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Uttoxeter Learning Trust

Vision, Values and Strategy

Vision

The Uttoxeter Learning Trust aims to break new ground by creating a MAT based on a small market town and its rural hinterland. As such it is mixed phase and includes several Church of England schools and several small, rural schools. This might be a model replicable in many such communities across the UK.

  • Our aim to incorporate most if not all of the schools in the Uttoxeter area in a phased conversion plan: up to 13 first schools (including 2 federations), the 3 middle schools and the local high school. This will strengthen the viability of some of the small schools.

  • These schools already work closely together as part of the Uttoxeter Learning Partnership, which is a successful business partnership led by a highly effective co-ordinator who is jointly employed by the schools. The partnership has been useful preparation for the MAT, which is the next stage of its evolution.

  • As the performance of most of the schools is strong, we have the capacity to be a sponsoring MAT, initially supporting one school that is currently vulnerable and also bidding for a new free school planned in the area.

Our vision is of a partnership of academies providing the very best education for all of the children and young people in the community we serve. In our partnership:

  • The aspirations and needs of children and young people will be our top priority and at the centre of everything we do.

  • All of our children and young people will be equally and highly valued, no matter which academy they are in: no child will be left behind and no school will be left behind. Everyone will be an achiever. We will be single-minded about getting the very best out of our children and young people so that all of them, individually and collectively, achieve their potential - and even surpass what they expect of themselves.

  • Equally we will get the best out of our staff, investing in the best training and development so that they can succeed and thrive in their work across the MAT.

  • Our academies will work together, taking responsibility for the performance and welfare of all children and young people across the MAT, whichever academy they are in. This means that there will be a seamless transition from one stage to the next, including agreed procedures and assessments, and evidence of performance continuing to improve, both at individual and academy level from nursery to post 16.

  • We will all - teachers, support staff, headteachers, trustees and governors - take responsibility for all of the children and young people in the partnership, ensuring they share all of the opportunities and best practice on offer.

  • We will offer a broad curriculum across the MAT, recognising local needs and employment patterns and also providing a wide range of opportunities to broaden the horizons of the rural community through e.g. creativity, the arts, religious studies and languages.

  • We will work as a collegiate, organising action research into best teaching and learning, innovating and investing in new ideas, sharing them across the partnership and evaluating their effectiveness. We will not look for uniformity of educational practice, but will respect and highlight what works; however we will identify early what is not working and will improve it.

  • We will be outward looking, learning from other academies and MATs and from wider research evidence.

  • For parents and families, we will offer choice and diversity across the MAT so that the best features of individual academies are maintained. This includes small, community based academies. As many of our schools are part of the Church of England Lichfield Diocese, we will develop a close working relationship with diocesan representatives, ensuring that we preserve the distinctive Christian character of these schools.

  • All academies will benefit from coherent organisation and management across the partnership, and from the economies of scale and value for money judged by the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

There will be no better, more successful, higher performing MAT than ours, both in terms of achievements and life choices. We will benchmark our achievements against the best, nationally and internationally, through comparing ourselves with similar educational institutions.

Values

We want our children and young people to be happy, caring, respectful and high achieving individuals. We want them to be confident and eager to learn:

  • We value effort, hard work and positive attitudes. We will nurture resilient learners with positive mindsets, confident to create and to take up the opportunities life offers. We believe that all children and young people are able learners and that intelligence can be increased through effective teaching and learning and encouragement.

  • We value all achievement, both academic and personal, curricular and extra-curricular.

  • We value academic attainment, seeking the highest standards of performance and the greatest individual progress.

  • As a partnership we will create and sustain a welcoming and inclusive educational community, based on the best human, Christian and other religious values, including British values.

  • Our academies will be civilised and safe educational institutions, serving and engaging with their local communities so that our children and young people become good citizens who look after others and respect differences in beliefs, gender, age, sexuality, disability and race.

  • Respect will be mutual between children and young people and academy staff, parents and families and community stakeholders.

  • All academy employees will be professional and caring, treating colleagues and pupils with a generosity of spirit. They will encourage parents to be proud of their children’s achievements and proud of their academy.

Strategy

Short Term: First Year

  • Ours will be a sponsoring MAT, but will initially include only schools currently part of the existing Uttoxeter Learning Partnership. However it will be ready to bid for the proposed, local free school whenever it happens.

  • The MAT will consist of the 11 schools that are ready to be part of the first phase of conversion. These include the 2 existing federations and schools from first, middle and high school phases.

  • We will audit the evidence of current performance to ensure that most schools continue to provide at least a good standard of education so that there is the capacity to support any vulnerable schools.

  • We will expand our work as strategic partners in local Teaching School Alliances to supplement this capacity.

  • We will review and share best educational practice across the MAT and put in place action plans to sustain improvement (and to rectify any underperformance and under achievement).

  • We will review and share the best management and organisational practices, including seeking best value for money through improvements in economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

  • We will ensure that every academy can set a sustainable budget.

  • We will develop good working relationships with the Lichfield Diocese, the Local Authority, the Regional Schools Commissioner team and with other local schools.

Medium Term: 2-3 Years

  • Children and young people at every academy will be making at least expected progress when compared with similar schools and several will be making significantly more progress than expected. All will be judged at least good by Ofsted.

  • We will develop succession planning programmes so that staff can benefit from effective professional development and can work equally effectively in any MAT institution appropriate to their phase (and cross-phase where possible).

  • We will review the effectiveness of small institutions, promoting closer working relationships between academies and joint leadership and management (where appropriate and agreed).

  • We will become an effective self-improving school system, sharing our expertise and successes and developing further our resources and capacity in order to support each other and external educational partners.

Longer term: 3-5 Years

  • When we are secure in our effectiveness as a MAT, and in our resources and capacity to work externally, we will expand the MAT to include academies from outside the Uttoxeter Learning Partnership. However this expansion will be one academy at a time, ensuring success before expanding further.

  • Some of our academies will be performing in the top 10% nationally when compared with similar academies, and some will be judged outstanding. None will be less than good.

Mike Osborne-Town, CEO
May 2016