Trust News


Stakeholder Update                                                                                                       21 May 2022


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you well.  Here’s an update on the work going on across the Trust so far this term:

Executive Board

Last term ended with our biennial conference held at Keele Hall on 8th April 2022; it was attended by over 280 staff/governors and other guests.  The focus was ‘Wellbeing and More’ with keynote speakers including: Mary Myatt, Shonette Bason, Julie Leoni, Daisy Christodoulou and Jason Bangbala.  Feedback on the day was very positive and a consultation is in progress to gather more detailed feedback that will inform future events.

The Academy Performance Review (APR) process gained in momentum this term with all settings having a ‘getting to know you’ visit from Debbie Campbell, one of our external Trust Education Partners.  Each setting will also receive a visit from Debbie to quality assure their APR self-assessment with a focus this term on Leadership, Curriculum and Teaching and Learning. Although the focus this term was only on three key priority areas, we will work together on planning the self-evaluation/quality assurance of the other areas later this term.  We can also have a certain level of confidence that if accuracy of judgement is found in these three priority areas, we can be more assured regarding the accuracy of judgement within the other strands of the APR framework.

The Executive Board also held another Development Day (no 5) this term, alongside external partners from Worcester University and directors who have supported throughout the Trust Development work process. The focus was on how we process the capacity (expertise/strengths) of the Trust and on the graduated offer in supporting schools on their improvement agenda. We considered the needs of each group of school as per the framework (Stabilise, Strengthen, Secure and Secure Plus) in terms of ‘what’ they would need in order to develop, ‘how’ that would be delivered, ‘how often’ it would be required and by ‘whom’. We also considered the implications for the Central Team in terms of the need to grow capacity. A model was shared where the current Executive Education Representative (EER) role split into two (Deputy CEO and EER) with enhanced capacity and an increased focus on supporting educational development alongside Trust development. These posts will be offered on a two-year secondment basis to all our current headteachers; it is envisaged that the two posts combined will initially equate to a full-time post on the Executive Pay Scale.  A recruitment process will commence after May half-term.

The Strategic Development Plan continued to be reviewed and updated in line with recommendations from the working groups and their operational plans.

The MAT to MAT collaborations continued with settings meeting to reflect both inwardly and outwardly on priority areas identified by the host school. Evidence has demonstrated that these opportunities have resulted in strengthened practice. The work on strategic peer-supported development continues to be facilitated by Paul Sheehan from Worcester University.

The Executive Board received an update from Sally Henderson, Finance and Procurement Manager (CFO), regarding the work of the Academy Business Managers’ Group and the outcomes from the Internal Audit Process (including recommendations) were shared. Forthcoming ABM Group meeting agendas are routinely discussed and agreed.

The Executive also continued to ensure policies were reviewed and updated with the latest legislation and guidance.

Pupil Premium (PP) and Recovery Steering Group 

This Steering Group guides the work of both the Pupil Premium Leaders’ Group and the P4C Leaders’ Group.

The leaders of the Pupil Premium Leaders group met in March 2022.  They shared the impact of the PP Strategies over the last twelve months. Strategies included related to Quality First Teaching, Targeted Intervention and Wider strategies. A number of useful resources were also shared.

The implementation of the School Led Tutoring fund was discussed.  Training was also held on a group reading intervention programme led by Glenys Gill.

The work on building an aspirational, work/community linked curriculum, which was a recommendation from the visit from the PP Consultant, will be undertaken by the Deputy Headteachers’ Group.  The Early Years Leaders’ group will also look on the use of Targeted Intervention in the Early Years.

A follow up session is due to take place in the summer term to focus on school development tools and interventions strategies.

The leaders of our Philosophy for Children (P4C) group met with Neil Phillipson (P4C Consultant) once again. During the Spring Term, the lead teachers shared their reflections and follow up activities since Neil’s visits. We also discussed the use of the P4C Ground Rules and assessment tool and also the possibility of a P4C event for parents and the community.  The next session will build upon the work on the Ground Rules and plan the community event. Neil Phillipson will also visit each setting this term to support with the gathering of evidence for SAPERE’s P4C Awards.

The operational plan and Trust Strategic Development plan has been updated in line with progress to date; good progress has been made.  Achievement of many objectives will be evaluated at the end of the academic year following the APR outcomes.

Inclusion and Wellbeing Steering Group 

This Steering Group receives feedback on the work of the Inclusion Leaders’ Group, the Family Support Leaders’ Group and the Wellbeing Group.  All these working groups met again.

The Inclusion Leaders’ Group continue to focus on strategies to support the mental health of children and the professional development of staff.  Training has been organised and best practice has been shared in a number of areas including, Zumos (a mental health and wellbeing resource for children), Boxall (a useful tool to screen the social, emotional and mental health of children) and a mental health brochure that indicates access to services for all settings. Challenges continue with regard to accessing Local Authority services relating to Alternative Provision and the Educational Psychology service.  Planning how to increase provision in these areas remains a priority.

The pupil questionnaires completed in Spring 2021 have helped to prioritise interventions over the past year. Plans were drawn up to repeat the questionnaire next half term (Spring 2) in order to establish impact of the work each setting has completed.  Strategies to support the mental health of children in each of our settings are scheduled to continue in the Spring and Summer Terms.

The use of Peer Leaders is still in a developing stage due to previous Covid restrictions; work in this area will continue next term.

The Family Liaison Workers’ Group continued working towards increasing community involvement and family learning opportunities. Plans are in place to update the Early Help directory as new resources become available.

The group discussed challenges that have been impacted upon by the pandemic particularly:

  • the outcomes of missed early help and the impact on children’s early development and readiness for school;
  • pupil attendance and parental understanding of Covid guidance;
  • the challenges of supporting children with positive relationships, particularly given the prevalence of social media usage.

The group continued to share strategies, feedback and resources from recent training in order to raise awareness and strengthen expertise. Advisory support from the Education Welfare Service continued also.

The Wellbeing Group continued their work in raising the profile of staff mental health by signposting staff to relevant support; a Wellbeing Policy has been created and is being tailored to support the needs of each setting this term. The Wellbeing survey is due to go out to each setting on 20th May and plans for next year in each setting will build upon the outcomes of this. If there are commonalities then the Trust will consider joint activity.

All staff in each setting have benefited in a Wellbeing Day that can be requested as an annual entitlement; the timing of this this is at the discretion of the headteacher (CEO for headteachers) and will be an ongoing additionally supportive measure that the Trust provides.

Working Party Operational Plans were reviewed; good progress has been made.

Developing a Professional Learning Community Steering Group  

This Steering Group oversees the work of the Career Pathways Leaders’ Group (previously CPD Leaders’ Group and Early Career Leaders’ Group).

The group reflected upon and updated the Trust Workforce and Governor Training Plan in line with completed CPD; training is going well.  Some training will continue into the next academic year; this includes the work of the History, RE and Art Leaders. The National College training portal is now in use in all settings across the trust.  Additional funding has been allocated to facilitate a visit from Neil Phillipson, P4C lead to support each setting with the gathering of evidence for the SAPERE awards. Costs for moderation next year will also be included moving forwards.

This group has now started to develop career pathways with a focus on a teacher progression pathway and teaching assistant pathway. The next step will be a focus on Apprenticeship Pathways.

Our biennial Governors’ Skills Audit and a Workforce audit have been created again this term.  They will be sent out shortly in order to establish the training plan for next two-year cycle.

The Terms of Reference for the group was revised in order to reflect the updated membership. The Working Party Operational Plans were also reviewed; good progress has been made.

Curriculum Steering Group  

This Steering Group oversees the work of the Deputy Headteachers’ Group, EYFS Leaders’ Group and individual subject leaders’ groups. Operational plans are in place.

The Deputy Headteachers’ group is a newly established group that will focus particularly on supporting the pupils in the Trust with collaborative curriculum enrichment and career aspirational opportunities. They will also oversee the work of the RUGS – our MAT student council. Current opportunities include Commonwealth Games, Young Voices, Shakespeare and Jubilee mug designing competition.  They will also work with partners from Character First to support this work.

The EYFS Leaders’ Group continued their focus upon the curriculum developments linked to the implementation of the new framework.  This session was led by Nadine Key from Oaklands Nursery. Settings discussed plans for peer moderation and in meeting the needs of SEND children or children identified as falling behind. Useful information and resources were shared to support practice across the trust.

The History Leaders’ did not meet this term due to SLE capacity.  It has been suggested that this work continue in a Peer to Peer format moving forwards.

The PE Leaders met this term in order to organise the Trust Commonwealth Games.  This will take place at Stoke City F.C. Dome on 1st July.

A Science Leaders’ group has been established led by Claire Annese, Deputy Head at Gladstone.  This group is in the early stages of development with a draft operational plan. The priority is to ensure that there is a progressive curriculum in all settings based upon the Trust Values for Science. Useful resources have already been shared at this stage.

Plans are in place to establish an RE Art Leaders’ Group next year.

The Terms of Reference for each group were revised this term to reflect the updated membership. Working Party Operational Plans are also being reviewed; good progress is event.

I continue to be extremely proud of the work we are doing as a team right across the Trust to continue to give all our children the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, and to keep them, their families, and our staff as safe as we can.  My thanks as always to our incredible staff for making this possible!

My thanks also for your continued support of the Trust and its settings.

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer

 


Stakeholder Update                                                                                                       27 April 2022


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you well and that you had a restful Easter. Some updates:

Covid-19:

As you are no doubt aware, the legal obligation to self-isolate following a positive test for Covid19 has now ended and access to testing is limited.

However, from a Public Health perspective, and in line with the government’s ‘living with COVID plan’, the Trust continues to advise the following to mitigate the chance of transmission in our settings:

  • If employees have access to testing and have tested positive for COVID19 they are advised to isolate for 5 days or until symptoms (if any) have subsided.
  • If employees are experiencing symptoms of COVID19 and do not have access to testing they are advised to isolate for 5 days or until symptoms have subsided.

Attendance:

Average attendance across the Trust to date this term is 94%, which is an excellent achievement when taking into consideration the high level of absence experienced due to Covid.

Staff Conference 2022

As you know, our 3rd Biennial Staff Conference “Wellbeing and More” took place on Friday 8 April at Keele Hall.  This was an amazing event enjoyed by all.  My thanks to everyone involved in organising it and helping on the day, and to the staff at the venue, and special thanks to Nichola Gibson, without whom the day could not have happened.  I am already looking forward to our next Conference in 2024.

Central Team

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Sallie Powell and Lisa Barnet to our Compliance and Training Manager post, working on a job-share basis.  Sallie and Lisa will join Sally Henderson, our Procurement and Finance Manager, as part of our ‘new-look’ central team.  My congratulations to them all and best wishes for their future successes. 

Executive Team and Working Groups

  • The Pupil Premium and Recovery Working Group met on 2nd March. All Pupil Premium statements are on each setting’s website and they are now all compliant. All settings are sharing outcomes of targeted interventions and also sharing best practice. There is another plan in place to continue to share good practice and the impact of interventions.
  • P4C has regained momentum; there has been lots of sharing of resources and good evidence of impact across the settings. The triads have been established again (leads from each setting).
  • Inclusion and Wellbeing Steering Group: momentum has also increased. The staff wellbeing questionnaire was conducted in February 2021 so it is now time to replicate this (May 2022). Lots of resources are being shared at meetings, with new resources being continually available. The group discussed alternative provision as Inspire will not have capacity to support. This is an ongoing concern and something we need to keep on the agenda.
  • Developing a Professional Community Steering Group: this is a really busy time for CPD. Plans are working well and good progress is being made regarding joint CPD. The National College portal has been purchased collaboratively and there are plans for NPQs; Berni Pearce will be delivering a Teams session on this. We are working alongside other Trusts (Flying High Trust), particularly with the opportunities on the Inspiring Leaders Programme.
  • Career Pathways are being developed so everyone can see what the next steps are in professional development.
  • Learning to Lead sessions, helping to prepare our aspiring leaders, are going ahead, facilitated by Dave Alston. The plan is for this to continue next year.
  • The Workforce Audit will be done again this term and will form the basis for training plans over the next 2-year cycle; skills audits from Governors will also be worked into the training plan.
  • EYFS Leaders’ Group: Nadine Key is leading the group, who are looking at the new curriculum and assessment profile work. They will also look at identifying what support needs to be implemented regarding Pupil Premium children in the early years.
  • New Academy Performance Review (APR) Framework: the termly APR process has now started again. Debbie Campbell, our Trust Education Partner, will also be visiting all settings to get to know them before the reviews take place later this term.
  • Development Day (13th May at the Potters Club from 8:30am): The new APR framework will be reviewed and we will be working on self-evaluation to refine the strategy going forward. Through this process we will also look at the capacity to assist settings with further development.

Enrichment Projects

Year 6 children from across the Trust will be taking part in the Societas Commonwealth Games on 1 July at Stoke City F.C.’s training dome.  The children will compete in teams linked to Countries of the Commonwealth.  My thanks to Stoke F.C. and to our PE Leaders’ Group who are organising this amazing event.  Our Deputy Heads’ Group is also working closely with our RUGS (MAT Student Council) on a number of other enrichment projects including a Jubilee event week commencing 23 May – please watch this space for further details.

I continue to be extremely proud of the work we are doing as a team right across the Trust to continue to give all our children the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, and to keep them, their families, and our staff as safe as we can.  My thanks to our incredible staff for making this possible!

My thanks also for your continued support of the Trust and its settings.

With my very best wishes,

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer

 


Stakeholder Update                                                                                                       31 March 2022


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you well. Some updates:

Covid-19:

The DfE has just issued the following update:

For education and childcare settings from Friday 1 April:

  • regular asymptomatic testing is no longer recommended in any education or childcare setting, including in SEND, alternative provision and children’s social care settings. Therefore, settings will no longer be able to order test kits
  • the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will publish new guidance. Most of the specific COVID-19 guidance for education and childcare settings will be withdrawn from GOV.​UK on Friday 1 April. The operational guidance on the testing in education settings document sharing platform will also be removed on the same day

Updated guidance on infection control in education settings will, from 1 April, now advise:

  • adults with the symptoms of a respiratory infection, and who have a high temperature or feel unwell, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature
  • children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend
  • adults with a positive COVID-19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious. For children and young people aged 18 and under, the advice will be 3 days

The Executive will continue to closely monitor the situation going forward, particularly around staff absence; and, as with all other infectious diseases in schools, settings will notify and work with Public Health if there are any significant outbreaks.

The full guidance for people with a respiratory infection including Covid-19, or a positive test, can be found here – Guidance for People with a Respiratory Infection or Positive Test From 1 April 2022

Attendance:

Attendance across the Trust to date this academic year is 93.7%, which is still above the National average for Primary Schools.  

Societas 4th Annual Shakespeare Festival:

As you know, Year 5 children from across the Trust performed their version of Macbeth “Something Wicked This Way Comes” at the New Vic Theatre on 22nd and 23rd March – both performances were amazing and my thanks go to all the children and adults involved.  The performances were also streamed for any parents and carers who couldn’t make the live shows. I for one can’t wait to find out what the theme for next year’s festival is.

Staff Conference 2022

Just a reminder that our 3rd Biennial Staff Conference “Wellbeing and More” is taking place on Friday 8 April at Keele Hall – see flyer here – Societas 2022 Conference Flyer.  There are still a few places left if any of our governors or associates would like to attend.  Please let me know if you would like to?

Carmountside Primary Academy

I am delighted to share that the application for Carmountside Primary Academy, one of our associate member settings, to transfer and join The Societas Trust has been approved by the DfE.  We are now working towards a 1 September 2022 transfer date.  My congratulations to the school on this excellent news. 

Other Enrichment Projects

Year 6 children from across the Trust will be taking part in the Societas Commonwealth Games on 1 July at Stoke City F.C.’s training dome.  The children will compete in teams linked to Countries of the Commonwealth.  My thanks to Stoke F.C. and to our PE Leaders’ Group who are organising this amazing event.  Our Deputy Heads’ Group is also working closely with our RUGS (MAT Student Council) on a number of other enrichment projects including a Jubilee event week commencing 23 May – please watch this space for further details.

I continue to be extremely proud of the work we are doing as a team right across the Trust to continue to give all our children the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, and to keep them, their families, and our staff as safe as we can.  My thanks to our incredible staff for making this possible!

My thanks also for your continued support of the Trust and its settings.

Wishing you all a very peaceful Easter Break when it arrives..

With my very best wishes,

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer

 


Stakeholder Update                                                                                                       17 February 2022


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you all well. Some end of half-term updates:

Covid:

Whilst case numbers continue to fall across all settings, we remain vigilant and continue to follow DfE and Public Health guidance when any outbreaks occur, which thankfully are becoming less frequent.  I continue to meet with the Executive Team on a regular basis to monitor progress, establish policy and co-ordinate the Trust’s and each setting’s response to the ongoing Pandemic.

Attendance:

Attendance across the Trust so far this academic year is 93.4%, which is above the National average for Primary Schools – this is an incredible achievement, especially considering the change this year to having to report children who tests positive for Covid as being absent.

Shakespeare Festival:

Just a reminder that children from each setting will be performing their version of Macbeth “Something Wicked This Way Comes” at the New Vic Theatre on 22nd and 23rd March – live performance on both days commences at 2:30pm; the performance on the 22nd will also be streamed on 28th March, and the one on the 23rd will be streamed on 29th March.  Would any Local Governors who are interested please contact their school office for more details.

Executive Board: 

The Executive Board, alongside external partners from Worcester University and from a highly successful MAT – The Flying High Trust, engaged in Trust Development work in order to review and understand the current developmental stage of The Societas Trust.  We worked together to scope, vision and plan the next steps of the Trust journey using good practice research to inform decision making.  The Improving Education Strategy and Academy Performance Review process were updated as a result of this work.  There are plans for another development day in the Summer Term where we will plan the academy improvement strategy further.

Covid Outbreak management and contingency planning remained an ongoing focus; all operational plans and risk assessments have been kept up to date.

The Strategic Development Plan was also reviewed and updated; it was agreed that further refinements would be added once the working groups had updated their operational plans.

The APR summary report from the Summer Term was used to inform future planning both within each setting and across the trust. The summary report outlines the next steps and priorities for each setting as agreed with Sarah Preston during her visits. Actions are ongoing and progress will be monitored during future APR visits planned for the Spring Term 2022 onwards.

The MAT-to-MAT collaboration process was reviewed this term and plans were put in place to resume the outward and inward-looking reflections that have been proven to strengthen our practice. The work on strategic peer-supported development continues to be facilitated by Paul Sheehan from Worcester University.

Preparations for the conference continued.  The Societas Trust Conference is scheduled to be held at Keele Hall on 8th April 2022 with the focus being ‘Wellbeing and More.’ The guest speakers are: Mary Myatt, Shonette Bason, Julie Leoni, Daisy Christodoulou and Jason Bangbala.

The Executive Board received an update from Sally Henderson, Compliance and Finance Manager (CFO), regarding the work of the Academy Business Managers’ Group and the outcomes from the Internal Audit Process (including recommendations) were shared. Forthcoming ABM Group meeting agendas are routinely discussed and agreed.

The Executive also continued to ensure policies were reviewed and updated with the latest legislation and guidance.

Alsagers Bank Primary Academy (previously Richard Heathcote Community Primary School) became a full member of The Societas Trust on 1 September 2021.  Further expressions of interest from schools wishing to have a closer relationship with the Trust, with the possibility of joining in the future, have also been discussed and proposals for associate member arrangements considered where appropriate. Carmountside Primary Academy has also been welcomed as an much valued associate member setting alongside Oaklands Nursery.

Pupil Premium (PP) and Recovery Steering Group: 

This Steering Group guides the work of both the Pupil Premium Leaders’ Group and the Philosophy for Children (P4C) Leaders’ Group.

During the Summer Term, Bernie Pearce, PP Consultant, visited each setting to review the implementation of strategies and outcomes so far.  A summary report was drawn up and the meeting during the autumn term focused on addressing the common priority of updating the Pupil Premium Strategy Statements for all settings using the revised DfE template.  Leaders from Alsagers Bank and Oaklands joined the group this term. All settings published their new strategy statements on their websites by 31st December 2021 in line with DfE expectations.

The leaders of our P4C group met with Neil Phillipson (P4C Consultant) once again. During the first half of the Autumn Term, the focus was on the impact of the skills building work done; ensuring that there is progression in the development of skills in all P4C areas. It was agreed for the current class teacher to use the assessment tool and to plan for the first half-term this term for the next teacher. During the second half of the Autumn Term, Neil led CPD on Socratic Questions, the role of the facilitator and how assessment can be used to inform skills building practice. Nichola led CPD on Clutterbuck and Megginson’s model on ways to drive change in others.

Areas for further training and support were identified for the Spring Term. The group also looked at coaching partnerships and supporting EAL children, which will be further discussed next term.

The Terms of Reference for each group were revised this term to reflect the updated membership.  Working Party Operational Plans were also reviewed.

Inclusion and Wellbeing Steering Group: 

This Steering Group receives feedback on the work of the Inclusion Leaders’ Group, the Family Support Leaders’ Group and the Wellbeing Group.  All these working groups met again.

The Inclusion Leaders’ Group reviewed the mental health action plans for each setting. A useful tool to screen the social, emotional and mental health of children was discussed (Boxall) and it was recommended that the Trust purchase an online version of the tool for all settings to use.

The pupil questionnaires completed in Spring 2021 have helped to prioritise interventions over the past year. Plans were drawn up to repeat the questionnaire next half term (Spring 2) in order to establish impact of the work each setting has completed.  Strategies to support the mental health of children in each of our settings are scheduled to continue in the Spring and Summer Terms.

The PSHCE Curriculum for each setting was discussed.  Inclusion leaders agreed that they were happy with their setting’s curriculum which includes resources shared as part of the Sandwell Project.  It was agreed that this area of work no longer needs to be a focus of this group moving forwards.

The use of Peer Leaders is still in a developing stage due to Covid restrictions; work in this area will continue next term.

The Family Support Leaders’ Group, to be renamed the Family Liaison Workers’ Group, resumed plans to increase community involvement and family learning opportunities; something that had been severely impacted upon during the pandemic.  This, alongside supporting the social, emotional and mental health needs of children and families will be the focus for the coming year. Advisory support from the Education Welfare Service continued also.

The Wellbeing Group continued their work in raising the profile of staff mental health by signposting staff to relevant support; currently the group is looking to set up an online survey tool that can be used across the trust to monitor outcomes of wellbeing support. The Wellbeing Policy was discussed and will be finalised shortly.

The Terms of Reference for each group were revised this term to reflect the updated membership.  Working Party Operational Plans were also scheduled to be reviewed.

Developing a Professional Learning Community Steering Group: 

This Steering Group oversees the work of the CPD Leaders’ Group and Early Career Leaders’ Group.

The CPD leaders’ group once again reflected upon and updated the Trust Workforce and Governor Training Plan; training is going well and according to schedule. The National College training portal was purchased for all settings across the trust.

The Early Career Leaders’ group continue to work together in support of the Early Careers Teachers. There are plans to change the name of this group to the ‘Career Pathways Leaders’ Group’, as the group looks at career pathways for other groups of staff moving forwards.

The Terms of Reference for each group were revised this term to reflect the updated membership.  Working Party Operational Plans are also being reviewed.

Curriculum Steering Group: 

This Steering Group oversees the work of the EYFS Leaders’ Group and individual subject leaders’ groups. Operational plans are in place.

The EYFS Leaders’ Group continued their focus upon the curriculum developments linked to the implementation of the new framework.  This session was led by Nadine Key from Oaklands Nursery. Settings also shared their practice with regard to formative assessment and the collection of evidence from observation and use of the Learning Journals.  Settings reported that they were feeling much more confident with the changes and there was a recognition that all EYFS policies will need updating in line with the reformed EYFS. The next steps are to focus particularly on interventions to meet the needs of SEND children or children identified as falling behind. Nadine shared a wealth of useful information and resources to support practice across the trust.

The History Leaders’ Group, led by Lorna Pateman and a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE), David Foreshaw from Blackfriars, met to share expertise and to plan the implementation and assessment of the History curriculum in each of our settings.  Strengths identified included: the Intent, Implementation and Impact statements; the development of a cross-curricular approach; and well thought out sequencing of the curriculum in KS2.  Next steps are to address any gaps in the curriculum sequence, develop assessment practices to measure the impact of the curriculum, to focus on retrieval practices to support children in knowing and remembering more in line with Ofsted expectations and to consider best practices to quality assure the teaching and learning taking place.

Plans are in place to establish an Art Leaders’ Group in the Spring term 2022.

The Terms of Reference for each group were revised this term to reflect the updated membership. Working Party Operational Plans are also being reviewed.

A copy of our latest Improving Education Strategy and Strategic Development Plan can be found at www.societastrust.org.uk under Key Information.

I continue to be extremely proud of the work we are doing as a team right across the Trust to continue to give all our children the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, and to keep them, their families, and our staff as safe as we can.  My thanks to our incredible staff for making this all possible!

My thanks also for your continued support of the Trust and its settings!

Please stay safe and well and have a restful half term if you’re lucky enough to be taking a break.

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer

 


Update to Stakeholders                                                                                                           7 January 2022


Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a safe and peaceful Christmas holiday.

Some updates for you:

Attendance

So far, this academic year, attendance across the Trust is 94%; this compares very well with the national average which is 91%.

Covid-19

All of our settings are currently experiencing a high level of staff absence for Covid and non-Covid related reasons.  However, as things stand, settings are managing to make cover arrangements where needed, although the next few weeks would appear to be critical with the likelihood of a further increase in case numbers post the New Year celebrations.  The number of new positive cases this week amongst staff across the Trust is 17.  The headteachers and I will continue to monitor the situation closely and will activate contingency arrangements in-line with our policy as and when required.

I continue to be extremely proud of the work we are doing across the Trust to ensure that our children have the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, whilst keeping our schools as safe as they possibly can be.  My thanks to all our fantastic staff for making this possible.

RUGS

I am delighted to announce the reformation of our MAT Student Council, more affectionately known as the RUGS (“Really Useful Generation of Students”):

  • Alsagers Bank – Freya Allcock and Miles Amison
  • Ash Green – Esme Warburton and Katie Sherlock
  • Carmountside – Poppy Edge and Oscar Carnell
  • Ellison – Sophie Rawlinson and Tyler Burton
  • Gladstone – Lucy Robinson and Dalton Edmondson
  • Goldenhill – Matilda English and Caleb Black
  • Summerbank – Khalissa Yahya and Liam Bourne

I am certain you would all wish to join me in wishing them all every success as they embark on their new careers as represtatieves for their own school communities and as ambasadors for the Trust.

Strategic Development Plan 2021 to 2023

The following is an extract from the Trustees’ report which was reveived at the Directors’ AGM just before Chirstmas:

The Trust’s Strategic Development Plan (“SDP”) is the responsibility of the CEO to develop, working closely with the Executive Board. The plan identifies the strategic developments that the Trust will make during the next three years.  It is a strategic statement of intent that guides our work and allows stakeholders to monitor progress towards reaching our objectives.   

The plan has been written following consideration of: 

  • The current OFSTED framework for inspections for schools and outcomes from school self-evaluation and the Annual Performance Review (APR) outcomes that have been externally quality assured; 
  • Local and national developments that we know will have an impact on our settings over the coming years. 

The plan reflects the Trust’s vision, ethos and values and has been created by the Executive Board and approved by the Trust Board.  It represents the core of our drive to ensure high standards and should be viewed in the context of the overall strategy for development. 

The SDP also informs individual setting improvement plans that demonstrates how it will implement the strategic statement, and also additional elements and actions to address local need.   

The CEO, working alongside the Executive Board, monitors and evaluates impact across the Trust through the work of the Steering Groups and at individual setting level through the Academy Performance Review (APR) process and reports on progress half-termly to the Trust Board. 

To achieve continuous school improvement, the Trust has a commitment to training and professional development which supports staff and governance at all levels in the organisation.  All settings have a commitment to participate in a school led improvement model and work collaboratively with other schools and academies both within and beyond the MAT to share best practice and accomplish improvements through partnership working.  The SDP will operate within the boundaries of sound financial management. 

The developments over the next three years are to continue to raise standards for all pupils across the trust so that settings are judged ‘highly effective’ for provision and outcomes through the Trust’s Academy Performance Review (APR) process by summer 2023. This is to be achieved by reaching the milestones as outlined under each of the following six priority areas in our Strategic Development Plan:  

  1. Ensuring recovery plans and strategies are in place, across the Trust, that support all pupils, including SEND and disadvantaged, to catch up for lost teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic; the focus being on high quality teaching, targeted academic support and wider strategies; 
  2. Ensuring that each setting uses Philosophy for Children to create a community of enquiry that improves pupils’ questioning and reasoning skills, their search for alternative perspectives and connections, critical thinking (so that they are open to changing viewpoints) and outcomes in reading, maths and writing, so that: by summer 2022 some settings will meet the SAPERE Silver criteria (some choosing to submit for the award); by summer 2023 most settings will meet the meet the SAPERE Silver criteria with some meeting the Gold criteria (with some choosing to submit for the award); 
  3. Supporting and improving the mental health and emotional well-being of all stakeholders by developing whole school strategies that support wellbeing, and teaching and learning practices that promote resilience, support social and emotional learning, and cultivate a love of learning among the whole Trust community. All settings to have achieved the Sandwell Mental Health Chartermark by summer 2023; 
  4. Extending the Capacity (skills and ability) of the workforce and governance, so that by summer 2023: all staff and governors have the expertise and the ambition necessary to fulfil their role; leaders can monitor, evaluate, diagnose and improve the areas for which they are responsible; can lead by example; and can manage and deploy resources effectively.  This is to be achieved, among several other initiatives, through participating in peer-to-peer, coaching and mentoring, and collaborative governance training; 
  5. Ensuring that each setting has a rich, inspiring and highly stimulating curriculum, including extracurricular provision that fully meets the needs of all pupils and leaves them with highly memorable and influential experiences, and overcomes some of the barriers to cementing a broader community and a corporate understanding: this is to be achieved, in part, through the Shakespeare, Music, PE, and Art Projects, and the work of the Really Useful Generation Students’ Group (“RUGS”) 
  6. Growing the Trust through a process of ‘growth through collaboration’ with other likeminded leaders and organisations, to serve a pupil population (excluding nursery children) of no less than 3,000 pupils by the summer of 2023. 

Progress in each of these priority areas will be closely monitored by the CEO, working alongside the Trust Board’s Committees, Steering Groups and Executive Board. The Strategic Development Plan will continue to be evaluated and developed in line with the needs of the Trust and each of our settings.’

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

The report for 2020/2021 can be found at www.societastrust.org.uk under ‘Other Information’.

Meeting the Public Sector Apprenticeship Target

The report for 2020/2021 can be found at www.societastrust.org.uk under ‘Other Information’

My thanks also to each of you for your continued support of the Trust and its settings.

Please stay safe and well!

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer

 


Christmas Message from the Chair of the Trust                                                          15 December 2021


Dear Colleagues

The end of 2021 will soon be upon us and the last 12 months have seen us continuing to face the challenges of the pandemic.

It has been fantastic to welcome the children into the settings and it has been incredible that the levels of attendance throughout the year have far exceeded the expectations we held at the start of the year. This is to the credit of all those safe environments our amazing staff have maintained throughout the most difficult of times.

It has been great to see that all the settings have continued to collaborate and develop together, both face to face and virtually, and we were able to proceed with The Societas Olympics, albeit with the children remaining in their respective settings.

In September, we formally welcomed Alsagers Bank Primary Academy (formerly Richard Heathcote Community Primary School) in to the Trust following a successful period of collaboration and we all look forward to continue our working together.  We have also recently welcomed another Associate Member Setting, Carmountside Primary Academy, and wish them every success as a valued partner.

Once again, we face more uncertain times ahead of us, with the emerging Omicron variant. Please be assured that the Executive Team is continuing to closely monitor the situation and liaising with the various Government/Council bodies and the Trade Unions on the matter, and taking advice on maintaining the safe working practices within our educational settings, to help ensure our practices are maintained and updated as appropriate.

There are a number of whole Trust activities planned for 2022 (subject of course to any change in restrictions). These include the Societas Shakespeare Festival at the New Vic Theatre in March (“Something Wicked this Way Comes”), and of course the biennial Trust Conference on 8th April at Keele Hall (“Wellbeing and More”).  We are also planning a Societas Commonwealth Games in June.

On behalf of the Trust Board I would like to thank you all for your hard work and sheer dedication over the last 12 months, it is down to each and every single one of you that the Trust continues to flourish.

Wishing you and your families all the very best for the Christmas period and a prosperous New Year.

Guy Weir

Chair of the Trust Board

 


Trust News                                                                                                                                  5 November 2021


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you all safe and well!

Some further updates for you on the progress being made across all our settings so far this term.

Attendance

Attendance so far this half term across the Trust is approximately 95%; although early days, this is slightly up on the average for the last half term.  However, all pupils who test positive for Covid now have to be recorded as absent due to illness, which is a change to how this was reported last academic year.  Sadly, this change of approach from the DfE is skewing schools’ attendance data, which no longer takes account of all Covid related absence.

Covid-19

I am pleased to announce that the number of positive cases in our settings has fallen significantly: in the two weeks to 15 October 2021, there were approximately 46 cases across all our settings, whereas as at 3 November 2021, there were approximately 19.  Fingers crossed that this improving trend continues. Of course we continue to apply all national guidelines and to be extremely vigilant, and have very robust contingency arrangements in place in the event of an outbreak.

New Member of our Trust Governance Team

It is with the greatest of pleasure I can announce that we now have a new member of our Trust Members’ Board – Jill Fury.  Jill was one of our founding Trustees and also held the position of Education Director for the first two years of our operations, and brings a wealth of experience and expertise of the education sector to our Trust Governance Team.

The Members are the ‘guardians of the governance’ of the trust and have responsibility for ensuring that the trust’s charitable objective – i.e. ‘advancing education for the public benefit’ in terms of educational standards and best use of public money – is met.  Members also appoint our directors and provide independent oversight to the work of the Directors’ Board in order to ensure suitable accountability for its decision making and strategy.  We hold an annual joint meeting (usually in December) of our Members’ Board and Directors’ Board at which the Trustees’ report on the performance of the Trust and audited financial statements for the previous year are received by the members.  Past reports can be found on the Trust’s website under Other Information.

New Associate Member Setting

We are very excited to have a new Associate Member Setting – Carmountside Primary Academy in Stoke on Trent.  The directors signed the associate agreement at their meeting before half term; the agreement will be ratified by the governors at Carmountside on 15 November.  In signing this Agreement, the parties agree to fully collaborate with one another at all levels to the benefit of their respective stakeholders and the wider communities they each serve; to bring about harmonisation of statutory policies and procedures, where possible; to respect each other’s ethos and values at all times; and to promote the good working relationship of the parties whenever and wherever possible.

A copy of the full agreement can be found on the Trust’s website under Key Information.

Changes to the Central Team

Our Compliance and Finance Manager, Carol Stead, has now left her post to take semi early retirement.  I’m certain you would all wish to join with me in wishing Carol all the very best for the future.  Sally Henerson, who in addition to her substantive role as Head of Support Services at Summerbank Primary Academy is also Deputy Chief Finance Officer for the Trust, will be acting up in the interim. 

Shakespeare Project

I am delighted to again announce the launch of: 

The Societas Children’s Shakespeare Festival 2021/2022
“Something Wicked This Way Comes!” Macbeth

All settings will be participating in this project, which will involve the children exploring the themes of the play through their learning, and the opportunity to work with a professional drama company; this will hopefully culminate in two performances of the play (adapted by the children themselves) at the New Vic Theatre in the spring next year.  The lead teachers attended a virtual launch of the event on 3 November 2021 and will also be attending residential training later this month.

National College Training Portal

The Trust has now entered into an agreement with the National College to give all directors, governors and staff access to their training portal.  If you have not already received login information, you will shortly be receiving this directly from the National College.

Vacancy for a Director

An advert for a non-executive director to join our Directors’ Board can be viewed here.  This is initially being offered internally across all our local governors.

Supporting Effective Governance  

In response to the Skills Audit, a programme of further training events to support governance is planned for this term – details below:

Thursday 11th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – Managing Risk, The Governance Role – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

Thursday 18th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – The Effective Governance of SEND – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details 

To book a place on any of the above, please email governor.training@societastrust.org.uk with your name, setting, role, and the course(s) you wish to sign up for.  More Effective Governance Training is being planned for the spring and summer terms – please watch this space.

I am extremely proud of the work we are doing across the Trust, giving all our children the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, whilst keeping them, their families, and our staff as safe as we can.  My thanks to all our fantastic staff for making this possible.

With my thanks also for your continued support.

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer

 


Trust News                                                                                                                                  21 October 2021


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you all well!

Some updates for you on the progress being made across all our settings so far this term.

Attendance

Attendance so far this term across the Trust is approximately 94%.  All pupils who test positive for Covid now have to be recorded as absent due to illness, which is a change to how this was reported last academic year.   Whilst there are still a number of positive cases across the Trust, according to Public Heath, all our settings continue to manage the situation very well indeed.  Our latest Contingency (Outbreak) Plan, which now contains ‘Stepping Up’ measures at Appendix 1, can be viewed here.

Shakespeare Project

I am delighted to announce the launch of: 

The Societas Children’s Shakespeare Festival 2021/22
“Something Wicked This Way Comes!” Macbeth

All settings will be participating in this project, which will involve the children exploring the themes of the play through their learning, and the opportunity to work with a professional drama company; this will hopefully culminate in two performances of the play (adapted by the children themselves) at the New Vic Theatre in the spring next year.

Report on the Activities of the Executive and Steering Groups so far this term:

Executive Board 

The Executive focused on Covid Outbreak management and contingency plans to ensure a smooth transition for the children’s return to school in September. Risk assessments etc. were reviewed accordingly.

The Strategic Development Plan was reviewed and updated; further details will be added once the steering groups have updated their operational plans.

The focus of the Summer Term Academy Performance Reviews was:

  • Progress since the last visit;
  • School Performance;
  • Identification of Key Strengths and Areas for Development

MAT to MAT collaboration was reviewed in Autumn Term with plans in place to resume the outward and inward-looking reflections that continue to strengthen our practice. The work on strategic peer to peer supported development continues to be facilitated by Paul Sheehan from Worcester University.

Preparations for the conference continue.  It will be held at Keele Hall on 8th April 2022 with a focus on ‘Wellbeing and More.’ The guest speakers are: Mary Myatt, Shonette Bason, Julie Leoni, Daisy Christodoulou and Jason Bangbala.

The Executive continues to receive a regular update from Carol Stead, Compliance and Finance Manager, regarding the work of the Academy Business Managers’ Group and Internal Audit Process (including recommendations). Forthcoming ABM Group meeting agendas are routinely discussed and agreed.

The Executive also continues to keep policies under review and up to date with latest legislation and guidance.

Further expressions of interest from schools wishing to have a closer relationship with the Trust, with the possibility of joining in the future, have also been discussed and proposals for associate member arrangements considered where appropriate.

The work to develop our Improving Education Strategy, aligned to our Growth Plan, continues at pace; we have now held two joint sessions also involving some of our directors; a third session is planned for after half term; Paul Sheenhan of Worcester University is also facilitating this process. We were also joined by Chris Wheatley, CEO of The Flying High Trust, for our first Development Day, who shared with us their growth journey and some of the lessons learned along the way.

Strategic Development Plan Update: 

Pupil Premium and Recovery Steering Group 

This Steering Group guides the work of both the Pupil Premium Leaders’ Group and the P4C Leaders’ Group.

Last term, Bernie Pearce, PP Consultant, visited each setting to review the implementation of strategies and outcomes so far.  The summary report outlines the good progress made by all settings and identified next steps.  Leaders from Alsagers Bank and Oaklands will join this group this year.

The leaders of our Philosophy for Children (P4C) group met with Neil Phillipson (P4C Consultant) again. The focus was on the impact of the skills building work done; ensuring that there is progression in the development of skills in all P4C areas. It was agreed for the current class teacher to use the assessment tool and to plan for the first half-term this term for the next teacher.

Areas for further training and support were identified and Neil will visit each setting’s leader to plan the next steps. The group also looked at coaching partnerships and supporting EAL children, which will be further discussed at the next Leaders’ session in October.

The Terms of Reference for each group were revised this term to reflect the updated membership.  Working Party Operational Plans are also being reviewed.

Inclusion and Wellbeing Steering Group 

This Steering Group receives feedback on the work of the Inclusion Leaders’ Group, the Family Support Leaders’ Group and the Wellbeing Group.  All these working groups met again.

Carol Stead updated the group with regard to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of all using materials form the DfE, NHS, Mental Health organisations, colleges, and LA’s. These pathways to access specialist support will be considered further by each working party. In summary, it is very encouraging that Societas is already undertaking a lot of the recommended initiatives.

The Inclusion Leaders’ Group discussed the outcomes of the pupil questionnaires; these will be a focus on interventions over the coming year. Plans are being considered to include questions for Early Years moving forwards. Next steps are for pupils to identify peers to be wellbeing champions, who can support and assist with key roles. SENCOs and pastoral teams will lead on this. Pupil voice and observations will be part of the monitoring process. Challenges of lack of funding for statutory assessments were also considered.

The Family Support Leaders’ Group have created a Family Services Directory; this will be displayed as a paper copy in schools and on each website, enabling easy access to important information including support for anger management, behaviour, emotional wellbeing etc. Next steps are to establish links with the local community Family Support Teams and to consider signposting to family learning programmes.  Strong links will be maintained with EWOs with an ongoing sharing of expertise.

The Wellbeing Group continued their work in raising the profile of staff mental health by signposting staff to relevant support. A mental health & wellbeing directory was completed and a poster circulated. Bespoke mental health training was written for each setting to implement as part of INSET.  The Group is also now considering a Wellbeing Policy for the Trust.

The Terms of Reference for each group were revised this term to reflect the updated membership.  Working Party Operational Plans are also being reviewed.

Developing a Professional Learning Community Steering Group 

This Steering Group oversees the work of the CPD Leaders’ Group and Early Career Leaders’ Group.  

The Trust Workforce Training Plan continued to be kept updated.  Workforce and governor audits were reviewed and the operational plan was developed to agreed objectives.  Next steps are to consider facilitating more statutory online training.

The Early Career Leaders’ group will update the NQT policy to become an Early Careers Teacher (ECT) policy in line with Government guidance. The group has also gone through due diligence to make sure the best options are taken with regard to supporting our early career teachers.

The Terms of Reference for each group were revised this term to reflect the updated membership.  Working Party Operational Plans are also being reviewed.

Curriculum Steering Group 

This Steering Group oversees the work of the EYFS Leaders’ Group and individual subject leaders’ groups. Operational plans are in place.

The EYFS Leaders’ Group focused upon the implications of the new framework; initial training and feedback was shared with EY leads, alongside links to webinars and articles. Ideas have also been introduced and examples of formats for progress shared.

The History Leaders’ Group, led by a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) David Foreshaw from Blackfriars, met to share expertise and to plan the implementation and assessment of the curriculum in each of our settings.  Activities included the review and rationale of long-term plans and short-term schemes of work. Strengths identified included the Intent, Implementation and Impact statements, the development of a cross-curricular approach, and well thought out sequencing of the curriculum in KS2.

Plans are in place to establish an Art Leaders’ Group in the Spring term 2022.

The Terms of Reference for each group were revised this term to reflect the updated membership. Working Party Operational Plans are also being reviewed.

Vacancy for a Director

I will shortly circulate an advert and person specification for a vacancy we currently have on our Directors’ Board.  This will be open to all our governors to apply.

Supporting Governance  

In response to the Skills Audit, a programme of further training events to support governance is planned for this term – details below:

Thursday 4th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – Financial Oversight in MATS – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

Thursday 11th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – Managing Risk, The Governance Role – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

Thursday 18th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – The Effective Governance of SEND – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

To book a place on any of the above, please email governor.training@societastrust.org.uk with your name, setting, role, and the course(s) you wish to sign up for.

I continue to be extremely proud of the work we are doing as a team right across the Trust, in giving all our children the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, and to keep them, their families, and our staff as safe as we can.

My thanks to all our incredible and dedicated staff for making this possible.

With my thanks also for your continued support.

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer

 


Trust News                                                                                                                                  22 September 2021


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you all well and you have had a great summer!

All of our settings have started the new year well with children ready and eager to either start or restart their learning journey with us.

Covid

Whilst there are still a number of positive Covid cases across the Trust, these appear to be predominantly affecting children rather than staff, suggesting that the vaccines are doing their job pretty well, which is encouraging as we approach the colder and darker winter months.  Please find attached our Coronavirus Contingency (Outbreak) Plan – this details where measures may be stepped up on the advice of Public Health should there be an outbreak in any of our settings.

Safeguarding

Please follow this link to the latest Keeping Children Safe in Education document, which all staff and governors are required to be familiar with – KCSIE_2021_September.

Attendance

Attendance so far this term across the Trust is 95.6%.

New Member

I am delighted to announce that we welcomed a new member to our Trust on the 1 September 2021 – Alsagers Bank Primary Academy.  The school was previously known as The Richard Heathcote Community Primary School.  I am certain you would all wish to join me in welcoming the children, staff, governors and community to our family and in wishing them all every success for their future working together as part of the Trust.

Vacancy for a Director

I will shortly circulate an advert and person specification for a vacancy we currently have on our Directors’ Board.  This will be open to all our governors to apply.

Mental Health Training

All of our settings will be rolling out our bespoke Mental Health training for staff this term as part of Staff INSET; a few commenced this process as part of the INSET at the beginning of term.  Below is some feedback from the staff:

  • ‘That’s really made me think, I know I can lose sight of when stress is getting the better of me.’ 
  • ‘I went home and put the poster, [NHS five ways to a healthy mind], on the fridge. My son who struggles a little saw it and took it away to put it in his room. It really resonated with him.’ 
  • ‘It was such a lovely way to start the New Year. It really made me reflect how stress can impact on how we behave/ interact with others.’ 
  • ‘As colleagues we should be more aware that we never really know what anxieties people bring to work and remember that.’

My thanks to our Wellbeing Group and to Carol Stead in particular for putting together this fantastic training and resources for the benefit of all.  Please follow this link to a booklet on ‘How to Look After Your Mental Health’, which forms part of the training – How-to-look-after-your-mental-health-booklet.

Condition Improvement Fund (CIF)

As you know, the bid for CIF funding to make much needed safeguarding improvements to the entrance at Goldenhill Primary Academy was successful bringing approximately £155,000 of additional funding into the Trust.  The project is progressing well and is on track for completion before half term.

Over the last three financial years, we have now secured over a million pounds in additional funding through our successful CIF bids to improve each of our settings.

I am still waiting to hear the outcome for the appeal for Ash Green’s CIF bid to improve the security of the perimeter fencing and vehicular and pedestrian access on the site.

We will be submitting further bids for the next round of CIF so please watch this space.

Supporting Governance  

In response to the Skills Audit, a programme of further training events to support governance is planned for this term – details below:

Friday 24th September – 9:00 to 16:00 – Safer Recruitment Training – Venue The Potters’ Club – Provider Stoke HR – Details

Thursday 4th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – Financial Oversight in MATS – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

Thursday 11th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – Managing Risk, The Governance Role – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

Thursday 18th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – The Effective Governance of SEND – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

To book a place on any of the above, please email governor.training@societastrust.org.uk with your name, setting, role, and the course(s) you wish to sign up for.

I continue to be extremely proud of the work we are doing as a team right across the Trust, in giving all our children the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, and to keep them, their families, and our staff as safe as we can.

My thanks to all our incredible and dedicated staff for making this possible.

With my thanks also for your continued support.

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer

 


Welcome Message to Everyone at Alsagers Bank Primary Academy                  1 September 2021


Dear Colleagues,

I hope you all had a fantastic summer and it is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to The Societas Trust.

The partnership began approximately 10 years ago as a working partnership between a number of schools and the formation of the Trust was a natural progression in 2016. Our model at the time was ground breaking as it was fundamental there was no lead school heading the Trust. We firmly believe this “association of like-minded people bound by a common purpose, this “platoon of idealistic people”, is at the heart of successful school systems and is the very foundation stone of The Societas Trust. All settings work collaboratively, not competitively, each setting retains its own senior leadership team and business manager and retains its own local governing board.

The Trust is now made up of six primary academies and one nursery school and we are all committed to the shared vision of collaboration and values. Our Trust moto is “Great learning opportunities for all” and this is something that we are all passionate about. The Societas Vision is to create a sustainable, professional community, where all learners are valued and encouraged to achieve their potential, and all individuals are respected.

Whilst it is crucial for us to support the development of the unique identity of each academy in the Trust, we also believe that by developing and promoting innovative and creative approaches to learning and teaching across the trust, we will ensure that our children have the very best opportunities to excel academically and develop socially.

We believe that children learn best and thrive in environments that promote and foster self-belief, the love of learning, and high expectations of themselves and others.

Our proven track record of working together over the last 10 years has resulted in a number of successes (the list is not exhaustive):

  • All founding primary academy settings now rated good or better by Ofsted;
  • Rapid and sustained improvement of all settings;
  • One setting accelerated out of Special Measures to be rated as a Good school by Ofsted;
  • Strengthened leadership across all levels;
  • External moderation of standards resulting in accurate use of assessment data;
  • Curriculum development resulting in each setting having a whole school curriculum that is well matched to the needs of the community it serves;
  • Successful induction of newly qualified teachers;
  • Support for staff new or in the early stages of their role;
  • Quality assurance of teaching and learning;
  • Mutual respect and a willingness for each of us to learn from one another;
  • A willingness to make decisions that will benefit all rather than any individual school exclusively;
  • Shared vision, ethos and values.

I know a number of you have already experienced the benefits from collaborating with your colleagues from across the Trust.

The last 18 months saw unprecedented challenges for us all, but together we faced these challenges and achieved many fantastic outcomes across all settings.

As we look forward, hopefully the relaxation of restrictions will continue allowing us to re-introduce whole Trust events where the children can come together as one. We have participated in some fantastic events over the years and it is delightful to see the children enjoying spending their time with each other.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the process to firstly convert the school to an academy and secondly to complete the formalities of joining The Societas Trust, I know this has been a complicated process and to bring it to a successful conclusion for the start of the new academic year is fantastic.

Once again, on behalf of all of the Trust, welcome on board and we all look forward to getting to know you and work with you over the many years ahead.

Yours sincerely,

Guy Weir

Chair

The Societas Trust

 


THANK YOU Message to Stakeholders                                                                            15 July 2021


Dear Colleagues,

As another academic year draws to a close, on behalf of The Societas Trust Directors’ Board, I would like to thank you all once again for your incredible hard work and commitment to our settings and the Trust as a whole.

We are all aware of the challenges of the pandemic over the last 18 months but together you have embraced these and continued to support the children and provide the high quality of great learning opportunities for all.

Over the last academic year, average attendance across the Trust was around 96% which is incredible when you reflect on the difficulties of the last 12 months. Remote education continued for those forced to self-isolate.

Hopefully the recent Government announcement will allow us all to return to a normal way of life over the next couple of months. I have no doubt we will all face further challenges but I know that as organisation we are well placed to overcome these.

The Executive Team have continued their fantastic work, including continually reviewing and adopting new practices as guidance evolves. Plans are now in place for all settings to adopt the new operational guidance issued by the DfE for when we re-open in September, alongside contingency ‘outbreak’ plans for each setting should there be a need to step up any safety measures.

Another important focus for the Trust is the mental health and wellbeing of all our stakeholders, including the children, their families, and staff. The four steering groups linked to our Strategic Development Plan (Pupil Premium and Recovery, Inclusion and Wellbeing, Developing a Professional Learning Community and Curriculum) and their sub-groups have continued to meet virtually across all settings to review and adopt best practice and access bespoke advice and support where necessary. These groups have been instrumental in implementing a number of initiatives, including mental health training, wellbeing surveys, early help pathways, CPD training, curriculum operational plans, external reviews of pupil premium strategies and of course the continuing Philosophy for Children (P4C) practice.  Termly Academy Performance Reviews (APRs) of all our settings have also continued.

During National Sports Week, all children across the Trust were able to enjoy participating in The Societas Olympics, this was a great success and we are thankful to one of our local Olympians, Adam Burgess, for taking the time to provide an inspirational video.

Hopefully, during the next academic year we will be able to re-introduce whole Trust events where the children can come together as one once again.

Plans for the biennial Societas Trust Conference on 8th April 2022 at Keele Hall are now well underway. The focus of the conference is “Wellbeing and More” and we have secured a number of excellent guest speakers for the day.

Finally, I take this opportunity to wish and you and your families well and hope you all have an enjoyable, relaxing summer break and a well-deserved rest.

Best wishes,

Guy Weir

Chair

The Societas Trust


Statement to Stakeholders                                                                                                   9 July 2021


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you well.

Things continue to progress well across the Trust.  Average attendance so far this academic year is still around 96%.  As of today, there are 5 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across all of our settings necessitating the closure of 4 bubbles.  Children forced to self isolate are also receiving remote education.

I have just met with the Executive Board and the decision has been made to retain all safety measures currently in place to the end of this term, regardless of when Step 4 of the National Road-map comes into effect.  New operational guidance has been issued by the DfE (Schools_guidance_Step_4_update) which all settings will adopt in September assuming that Step 4 goes ahead as planned on 19th July.

Below is a report to Directors on the work of the Executive Board and Working Groups this half term:

Executive Board

The Executive Team continued to meet regularly, the focus being on supporting the children and staff across our settings, during the ever-changing national restrictions and expectations due to the pandemic.  We also discussed the increase in the number of safeguarding concerns in recent months, the reintroduction of the full curriculum in our settings and the resumption of Ofsted Inspections.

The Education Development Plan and the business of the working parties was reviewed and actions agreed.

The Academy Performance Review (APR) process this term focused on a Deep Dive into reading. Sarah Preston also looked at the context of each setting and the progress made since the Spring Term APR.  The APR reports outline her findings; they refer to the strong subject and senior leadership across our settings. The process allowed for quality assurance of leaders judgements, challenge and support with developmental suggestions made.

MAT to MAT collaboration continued with the triads meeting again this term.  The opportunity for us to share outcomes, impact and review the process has been deferred to the autumn term. The work on strategic peer-supported development continues to be facilitated by Paul Sheehan from Worcester University.

Preparations for the conference continue.  It will be held at Keele Hall on 8th April 2022 with a focus on ‘Wellbeing and More.’ The guest speakers are: Mary Myatt, Shonette Bason, Julie Leoni, Daisy Christodoulou/or Di Swift and Jason Bangbala.

The Executive Board received another update from Carol Stead, Compliance and Finance Manager, regarding the work of the Academy Business Managers’ Group and Internal Audit Process (including recommendations). Forthcoming ABM Group meeting agendas were also discussed and agreed.

The Executive Board continued the cycle of policy reviews in order to keep up to date with latest legislation and guidance.  Sarah Preston updated the Executive this term on the expectations of a Section 8 Inspection.

Strategic Development Plan Update 

Pupil Premium and Recovery Steering Group 

This Steering Group guides the work of both the Pupil Premium Leaders’ Group and the P4C Leaders’ Group; both these working groups have met this half term.

Bernie Pearce from Blackfriars Teaching School visited each setting this term as part of our work on Pupil Premium Strategies.  This was an opportunity to review the implementation of our strategies and for her to offer bespoke advice and support to further enhance practice. Pupil Premium reports for each setting are available.

The leaders of our Philosophy for Children (P4C) group met with Neil Phillipson (P4C Consultant) again this half term.  The focus continued on planning for skills progression in P4C and on how to embed P4C in other areas of the curriculum. Dates are being planned for Neil to visit individual settings in the autumn term to offer bespoke advice and support.

Inclusion and Wellbeing Steering Group 

This Steering Group receives feedback on the work of the Inclusion Leaders’ Group, the Family Support Leaders’ Group and the Wellbeing Group.  All these working groups met again.

The Inclusion Leaders’ Group arranged for each setting to implement the pupil’s Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) questionnaire.  This will allow for identification of children requiring support. A mental health week also took place on 10th May. Results of the Trust wide children’s wellbeing survey are currently being collated and analysed; this will then be shared with senior leaders at both setting and trust level.

The Family Support Leaders’ Group reviewed their operational plan.  Work this term focused on Early Help Pathways and Mental Health First Aid. They have produced an ‘Early Help Pathway’ (including poster) that outlines the process for a quick referral, the ‘Early Help Directory for Parents and Carers’, giving parents swift and easy access to helplines that can assist them with behaviour, anger management, emotional wellbeing etc.  Both are useful resources that will guide and support both staff and parents/carers. Once again the Education Welfare Service were in attendance to give advice; attendance is now mandatory however it was recommended that fines are not issued to parents for unauthorised absence.

The Wellbeing Group continued their work in raising the profile of staff mental health by signposting staff to relevant support. All wellbeing leaders met this term to plan the Mental Health Training for each setting in the autumn term; this might take the form of a full Inset day or half days.  A follow up staff wellbeing survey has also now been sent out to all staff to help measure progress since the last survey in the autumn; this survey will close on Friday 16th July; results will then be analysed in September and reported accordingly.

Developing a Professional Learning Community Steering Group 

This Steering Group oversees the work of the CPD Leaders’ Group and Early Career Leaders’ Group.  Both these working groups have met this term and will meet again in September.

Training as indicated in the Trust Workforce Training Plan took place.  This included Governor training and positive feedback was received.

Planning for the Leading to Learn Cohort 1 update and Cohort 2 with David Alston was undertaken.  This is scheduled for the Autumn Term.

The Early Career Leaders’ Group will meet again in the autumn term. The focus will continue to be on the new Early Careers Framework and other career pathways. In the Framework, Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) and Recently Qualified Teachers (RQTs) will be replaced by Early Career Teachers (ECTs) from September 2021. Painsley Teaching School (“Golden Threads”) is our preferred ECT provider from September 2021; settings were asked to sign up to their package of support.

Curriculum Steering Group 

This Steering Group oversees the work of the EYFS Leaders’ Group and individual subject leaders’ groups. Operational plans are in place.

CPD for the History Leaders was led by David Forshaw from Blackfriar’s Teaching School and facilitated by Lorna Pateman, DHT from Ellison. There will be a focus on art in the autumn term and RE in Spring 2022. It was also agreed that maths catch-up sessions would be held in the autumn term.

The EYFS Leaders’ Group again focused this half term on the EYFS reforms in order to keep up to date with developments and the expectations of the new curriculum and assessment requirements. It is agreed that plans would be shared at the next session.

Some other updates:

Societas Olympics 2021 

To celebrate The Olympic Games 2021, during National Sports Week, all children across all settings participated in The Societas Olympics. This was an opportunity for children across the Trust to join in a celebratory event, after what has been a very challenging year. The shared project was led by PE Leaders from each setting, with the Deputy Headteachers’ group having oversight of the project.

The event was a smashing success and enjoyed by all.  Children were also treated to an inspirational video from one of our Olympians, Adam Burgess, who will be representing the Nation in Tokyo in the canoeing slalom event – we all wish him every success!

Highlights of the event will be formed into a memorable Societas video to be shared across all settings and webpages.

My thanks to all the staff who have worked extremely hard to make this event possible; Callum Hulme and Alex Lambert in particular for co-ordinating the event.

Condition Improvement Fund (CIF)

I am delighted to report that the bid for CIF funding to make much needed safeguarding improvements to the entrance and reception area at Goldenhill Primary Academy has been successful. This will bring approximately £155,000 of additional funding into the Trust so this project can go ahead over the summer break – the total cost of the project is approximately £185,000.  My congratulations to the school on this successful outcome.

Supporting Governance  

In response to the Skills Audit, a programme of further training events to support governance is planned for the autumn term 2021 – details below:

Wednesday 15th September – 10:00 to 13:00 – Head Teacher Appraisal Training – Venue The Potters’ Club – Provider Stoke HR – Details

Friday 24th September – 9:00 to 16:00 – Safer Recruitment Training – Venue The Potters’ Club – Provider Stoke HR – Details

Thursday 4th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – Financial Oversight in MATS – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

Thursday 11th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – Managing Risk, The Governance Role – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

Thursday 18th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – The Effective Governance of SEND – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

To book a place on any of the above, please email governor.training@societastrust.org.uk with your name, setting, role, and the course(s) you wish to sign up for.

I continue to be extremely proud of the work we are doing as a team right across the Trust to continue to give all our children the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, and to keep them, their families, and our staff as safe as we can.

My thanks to all our incredible and dedicated staff for making this possible.

With my thanks also for your continued support.

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer


 

Statement to Stakeholders                                                                                                   19 June 2021


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you well.

Things continue to progress well across the Trust this term.  Average attendance so far this academic year is still at 96%.  As of yesterday, there were no reported cases of Covid-19 infections at any of our settings.

Some exciting events/news to share with you all:

Societas Olympics 2021 

To celebrate The Olympic Games 2021, during National Sports Week next week, all children across all settings will participate in The Societas Olympics. This will be an opportunity for children across the Trust to join in a celebratory event, after what has been a very challenging year. The shared project is being led by PE Leaders from each setting, with the Deputy Headteachers’ group having oversight of the project.

Children from Nursery to Year 6 will be placed into five groups, based upon the colours of the Olympic rings, and will participate in five different sporting events including running, jumping, throwing, distance and relay events. PE leaders across the settings, with the help of sports leaders, will create ‘how to’ videos. These will be available for all children to watch, ensuring consistency of events across the MAT and progression of skills and expectation through the different ages. The videos will also allow children to ‘meet’ other children and teachers across all settings.

The focus of the Olympics is ‘excellence, respect and friendship’ which will be promoted throughout the event. All children will have the opportunity to participate and they will be awarded a participation certificate. Each class will have a winning team and an individual class winner to celebrate; there will be an overall team colour who will win across the MAT. This system will ensure that no one setting will become overall winners. I have also create an opening video to introduce the games and will announce the winning team in a closing video.

Although there are many shared aspects to the event, it has been organised to ensure each setting has an element of choice. For example: choice whether to run the event during one day or over the full week (depending upon their setting and facilities); choice to use the shared event as their annual sports day; choice of organising their own opening and closing ceremony; and choice of expanding the week to include other subject areas and learning – for example, a study of different countries or cultures from around the world.

We are all looking forward to an enjoyable week the highlights of which will be formed into a memorable Societas video to be shared across all settings and webpages.

My thanks to all the staff who have worked extremely hard to make this event possible; Callum Hulme and Alex Lambert in particular for co-ordinating the event.

Opportunity Area – Behaviour and Attendance Project  

Last week the Opportunity Area – Behaviour & Attendance Project was approached by delivery leads from the Opportunity Area (OA), offering the chance for schools that have been part of the project and have set up in house nurture hubs to attend an inclusion workshop with fellow head teachers and the OA project leads from Norwich.

The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the development of a city-wide plan for increasing in-house AP provision and how best to use OA inclusion funding to support this in the coming years in Norwich. The Opportunity Area and head teachers in Norwich were keen to look at examples of best practice elsewhere in the country and it gave our schools the opportunity to showcases how funding from the OA has been used to set up and support in house nurture provision and is helping to embed the importance of nurture practice across the city.

One of our primary schools, Gladstone Primary Academy, alongside Burnwood Primary School, were given the opportunity to showcase and advocate their incredible in house nurture hubs.

Feedback from the event was very positive. The Head of Delivery at Norwich OA, praised how both presentations from the schools were excellent and went down very well and how this has helped to generate new interest from a number of schools to work with Norwich OA to develop their in-house provision.

Here’s what Gladstone Primary Academy had to say about their experience,

‘It was great to be involved in the event, not only to ‘fly the flag’ for Stoke-on-Trent and share the good practice that is in place at Gladstone, but also to share the news of how nurture is being developed in settings across the city.’

Supporting Governance  

In response to the Skills Audit, a programme of further training events to support governance is planned for the autumn term 2021 – details below:

Wednesday 15th September – 10:00 to 13:00 – Head Teacher Appraisal Training – Venue The Potters’ Club – Provider Stoke HR – Details

Friday 24th September – 9:00 to 16:30 – Safer Recruitment Training – Venue The Potters’ Club – Provider Stoke HR – Details

Thursday 4th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – Financial Oversight in MATS – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

Thursday 11th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – Managing Risk, The Governance Role – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

Thursday 18th November – 16:00 to 18:00 – The Effective Governance of SEND – via TEAMS – Provider NGA – Details

To book a place on any of the above, please email governor.training@societastrust.org.uk with your name, setting, role, and the course(s) you wish to sign up for.

I continue to be extremely proud of the work we are doing as a team right across the Trust to continue to give all our children the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, and to keep them, their families, and our staff as safe and as well as we can.

My thanks to all our incredible staff for making this possible.

With my thanks also for your continued support.

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer

 


Statement to Stakeholders                                                                                                   28 May 2021


Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you well.

Things continue to progress well across the Trust.  Average attendance so far this term is still around 96%.  There are currently no reported cases of Covid-19 infections at any of our settings.

Below is a report on the activities of the Executive Team, Steering Groups and Working Parties this half term:

Executive Team

The Executive Team continued to meet regularly; the focus on supporting the children and staff across our settings, during the ever-changing national restrictions and expectations due to the pandemic, continued. Updated policies, procedures and risk assessments ensured a smooth transition for the children upon return on 8th March.

The Strategic Development Plan including the work of the Steering Groups and Working Parties are being kept up to date.

The Academy Performance Review (APR) process has continued with the settings being recognised by Sarah Preston for their preparations and the quality of the information shared.  The APR Reports outline her findings; they refer to some brilliant teaching and learning in our settings. We are grateful also to Sarah for the wealth of ideas and suggestions that she always shares at the sessions. MAT to MAT collaboration continued with the triads meeting again this term.  We will share outcomes, impact and review the process on 2nd July. The work on strategic peer-supported development continues to be facilitated by Paul Sheehan from Worcester University.

Preparations for the conference continue. It will be held at Keele Hall on 8th April 2022 with a focus on ‘Wellbeing and More.’ The guest speakers are: Mary Myatt, Shonette Bason, Julie Leoni, Daisy Christodoulou and Jason Bangbala.

The Executive Board receives regular updates regarding the work of the Academy Business Managers’ Group and Internal and External Audit Processes (including recommendations) from Carol Stead, our Compliance and Finance Manager. Forthcoming ABM Group meeting agendas are routinely discussed and agreed.

The Executive Board continues to keep policies under review and up to date with latest legislation and guidance.

Pupil Premium and Recovery Steering Group 

This Steering Group guides the work of both the Pupil Premium Leaders’ Group and the P4C Leaders’ Group; both these working groups have met this half term.

The third session for the Pupil Premium Leaders, working with Bernie Pearce from Blackfriars Teaching School, focused on Targeted Support. We looked at the EEF toolkit and the implementation process. It was noted that, by carefully focusing on what needs to be rigidly adhered to and where there can be flexibility of implementation, we can often ensure the greatest success.  Future sessions this academic year will be in each setting with a focus on review implementation of the strategies and offering support to enhance practice where possible.

The leaders of our Philosophy for Children (P4C) group met with Neil Phillipson (P4C Consultant) again this half term.  The focus was on planning for skills progression in P4C and on how principles of metacognition in Thinking Moves can enhance practice.  Each setting has updated their action plans in line with SAPERE silver criteria with a view to some settings achieving this by July 2022.  Additional Level 1 training also took place this term thus ensuring all teachers are well trained in the delivery of P4C within their classes; teachers from Richard Heathcote Community Primary School also joined.

Inclusion and Wellbeing Steering Group 

This Steering Group receives feedback on the work of the Inclusion Leaders’ Group, the Family Support Leaders’ Group and the Wellbeing Group.  All these working groups met again.

The Inclusion Leaders’ Group discussed and updated the Operational Plan, which outlines the strategic aims, actions and success criteria for the group moving forward.  Other areas for discussion included: possible identification tools for Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) and a pupil questionnaire to identify SEMH children in order to allow staff to allocate support appropriately. A mental health week was held across all settings the week beginning 10th May.

The Family Support Leaders’ Group focused their session this half term on Early Help Pathways and Mental Health First Aid. They discussed ways of allocating support appropriately for vulnerable children and families. Guidance and strategies for supporting good school attendance was also discussed; the Education Welfare service were in attendance to give advice.

The Wellbeing Group continues their work in raising the profile of staff mental health by signposting staff to relevant support. A fantastic poster has been created by a member of staff from Gladstone Primary; it is to be displayed in all settings, outlining the support groups available to staff to support wellbeing. This half term, leaders received mental health training and further training is being planned for all staff in the future. The staff wellbeing survey is due to be repeated in the second half of the summer term. Further discussions are also to take place at the Executive in order to plan the roll out of the Wellbeing Day for all staff next academic year.

Developing a Professional Learning Community Steering Group 

This Steering Group oversees the work of the CPD Leaders’ Group and Early Career Leaders’ Group.  Both these working groups have met this half term.

The Trust Workforce Training Plan was reviewed by the CPD Group. In addition to the items already on the plan, the group considered other areas of training including: Maths Catch Up and Managing Actual and Potential Aggression (MAPA).

The Early Career Leaders’ Group met this half term. The focus of the discussions was on the new Early Careers Framework. In the Framework, Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) and Recently Qualified Teachers (RQTs) will be replaced by Early Career Teachers (ECTs) from September 2021. Support pathways are being devised currently by various providers and ECTs and their mentors will be able to access DfE fully funded support and training. Painsley Teaching School (Golden Threads) will be our preferred ECT provider from September 2021; settings were asked to sign up to their package of support.

Curriculum Steering Group 

This Steering Group oversees the work of the EYFS Leaders’ Group and individual subject leaders’ groups. Operational plans are in place.

This half term, class teachers from each year group had the opportunity to attend a Catch Up Reading session with Sarah Preston and Janine Oakley from Ellison Primary. The focus was on aligning learning expectations for each year group across the trust and on supporting the identification of priority next steps in each year group that will help to get children back on track in reading.

Switch on Reading training for TAs, led by Glenys Gill, was held this term.  Funding from the Stoke on Trent Opportunities Area was given to support this important initiative.  A CPD session was led by a member of staff from Goldenhill in the use of the Shine resources to support Catch Up.

The EYFS Leaders’ Group again focused this half term on the EYFS reforms. Discussions focused on the expectations of the new curriculum and on assessment. There is much uncertainty in this area currently however the group will continue to meet half-termly to keep up to date with developments.

A History Leaders’ group is due to be established and will begin work later in the Summer Term.

The governor training events (in association with SouthStar Education and Training) held so far this term have been very well attended; below are the details of one other such event taking place this term:

The Link Governor role within The Societas Trust: Date: Thursday 17th June 2021   5.00 pm – 6.30 pm plus time for Q and A  

This will cover:

  • how to carry out a purposeful visit within a Societas setting
  • strategic/operational boundaries,
  • the role of independent research and governor CPD,
  • any national expectations of link governor roles;
  • how link governors can contribute to the overall effectiveness of the governing board and
  • how link roles can both support and challenge
  • some suggested templates for reporting and offer some suggestions for new ways of working.

To book your place on the course listed above please email southstar@gladstoneprimary.org.uk with:

Your name, the course you wish to book, your governing role (i.e. chair, link governor etc.) and your setting’s name.

The session will be led by Fiona Stagg, National Leader of Governance; more details of her work can be found at http://www.sbwgovernance.co.uk/

Lots of other events are planned this term – for details, please visit the Trust’s website and go to Calendar of Events.

I continue to be extremely proud of the work we are doing as a team right across the Trust to continue to give all our children the best possible opportunity to learn and to thrive, and to keep them, their families, and our staff as safe and as well as we can.

Wishing you all and all our incredible staff a very well deserved rest over half term break.

With my very best wishes,

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer