in other schools. They also have a successful track record of school improvement.

Robsack Wood Primary Academy is home to three of the teachers: Kirsten Savage who was recognised for her expertise in inclusion; Kirsty Wilson for English; and Leah Hobbis for early years. Tim Johnson who was recognised for geography and assessment is based at The St Leonards Academy.

Kirsty Wilson explained why she applied for SLE accreditation: “Prior to my role as Assistant Principal at Robsack Wood, I taught within key stage 2 for eight years.  Although I loved my role as a teacher, I enjoy my role as a leader even more – this is because I have impact on so many more pupils by positively impacting on the practice of many teachers. The role of SLE gives me the opportunity to work with other practitioners within our Trust and support them in a similar way to the staff I work with at Robsack Wood. It is a great opportunity to be offered additional training to enable me to fulfil this role.”

Leah Hobbis similarly values the opportunities provided by the Trust: “I have held the role of Senior Learning and Achievement Lead in the Early Years Foundation Stage for four years at Robsack Wood and feel passionate about this crucial stage of early education. Whilst working with colleagues in the University of Brighton Academies Trust I have developed key skills in supporting others and this led me to seek training in coaching and facilitating adult learning. I was made aware of the SLE accreditation by the Executive Principal of the academy who supported my application and has enabled me to develop this element of my leadership. I look forward to working with further settings and academies to develop and maintain outstanding practice in the Early Years.”

Kirsten Savage, describes what she now plans to achieve as a SLE: “I feel at this stage in my career I am ready to work as an SLE and give back to the profession, offering support to other leaders to develop their skills and strategies to enable them to make sustainable improvements to their practice and consequently positively impact on the vulnerable children they support. I am really looking forward to working with the Robsack Wood Teaching School to develop the programme of inclusion training and outreach support to other schools, in particular developing the use of review toolkits for specific areas of inclusion such as Special Educational Needs and Pupil Premium. I strongly believe that collaborative working across academies is crucial for developing effective inclusive practice where sharing knowledge, best practice and expertise can help refine practice and improve outcomes for pupils vulnerable to underachievement.'

Caroline Thayre, Executive Principal of the Robsack Wood Primary Academy and Teaching School, who supported the teachers during the accreditation process, said “The SLE accreditation process is extremely rigorous and I am very pleased that Kirsten, Kirsty, Leah and Tim will be joining our school-to-school support team to help other leaders achieve outstanding leadership practice in their own context”.


Robsack Wood Teaching School Alliance

Robsack Wood Primary Academy

The St Leonards Academy


Top marks for ‘outstanding’ nursery
28 November 2017

A Hastings nursery has been awarded top marks after an Ofsted inspection.

Robsack Wood Primary Academy’s nursery, part of the University of Brighton Academies Trust, was graded ‘outstanding’ in all areas.

Ofsted praised the leadership of the nursery and its early years provision stating that “the extremely qualified and experienced managers and staff work incredibly well as a team to evaluate the quality of care and teaching they provide”.

The report said the Academy’s staff “establish incredibly secure relationships with children. They get to know them exceptionally well and children develop extremely high levels of well-being” and that “staff establish outstanding partnerships with parents and keep them extremely well informed”.

The quality of teaching and learning was also complimented: “Staff are extremely enthusiastic and extend children's learning in exceptionally engaging ways…children are exceptionally confident in their communication skills.

“Children of all ages make outstanding progress from their starting points, including those who have special educational needs and-or disabilities.”

The Academy’s Executive Principal, Caroline Thayre, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the hard work of all of Robsack Wood’s children, families and staff has been recognised by Ofsted. Whilst this is the nursery’s second outstanding judgement, we are always seeking ways to improve further so that our youngsters are well cared for in a safe and stimulating environment and are well prepared for their transition to school life. This would not be possible without our talented staff and committed and supportive parents.”

Dr John Smith, Chief Executive of the Trust, said: “We are extremely proud of Robsack Wood’s achievements and this latest ‘outstanding’ judgement. The Academy’s innovative provision, which cares for young babies and children aged from three months to four years, has been deservedly recognised and commended. It is well placed to continue disseminating this best practice to other early years providers in the region.”


Visit Robsack Wood Primary Academy website 

Supporting excellence in governance
22 November 2017

The University of Brighton Academies Trust welcomed Trustees and members of its Local Boards to its annual Governance Development Conference on 10 November 2017.


The event was launched by a keynote presentation provided by Andy Guest, Development Director at Cambridge Education, who explored the development of multi academy trusts and the best practice that is emerging from both an international and national perspective.


This was followed by workshops focusing on the essential roles and responsibilities of colleagues who contribute to the governance of the University of Brighton Academies Trust, strategic planning and community engagement.


Michael Courtnage, member of Robsack Wood Primary Academy’s Local Board said ‘It was good to hear what other academies do to engage with the local community’, whilst Krista Elledge, Principal and member of Desmond Anderson Primary Academy’s Local Board reported that ‘it was a very useful day …. As a Principal attending with the Chair of the Local Board, I feel we have a shared understanding of how to go forward together’


Sam Coates, the Director of Planning, Policy and Governance, said: ‘The Trust is extremely fortunate to have so many skilled and experienced Trustees and Local Board members. We benefit hugely from the support – and the challenge – they provide to senior leaders and staff across all of our academies, working together with our local communities to help our pupils achieve excellence.’


Find out more about the Trust’s governance arrangements


Are you interested in becoming a member of one of our academy Local Boards?

Admissions: Have your say
01 November 2017

We are consulting on thearrangements for admission to each of our academies from September 2019. Pleasesee our admissions consultation page below for further details and send us yourfeedback by Monday 11 December 2017.

Admissions consultation page

New staff welcomed to the Trust
26 October 2017

The University of Brighton Academies Trust has welcomed over 70 new staff this year. Staff including School Direct trainee teachers, Newly Qualified Teachers, experienced staff joining middle and senior leadership posts and expert professional support staff have joined the Trust’s 15 academies in Sussex and its central professional services teams.

Many of the new staff attended a welcome event, hosted by the University of Brighton, the sponsor of the trust, at its Falmer campus on 11 October 2017.

The event provided an opportunity to meet other new colleagues from the Trust’s academies and central teams, as well as meeting principals and senior staff and the opportunity to find out a little more about the University, the Trust and our vision, values and mission.

Dr John Smith, Chief Executive and Head of the University’s School of Education, provided an overview of the links between the Trust and the University, the history of the Trust and the recent redevelopment of its values, vision and mission. Tracy Curl, Principal of Churchwood Primary Academy, shared Churchwood’s journey from predecessor school, to joining the Trust as an academy in 2014, to its recent Ofsted inspection which resulted in three outstanding judgements. She highlighted the Trust’s personalised approach, its professional development and its opportunities for sharing best practice as contributing to Churchwood’s success.

Dr John Smith said “I am delighted to welcome so many expert new colleagues to the trust. We a recommitted to improving the life changes of our pupils and bringing out the best in all our staff by supporting each other to excel.  All staff receive personalised support to enable them to improve their knowledge and skills,and achieve their career aspirations.  With 15 infant, primary and secondary academies in the local area, we are confident that we can support staff at all points in their careers with ambitions for future progression and development.”

Our vacancies

School Direct

Train to teach on our School Direct training programme
26 October 2017

The University of Brighton Academies Trust is delighted to announce that we are now accepting applications for our School Direct teacher training programme, starting in September 2018.

School Direct is a year-long postgraduate teacher training programme, which we offer in partnership with the University of Brighton, rated by Ofsted as an outstanding teacher training provider. We offer programmes for those wishing to become either a primary or a secondary school teacher.

The Trust is committed to making a difference to the children of Hastings and St Leonards. To do that, we need outstanding teachers. Our School Direct programme offers the chance for trainee teachers to contribute to the education-led regeneration of the area, gain valuable in-school teaching experience, and graduate with a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) and qualified teacher status (QTS). 

All of our trainees and staff receive personalised support to enable them to improve their knowledge and skills, and achieve their career aspirations.

As a network of 15 academies in Sussex, with nine infant, primary and secondary academies in the Hastings and St Leonards area, we are well placed to support staff at all points in their careers with ambitions for future progression and development.

Find out more


Improvements at The Baird commended by Ofsted
19 October 2017

The University of Brighton Academies Trust is pleased to report that Ofsted completed a very positive monitoring visit to The Baird Primary Academy, on 20 September 2017.

 

In the letter to the Executive Principal of the academy, the inspector said: ‘Working with the principal, you have wasted no time in getting to grips with the areas for improvement that were identified at the last inspection. You have built on the emerging strengths in leadership noted at the time. Staff, parents and pupils appreciate the stability and clarity of direction you have brought to the school since your arrival. You are both highly visible presences in the school, bringing energy and a strong sense of moral purpose to your roles.’

 

The report also praises the role of the University of Brighton Academies Trust in providing effective challenge and support to the academy, as well as the investments in learning resources, equipment  and accommodation that have been made.  The commitment of teachers and pupils’ resilience and engagement with their learning were also commended.

 

Dr John Smith, Chief Executive of the Trust, said: ‘We are very pleased that the many improvements introduced by The Baird Primary Academy’s new senior leadership team during the last year have been recognised by Ofsted following its recent monitoring visit to the academy. As the report highlights, the executive principal and principal have focused relentlessly on improving the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in the academy and raising expectations. This, combined with the very hard work of teachers, pupils and parents, have seen pupils’ outcomes improve significantly. In particular, the report confirms that outcomes in the early years and key stage 1 are now close to national averages, whilst pupil progress at key stage 2 has improved markedly during the last year.

 

We are delighted that the report recognises these achievements as the academy, with support from the University of Brighton Academies Trust, continues its journey to good and then outstanding status.’


Visit The Baird's website

Top marks for primary academy
08 September 2017

A Hastings academy which three years ago required improvement has leapt up the performance table and has now been rated outstanding in three areas.

Churchwood Primary Academy in Hastings, has been judged ‘Good’ by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) and ‘Outstanding’ for effectiveness of leadership and management; personal development, behaviour and welfare; and early years provision.

In 2014, the academy was rated as ‘requires improvement’ when it joined the University of Brighton Academies Trust, sponsored by the University of Brighton.

But in its first inspection as an academy, Ofsted praised the academy’s leadership: “The principal provides exceptional leadership for the school. Teachers, leaders and governors share her determination to make sure that every pupil achieves well, both academically and socially.  

“The governing body and the academy trust provide robust support and rigorous challenge for the school.”

The report also noted “pupils are keen to learn and behave extremely well” and that “excellent teaching during early years, combined with high-quality care for children’s personal and social needs, ensures that children make very substantial progress from their starting points”.

Churchwood’s Principal, Tracy Curl, said: "We are delighted with the outcome of our first inspection as an academy. It is very satisfying that the hard work of our pupils and staff has been recognised. I am particularly pleased that our ambition to give our pupils the best possible start in their education has been recognised by the ‘outstanding’ judgements for our early years provision and pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare.”

Dr John Smith, Chief Executive, University of Brighton Academies Trust, said: "This excellent Ofsted outcome recognises the academy’s progress on its journey to outstanding status. We look forward to continuing to provide support and challenge to the academy as it takes steps to address the small number of suggestions for further improvement in the report.”

Read more about Churchwood Primary Academy

Academy Trust merger to benefit pupils and staff
01 September 2017

The Department for Education and the trusts’ Boards of Directors have approved the merger of the Hastings Academies Trust and University of Brighton Academies Trust bringing together the two trusts sponsored by the University of Brighton.

The merged trust, retaining the name of the University of Brighton Academies Trust, creates a network of 15 academies with 1,200 staff and 7,500 students across Sussex.

Professor Chris Pole, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton and Chair of the University of Brighton Academies Trust said: “The University is delighted to be supporting the merged trust in this exciting new stage in its development. Following many years of close joint working, I am confident that the merged trust will capitalise on its strengths to maximise school improvement capacity and share best practice in teaching and learning for the benefit of our pupils and staff.”

Dr John Smith, Chief Executive of the University of Brighton Academies Trust said: “Our network of academies all support each other – and our pupils – to excel. We believe that education transforms lives, and I am certain that the merger will increase the trust’s ability to ensure that our pupils are inspired to meet their potential and develop a passion for life-long learning.”

Academy open days 2017
30 August 2017

Find out more about our academies by attending one of our upcoming open days where our infant, primary and secondary academies welcome parents and pupils.

More dates soon to be announced. Please contact each individual academy to find out more details.

See the full list of our academies

Blackthorns Primary Academy


Tuesday 17 October: open day, 9:30 am and 1:45pm

Monday 6 November: open day, 9:30 am and 1:45pm

Wednesday 29 November: open morning, 9:30 am

Find out more

Churchwood Primary Academy

Thursday 2 November: open day, 9:30am and 5:30pm

Find out more

Desmond Anderson Primary Academy

Tuesday 3 October: tour with the Principal, 9:30am

Wednesday 18 October: tour with the Principal, 9:30am

Thursday 9 November: tour with the Principal, 9:30am

Monday 20 November: tour with the Principal, 9:30am

Find out more

Please contact Desmond Anderson to book a place.

Dudley Infant Academy 

Wednesday 15 November: open day, 10am

Thursday 16 November: open day, 10am

Wednesday 22 November: open evening, 7pm

Find out more

Hollington Primary Academy

Thursday 23 November: open day, 10am & 1.30 pm


Find out more

Pound Hill Infant Academy

Wednesday 18 October: open day, 9:15 am

Tuesday 7 November: open day, 9:15 am

Thursday 30 November: open day, 4:30 pm

Wednesday 10th January: open day, 9:15am - 10:15am

Find out more

Robsack Wood Primary Academy 

Wednesday 1 November: open day, 9:30am

Wednesday 8 November: open day, 9:30am

Wednesday 22 November: open day, 9:30am

Find out more 

Silverdale Primary Academy 

Tuesday 5 December: open day, 10am and 1:30pm

Thursday 7 December: open day, 10am

Find out more

The Baird Primary Academy

Wednesday 8 November: open morning, 9.30am
Thursday 16 November: 
open morning,  9.30am

Wednesday 22 November:  open afternoon , 2pm


Find out more

The Burgess Hill Academy

Thursday 28 September: open evening

Wednesday 4 October: open morning

Thursday 12 October: open morning

Thursday 17th October: open morning, 9:15 am

Find out more

The Hastings Academy

Thursday 5th October: open evening, 6pm

Wednesday 11 October: open morning, 9:30am

Thursday 12 October: open morning, 9:30am

Find out more

The St Leonards Academy

Wednesday 27 September: open morning, 9:30am

Thursday 28 September: open morning, 9:30am

Tuesday 3 October: open evening, 6pm

Find out more 

West St Leonards Primary Academy

Tuesday 7 November: open day, 11:00am and 7pm 

Friday 10 November: open day, 11:00 am

Find out more

GCSE Success
25 August 2017

Congratulations to the students at our three secondary academies celebrating their GCSE results this week.

Students faced a new challenge this year, with the introduction of the new GSCE numerical scoring for English language, English literature and mathematics. These results reflect the hard work of both our students and staff. 

At The Burgess Hill Academy 79% of student passed English and 75% passed maths. In other subjects, A/A*s were the highest ever with more than 1 in 5 grades across the year group an A or A*. For the third consecutive year, the average grade per student improved again at The Hastings Academy, with 13% of all entries graded as A or A*. Students at The St Leonards Academy performed particularly well in a range of subjects, notably catering, drama, English literature, French, history, music, physics, philosophy and ethics, sociology and Spanish, with 20% of all entries graded as A or A*.

There were some noteworthy individual results. At the Burgess Hill Academy Jemma Forster achieved 9 A*s and 1 A and Jack Cooper 8 A*s and 2 As, and both students also achieved the highest award, grade 9, in maths and English.

At The Hastings Academy Tomas Stoneham and Yazmin Bissenden achieved A and A* in each of their 11 subjects. 

At The St Leonards Academy Holly McDowall secured 11 A* to A grades with three grade 9s, Emily Pascoe-Marchant secured nine A* to A grades and Pranab Khadka got eight A* to A grades.

We wish our students every success for the future as they continue with their post-16 studies.

University of Brighton's positive role as academy sponsor recognised
25 August 2017

The University of Brighton has been recognised as one of only 16 multi-academy trust sponsors who have achieved above average on progress measures for disadvantaged students, successfully improving students’ educational outcomes.  

Published in July 2017 by the Sutton Trust - a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education - the Chain Effects 2017 report analyses the exam results of disadvantaged pupils in 48 multi-academy trusts.

It includes an index comparing the 2016 performance for disadvantaged pupils on the most important attainment measures, including Progress 8, Attainment 8 and the percentage achieving A*-C grades in English and Maths. 

The report also confirms that the university achieved above average on improvements to secondary students’ progress, as measured by Progress 8, when compared to the previous year. 

Professor Chris Pole, Chair of the University of Brighton Academies Trust and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton said: “Our work with academies began with two secondary academies in Hastings and St Leonards, where educational progression has historically been low. 

“I am delighted that this report acknowledges the positive impact the university’s sponsorship has on young people’s lives in this area. It follows recent national recognition for The St Leonards Academy 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 – a real achievement given the disadvantaged coastal community that the academy serves.”

Preferred site chosen for city's new Secondary School
29 June 2017

We can now confirm that the Brighton General Hospital site is the preferred site for the city’s new secondary school, to be called The Brighton and Hove Academy. 

Since confirmation of the opening of the new University of Brighton Academies Trust school the council has been working with the Education and Skills Funding Agency to identify and secure a site within the city. 

The council is now in detailed dialogue with the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust about how their plans for the site can include the new secondary school building. 

The proposal is an exciting opportunity that all stakeholders agree would be a great outcome for the city. 

Unfortunately, despite every effort, it has not been possible to secure the relevant agreements in time for the ESFA to proceed with the opening of The Brighton and Hove Academy in September 2018. 

All parties are now working towards an opening date of September 2019 and greater certainty on this will be given in summer 2018. 

The Council’s forecast of pupil numbers show that there will be enough secondary school places across the city in September 2018 for all pupils applying. 

Councillor Daniel Chapman said “Councils are no longer able to open new schools themselves. We are therefore working in close partnership with the ESFA and the University of Brighton Academies Trust. We had hoped that the new school would be open in September 2018 but because of circumstances beyond our control this has been pushed back. 

“I understand the high level of interest locally in this issue, and am pleased that the three partners have unanimously chosen their preferred site. However, I would emphasise that our pupil projections show that there will still be enough secondary school places across the city in September 2018 for all pupils applying. 

“We recognise that parents need clarity on admissions arrangements for the future so we will be making an announcement at the earliest possible opportunity.” 

Dr John Smith, interim Chief Executive of the University of Brighton Academies Trust said: “We believe that the Brighton General Hospital site will provide an ideal location for The Brighton and Hove Academy. We appreciate the efforts that have been made by our colleagues leading the negotiations to secure the site. 

“As these discussions have taken longer than anticipated, we regret that it is no longer feasible to open the academy for September 2018. Our focus is on providing an inspiring new secondary school offering an excellent education for the young people of Brighton & Hove. Now that the preferred site has been agreed, we will work closely with Brighton & Hove City Council and the Education and Skills Funding Agency to agree a new opening date.” 

Mike Jennings, Deputy CEO of Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are working closely with colleagues within the council, with University of Brighton Academies Trust and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. 

 “As the main provider of community health services in Brighton and Hove we are absolutely committed to retaining and enhancing local community health services within East Brighton and we are working on a project to establish these in a new, modern, flexible facility so that we can continue to meet local healthcare need. Within this project we are working with partners to explore the inclusion of a secondary school on site.  

“We have carried out an initial options appraisal and we are working at pace to prove the viability of the project and conclude a business case for changes at Brighton General by next spring.” 

READ MORE ABOUT THE NEW  SECONDARY SCHOOL

New Secondary Education and Development Lead
28 June 2017

The Hastings Academies Trust and University of Brighton Academies Trust is delighted to announce that Jenny Jones has been appointed to the role of Secondary Education and Development Lead.

In this new role, spanning the two trusts, Jenny will oversee and coordinate school improvement in the trusts’ secondary academies, in support of the trusts’ Director of School Improvement, Helen Howard.

Dr John Smith, interim Chief Executive said: "Given her significant experience and expertise in secondary education leadership and school improvement, I am delighted that the trusts will continue to benefit from Jenny’s contribution."

Jenny said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to join the trusts’ team, continuing to contribute to school improvement not just in Hastings but across all of the trusts’ secondary academies.”

Since the inception of the Hastings Academies Trust in 2010, Jenny has contributed expert leadership as Executive Principal for The Hastings Academy and The St Leonards Academy. 

The St Leonards Academy is now in the top 7% of schools nationally for progress and was nationally recognised for its exceptional 2016 performance by the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT) in May 2017. 

Overton Grange school to work in partnership with the trust
21 June 2017

Overton Grange School in Sutton and the University of Brighton Academies Trust are to work in partnership.

Through this new partnership, Overton Grange will benefit from opportunities to take part in aspects of the trust’s school improvement activities and its professional development programme. 

Rated ‘good’ by Ofsted, the co-educational, secondary academy school and sixth-form will also continue to host trainee teachers from the University of Brighton’s School of Education.

Keith Stride and Gerry Bennett, joint headteachers at Overton Grange said: “We are committed to continuous improvement for our school, so we are delighted to announce this partnership with the University of Brighton Academies Trust. We believe it will further enhance our ability to provide the best possible education for our students.”

Dr John Smith, interim Chief Executive of the University of Brighton Academies Trust, said: “We very much look forward to working in partnership with Overton Grange to support enhancements to their school improvement and professional development provision. The University of Brighton has been training and educating teachers for more than 100 years, and has an ‘outstanding’ rating for all of its initial teacher training.”

In September 2017 Overton Grange will celebrate 20-years educating young people in Sutton and will open a new wing to enhance classroom facilities.

Students and their families interested in joining the school in September 2018 are invited to the autumn term open evening on Thursday 5 October 2017. Further details will be available through the London borough of Sutton.

VISIT THE OVERTON GRANGE SCHOOL WEBSITE

Academy trust consult on merger plans
15 May 2017

A consultation was launched today on the proposal to merge the Hastings Academies Trust and the University of Brighton Academies Trust.

Both trusts’ Boards of Directors have agreed in principle to the merger that would bring together the two trusts that are both sponsored by the University of Brighton.

Professor Chris Pole, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton and Chair of the trusts said: “Our aim is for the merger to be a true blending of the trusts allowing us to capitalise on their strengths in line with the university’s commitment to supporting the trust through the next stage of its development.

“There is already considerable joint working across the trusts. The proposed merger makes sense as it would provide further opportunities to maximise our school improvement capacity and expertise, and share best practice in teaching and learning as well as achieving greater efficiencies.”

The merged trust, which would be named the University of Brighton Academies Trust, would create a family of 15 academies with 1,200 staff and 7,500 students across Sussex.

Staff, parents/carers and members of the local community are invited to share their views by completing an online questionnaire by Tuesday 20 June or by attending one of a series of consultation meetings during the week commencing 5 June 2017.

Subject to approval by the Department for Education, the merger would take place on 1 September 2017.

READ MORE ON THE PROPOSAL TO MERGER OUR TWO TRUSTS


Oakwood school considers becoming an academy
03 May 2017

Oakwood School in Horley is to consult parents and carers on becoming an academy as part of the University of Brighton Academies Trust.

Consultations began on Tuesday 2 May and will run until Tuesday 20 June 2017.

Oakwood is rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted, with significantly improved results, and is a popular school in the local community.

Professor Chris Pole, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton and Chair of the University of Brighton Academies Trust, said: “By becoming an academy Oakwood will benefit from the support provided by the trust and the university, including its School of Education. The university has been educating teachers for more than 100 years, and its initial teacher training provision is rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. We want to share this expertise and our education research with new academies to benefit pupils and staff.”

Simon Potten, Oakwood School's Headteacher, said: “We are confident that a partnership with the university and its trust will provide exciting new opportunities and the best future for the school. It will build on our successes to date and help us improve further. Oakwood School is in a strong position to contribute a variety of experience, skills and expertise to the trust and is excited to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with other schools in the future."

David Brown, Oakwood School's Chair of Governors, said: “Our school’s governing body has carefully looked a variety of organisations which currently support and sponsor schools. We believe that the University of Brighton Academies Trust's vision and values are complementary to our own, and that joining the trust will ensure we are well placed to face the challenges ahead, while building on the good-quality education we provide.”

Update June 2017: Oakwood School’s governing body has decided not to proceed with academisation with the trust at the present time.


Proposal to merge trusts
03 May 2017

The Boards of Directors of the Hastings Academies Trust and the University of Brighton Academies Trust have agreed in principle to proceed with a proposal to merge the two trusts. The merger, assuming approval by the Department for Education, would take place on 1 September 2017. The merged trust would be called the ‘University of Brighton Academies Trust’. 

Following the departure of East Sussex County Council and BT as co-sponsors of the Hastings Academies Trust, the University of Brighton will be the sole sponsor of the two trusts from April 2017, so there is no longer the need for there to be two separate organisations. The Directors of the trusts therefore believe it is the right time to review the legal structures of the trusts. The two trusts will be undertaking a general consultation with all stakeholders on the proposal during the summer term. 

Dr John Smith, interim Chief Executive of the two trusts said: “This is an important development for the University of Brighton’s multi academy trusts. There is already considerable joint working across the two trusts, including shared central management structures, support and operational services; joint policies; and a joint school improvement strategy. The merger of the trusts would be a natural progression and provide opportunities to further maximise our school improvement capacity and expertise, and share best practice in teaching and learning as well as achieving greater efficiency savings”. 

The Hastings Academies Trust is currently comprised of nine academies all in Hastings and St Leonards: The Baird Primary Academy, Churchwood Primary Academy, Dudley Infant Academy, The Hastings Academy, Hollington Primary Academy, Robsack Wood Primary Academy, The St Leonards Academy, Silverdale Primary Academy and West St Leonards Primary Academy. 

The University of Brighton Academies Trust is currently comprised of six academies in three regional hubs: Desmond Anderson Primary Academy and Pound Hill Infant Academy in Crawley; Blackthorns Community Primary Academy, The Burgess Hill Academy and Lindfield Primary Academy in Mid Sussex; and Holmbush Primary Academy plus a new secondary free school, which is in development, in Brighton & Hove and surrounding areas. 

Professor Chris Pole, Chair of the two trusts said: “The merged trust would be responsible for the education of over 7,500 pupils in the region, supported by 1,200 expert staff. Collaborative working across the regional hubs of academies will strengthen our education provision, as well promoting strong links with the academies’ local communities”.

Ofsted success for The St Leonards Academy
02 March 2017

The Hastings Academies Trust, and its lead sponsor, the University of Brighton, are delighted to report that The St Leonards Academy’s ‘Good’ judgement has been confirmed by Ofsted following a short inspection on 25 January 2017.

Inspectors praised the academy’s leadership, stating that: “As a team you challenge subject leaders to improve pupils’ outcomes. You keep pupils safe. You are highly ambitious for every pupil and want each pupil to succeed. You have been supported effectively by the Hastings Academies Trust. Leaders have established a culture and ethos…to raise aspirations and strive for excellence.”

The report also notes that there are “strong, positive, working relationships between staff and pupils. Parents, pupils and staff refer to the school’s strong sense of community” and that “Teachers know their pupils’ individual needs. Teachers use assessment information effectively to plan and challenge pupils.”

Kay Tinsley, Principal said "We are very pleased with the outcome of our latest inspection and I am delighted that the hard work of our students and staff has been recognised once again by Ofsted. Inspectors acknowledged and commended our plans for further improvement and we are already addressing the small number of suggested next steps in the report.”

Dr John Smith, Interim Chief Executive said: "We are extremely proud of The St Leonards Academy and the achievements of its staff and students. This excellent Ofsted outcome recognises the academy’s journey to outstanding status, as does the Department for Education’s secondary school league table, which places the academy in the top 7% of all secondary schools in the country for the progress achieved by students.”

Visit The St leonards Academy Website

The St Leonards Academy ranked in the top 7% of schools in the country for progress
03 February 2017

The Department for Education’s recently published secondary school league table has placed The St Leonards Academy in the top 7% of all secondary schools in the country.

The league tables recognise a new national measure called ‘Progress 8’, which is the progress that students make from when they start in Year 7 to when they complete their exams in Year 11. Progress 8 is designed to encourage schools to offer a broad and balanced curriculum. It includes how well students of all abilities have done. The Progress 8 score tells you how well students in a school do, whether they get better or worse grades compared to students in other schools.

The St Leonards Academy has a Progress 8 score of +0.47, which means that students achieve, on average, almost half a grade more in each qualification than similar students nationally. Almost all groups of students in the academy, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, have a positive progress score. It is the highest progress score in Hastings and the second highest in East Sussex.

Kay Tinsley, Principal, said: “We have the highest expectations of all of our students, and our expert staff support them to achieve their potential through an innovative and dynamic approach to learning. I am delighted that the league tables recognise the fantastic achievements of our students and staff in this way”.

Hastings Academies Trust welcomes Opportunity area announcement
02 February 2017

On 18 January, the Secretary of State for Education announced that Hastings would be one of six new Opportunity areas which will see local partnerships formed with early years providers, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, charities and local authorities to ensure all children and young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

During her speech, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, said: "Opportunity areas will help local children get the best start in life, no matter what their background. Ensuring all children can access high-quality education at every stage is critical. We will focus not just on what we can do to help inside schools, but also create the opportunities outside school that will raise sights and broaden horizons for young people".

There are now twelve opportunity areas across the country. The initiative enables these areas to access a range of additional funding, including the Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund worth £75 million, focused on supporting teachers and school leaders in challenging areas to develop; and a new £3.5 million programme, which will support the creation of a research school for each opportunity area.

The Hastings Academies Trust, and our sponsor, the University of Brighton, have been working since 2008 to improve the educational opportunities, progression and aspirations of children and young people in Hastings and St Leonards. The trust is responsible for the education of over 6,000 children and young people in the town. Our vision is based on promoting excellence in leadership, teaching and learning; collaboration and mutual support; and an important community focus.

Professor Chris Pole, Chair of the Hastings Academies Trust (and Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Brighton) said: "We are very pleased to learn that Hastings has been identified as one of the Department for Education’s new opportunity areas. As a family of nine academies supporting nursery, infant, primary and secondary provision, including the first National Teaching School in the area and with strong links to the local college and university, we are passionate about working collaboratively to raise standards in education and enable young people to meet their full potential."

Crawley Primary School joins the trust
01 February 2017

The Desmond Anderson Primary School in Crawley is to convert to academy status and join the University of Brighton Academies Trust, following approval by the Secretary of State for Education. The transition takes place on Wednesday 1 February 2017 and comes after extensive consultations with parents, carers and staff.

The Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, in letters to the trust and to school governors, said the Department for Education would be entering into a funding agreement for the conversion, stating: “Your academy will now have the opportunity to use the freedoms and flexibilities of academy status to share best practice and work with others to bring about sustained improvements to all schools in the area.”

Senior leaders at the Desmond Anderson Primary School, judged ‘good’ by Ofsted, today welcomed the announcement.

Krista Elledge, Headteacher said: “We are delighted to be joining the trust as we continue to build on the success of our dynamic, happy and welcoming school. We are confident this new and exciting partnership will provide a wealth of opportunities for our school community.”

Clare Hoggan, Chair of Governors said: “Our governing board believe the trust shares our ethos and values, which will enable it to provide us with the support we need to make sure our children receive the best possible education.”

Dr John Smith, interim Chief Executive of the University of Brighton Academies Trust, said: “We very much look forward to working with the school to build further on their strengths by providing opportunities for sharing good practice and making further improvements to children’s educational achievements.

“The University of Brighton provides higher education to more than 21,000 students and we have been training and educating teachers for more than 100 years. Our provision has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and we want to share this expertise and our education research with new academies to benefit pupils, staff and local communities.”

VISIT THE DESMOND ANDERSON PRIMARY ACADEMY WEBSITE


New senior leadership
11 January 2017

Having led the University of Brighton’s academies programme from the start, Paul Griffiths has retired as the Chief Executive of the Hastings Academies Trust and University of Brighton Academies Trust. 

Paul has been associated with the academies since the planning stages in 2008; he subsequently became a founder Director of each trust and, for the last five years, has been Chief Executive of the Hastings Academies Trust and then the University of Brighton Academies Trust. He has led the trusts from the point where the University of Brighton was one the first university sponsors of academies, to the current position where it is amongst the largest and arguably the most successful university supporter of academies in the country. 

Professor Chris Pole, Chair of the Board of Directors and Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Brighton said: "The two trusts and the university have been fortunate to have had such a committed and talented colleague to lead the trusts over these initial stages of development. They are now poised to achieve greater success which will be for the good of many young people in Sussex and surrounding areas."

Dr John Smith has been confirmed by the Boards of Directors as the interim Chief Executive of the two trusts from 1 January 2017, whilst a permanent recruitment process is completed.   

John has worked closely with both trusts and their academies since 2011, being a member of the trusts’ Senior Management Teams and School Improvement Group. He is an experienced educationalist having previously been a secondary school teacher, university lecturer and the university’s Academies Co-ordinator. John is currently also Head of the university’s School of Education, leading one of the largest providers of initial teacher training and professional development for teachers and other education professionals in the country. 

On his appointment John said: "I am extremely pleased and privileged to lead the Hastings Academies Trust and University of Brighton Academies Trust as interim CEO. I am committed to the trusts’ success and to providing improved opportunities for the academies’ children, their families and our communities."