Chulmleigh Academy Trust

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The Chair and 2017

Being the Chair of a Multi-Academy Trust and my personal focus for 2017.

Looking forward to 2017

Happy New Year to All

Every academic year, at the first meeting of the Board of Directors, the Chair is elected by the Board. I was again voted in as Chair for 2016/2017. As Chair I am working with in and supporting the vision, values, priorities, policies and strategies of the Trust. Every year I confirm, with the Board, three aspects in which I should be judged for the level of impact I can make in my role as Chair. This year the three aspects I highlighted are Standards, The 2 to 16 Learning Journey ( the expertise that exists at each stage and phase), and The Trust’s Business Improvement

Standards – This is a recurrent priority for me and has themed through my years a Chair. As highlighted in previous blog entries I am person committed to the Personal and Social Development of all pupils. This is manifested through my high expectations about standards of achievement in all aspects of learning and behaviours. In 2017 this continues to be a focus for me and will underpin my responsibility for challenge, support and monitoring. I aim to continue to know our schools well and will continue to meet regularly with Mike, as Executive Headteacher, and other school leaders, attend all (if possible) planned Board, Committee and Task Group meetings, and visit our schools where my engagement on the aspects of standards will be a high priority. I look forward to learning about pupil progress and achievement, individualised learning so all pupils are challenged appropriately, good behaviours for learning, and good outcomes in all aspects of personal and social development.

2 to 16 Learning Journey – As a long-term advocate of life-long learning the years from birth to the end of compulsory education (16), I consider, are a vital foundation for the rest of our lives. Getting this right is of the utmost importance and this is one reason why I am totally committed to the ambitions and approaches of CAT to offer a continuing high quality learning journey from 2 to 16. In the English national approaches to the organisation of schooling there is a long tradition of classifying education in stages, e.g preschool, primary (sometimes infant / junior), secondary, key stages, year groups etc. This can lead to reduced effectiveness due to different leadership styles and approaches, different teaching and learning approaches, different levels of school effectiveness, different ethos and values, and different challenges at points of transitions from one stage to another, and this can have an impact on pupil performance and progress. At CAT I see a real strength in working across all our schools as a unified approach to the learning journey of all children in our care. All the element of the learning journey, pre-school, primary and secondary have a unity and individuality that contribute as a whole to effective and coherent 2 to 16 provision. What I don’t want is any one element of that learning journey to predominate our focus and achievements. I do want to recognise how all the elements, pre-school, foundation, primary and secondary are contributing to pupil outcomes with their specific expertise and understand of how children learn and effective pedagogy. I am, during the year, ensuring all contributions are well-known to me and the Board through school visits and reports at Committee and full Board meetings.

Business -  For many years schools have progressively being seen, especially by Government policy, as businesses and academisation has added to this direction of travel. As Chair, as do the Board and Leadership, we have to govern and lead CAT in business terms and spend time and expertise developing and sustaining our schools as financially viable organisations. A key element of the formula that funds schools is per-pupil allocation. Therefore, pupil numbers do matter and this can be especially challenging for small schools in rural areas, like ours. During the year I will be supporting all efforts to further develop CAT as a multi-academy trust by attracting an increase in pupil numbers, the main strategy being on high standards at all our schools. I, as do the Trust, totally support parental choice and we will continue to market our schools strengths and support parents making and implementing that choice.

I will continue to support the positive impact the CAT approach can have of raising achievement and I will be actively involved with ensuring we form a range of different alliances with other schools that contribute to high standards across our region. The main focus of this will be on offering opportunities for other schools to join our MAT, the further develop Teaching School Alliances and to engage in the educational landscape as a hub of Professional Learning Networks.

I will ensure my expectations are clear for the continuation of an ambitious MAT that makes and takes opportunities for the benefit of children’s education.

Optimism and Ambition

So, 2017 starts with optimism and ambition and a real focus on making a positive difference to pupils, families and communities.