Statements from the CEO


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