Welcome to our first Governors’ Newsletter – January 2019 

Please read on…


Trust Board Appointments

The following appointments were confirmed at the AGM on 13 December 2018:

Chair of the Trust Board – Guy Weir

Vice Chair of the Trust Board – Will Griffin

The term of office for both positions is one year.


Trust Board Resignations

The following resignations were confirmed at the AGM on 13 December 2018:

Graeme Easdown (Member) – Graeme is one of our founding members and has been with the Trust since the beginning.  He also served as Trust Board Chair from September 2015 to August 2018.

Jill Fury (Director) – Jill joined the Trust Board when the Trust was incorporated in February 2016 and also served as Education Director until August 2017.

I’m certain you would wish to join me in thanking them both for their dedicated service to the Trust and in wishing them a very long and happy retirement.


Achievements during 2017/2018

(List not exhaustive)

For Teaching and Learning:-

  • Pupil outcomes at all five academies for combined reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2 continue to improve year on year;
  • Staff from Nursery to Year 6 have had opportunities to share assessment and other practices supported by experts in their field;
  • Judgments have been standardised and moderated to ensure consistency;
  • A Nursery and Reception Baseline has been trialled and evaluated;
  • Expectations in reading, writing and maths for all year groups have been agreed;
  • A method of tracking progress and attainment across all academies is in operation;
  • Home School Link Workers / Learning Mentors / SENCOs continue to share good practice in how to best support our most vulnerable pupils;
  • A framework has been implemented that outlines the entitlement for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Societas academies;
  • Subject and other leaders have had opportunity to share best practice, work together on key priorities and develop their leadership skills;
  • Working closely with colleagues from Worcester University, senior leaders have continued to explore how best to develop and implement Peer to Peer support to enhance leadership at all levels, including pupils;
  • The termly Academy Performance Review has been embedded within the culture and more closely aligned to the Ofsted framework.

 For Leaders:-

  • A conference celebrating collaboration was held in September 2017, which was attended by all staff from across the Trust;
  • A Professional Learning and Development Framework, to guide each academy in best practice relating to developing staff at all levels, has been implemented, which also encourages professional development opportunities to support relevant career progression;
  • The Trust continues to work towards setting up a Societas Teaching School Alliance, in order to develop the next generation of teachers to serve our communities and beyond;
  • The Trust continues to be a hub for Initial Teacher Education working closely with the local SCITT and School Direct;
  • A number of working groups and networks to share best practice continue to meet regularly, complemented by bringing in experts and other key strategic partners (including the Keele and North Staffordshire Teacher Education (KNSTE) and Worcester University);
  • Each academy has a Lead Teacher Educator acting as a beacon and disseminator of best practice, who has also participated on a ‘Reflecting on Practice’ Masters module with Keele University;
  • The Trust’s Developing a Professional Community (DPC) Steering Group continue to meet and develop policy to support leadership development at all levels;
  • An induction policy and programme for Newly Qualified Teachers has been developed;
  • The Chairs’ Group, led by the CEO, has been established and meets regularly to develop training initiatives to improve governance;
  • A Wellbeing Steering Group has been established to develop and monitor strategies to support the mental health and wellbeing of staff.

 For Pupil Voice and Curriculum Enrichment:-

  • The MAT Student Council, the Really Useful Generation Students Group (RUGS), whose job it is to “inspire and develop exciting strategies for high quality learning across the MAT”, continues to meet under the guidance of the CEO;
  • Opportunities for children to collaborate and work together continue: e.g. the Shakespeare Project, the Ceramics Project; World Cup etc.;
  • Collaboration of senior leaders continues with colleagues from Worcester University to develop pupils’ voice, resilience and leadership across the MAT (e.g. the RUGS);
  • Children from across all five academies were involved in a professional performance of Hamlet at the New Vic Theatre;
  • Children from across all five academies took part in a World Cup tournament supported by staff from Port Vale Football Club.


Future Pans

The main focus of development over the next three years is to raise standards for all pupils across the trust.  This is to be achieved by:

  • 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. By summer 2019 all settings will meet the SAPERE Bronze criteria (some may choose to submit for the award), by summer 2020 most settings in the trust will meet Silver criteria (some choosing to submit for the award); by 2021 some settings meet Gold criteria (with some choosing to submit for the award).
  • All settings participating fully in the Sandwell project that aims to support and improve the mental health and wellbeing of all stakeholders by developing teaching and learning practices that promote resilience, support social and emotional learning, and cultivate a love of learning among the whole school community; all settings to achieve the charter mark within three years.
  • Extending the capacity (skills and ability) of leaders so that by summer 2021 they all have the drive and ambition necessary to fulfil their role, 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 initiative, through participating in peer-to-peer, coaching and mentoring, and collaborative governance training.
  • 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 of great learning. This is to be achieved, in part, through the Shakespeare, Music, PE and Ceramic Projects and the work of the Really Useful Generation of Students (RUGS).


Events in 2019

There are two main events in 2019 to which directors and governors are invited:

12 February (19:00) – Younger Voices at the Manchester Arena – the Societas Choir, involving children from across the Trust, will be performing at this event.

15 March (14:00) – Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ at the New Vic Theatre – children from across the Trust will be performing their own version of the play.

For further details about either event and to obtain tickets, please contact your academy.


Leadership Audit

If you have not already done so, would you please complete the governance leadership audit and return it by 11 January 2019 at the latest, either by post or by email, to Carol Stead at the Hub Office.  For a copy of the audit please follow the link below:

Governance Leadership Skills and Knowledge Audit 2018


Governor Training Opportunities

One of our Education Improvement Partners, Julie Ash, will be providing governors with bespoke training on each academy’s performance data for 2018 on the following:

22 January – Gladstone Primary Academy at 16:30

29 January – Summerbank Primary Academy at 13:15

4 February – Ash Green Primary Academy at 16:30

5 February – Ellison Primary Academy at 16:30

7 February – Goldenhill Primary Academy at 17:30

There will be other training opportunities for governors during 2019, so please watch this space.


May I thank you all for your continued support of the Trust and its academies and wish you all a very Happy New Year!


Best wishes

Jon Lovatt

Chief Executive Officer