Annual report 2020: CEO's review of the year

The Trust’s Key Improvement Priorities identified for 2019-20 were:
  • To ensure a clear and coherent rationale for curriculum design is shared across the schools and fully understood by all
  • Curriculum leaders show understanding of important concepts related to curriculum design, such as knowledge progression and sequencing of concepts
  • Curriculum coverage allows all pupils to access the content and make progress through the curriculum
  • Enable highly effective teaching within core curriculum approaches
  • Prioritisation of reading to allow pupils to access the full curriculum offer
  • Prioritisation of mathematical fluency and confidence in numeracy as preconditions of success

Progress with Curriculum Development

Mary Myatt

We launched the year with an inspiring Inset day led by Mary Myatt, exploring ambition in curriculum intent and implementation.


We reviewed our progress with curriculum design and audited the curriculum models followed by schools maintaining and securing outstanding judgements against the new Ofsted framework. This research led us to Cornerstones, whose imaginative inquiry projects and spiral curriculum featured as a consistent thread in the curriculum offered by the highly successful schools we reviewed.

Adoption of Cornerstones from January 2020 has enabled us to design and manage a coherent, bespoke school curriculum. The establishment of a Curriculum Work Group in the summer term has been pivotal in driving the effective arrangement of our curriculum content into a range of exciting themes and projects, making strategic decisions about what is covered, how and in how much depth – to achieve both breadth and balance. These choices and decisions have created our new curriculum structure.

The curriculum map aims to provide:
  • an enriched curriculum that engages children in memorable experiences.
  • an holistic and connected curriculum, ensuring learning contexts are authentic, meaningful and provide opportunities for application of skills, investigation and purposeful play.
  • teachers with a coherently planned curriculum that is sequenced to ensure cumulative knowledge and skills.
  • for children to develop a depth of knowledge which enables them to apply their thinking.
  • that children are able, in the longer term, to remember the content that they have been taught
  • that children have carefully planned opportunities to connect new knowledge with existing knowledge
The Cornerstones Maestro platform allows leaders and teachers to:
Each Cornerstones project is split into 4 stages:

Engage – the ‘hook’ or memorable experiences to launch learning
Develop – the learning of the core skills and knowledge within the project
Innovate – application of new learning to solve problems
Express – Drawing together the learning to share with others

Progress with Core Approaches

Reading and Writing across the curriculum

  • An ambitious literature-based reading programme has been mapped and is used as stimulus and starting points (fiction and poetry) to the topics.
  • Non-fiction reading within the new curriculum is linked to the wider curriculum knowledge.
  • Writing to inform/explain/persuade is planned for – in the form of information texts, non-chronological reports, instructions, explanation texts, persuasive texts – with the expectation that children produce a published outcome (a book, leaflet, ‘Double Page Spread’) that will showcase children’s learning from a topic.


Journalling has been the focus of maths lesson study and teacher research groups. Effective practice is now secured across the schools, with children confidently and successfully explaining their mathematical reasoning.

Maths Meetings have been successfully introduced across the Trust as a key component of maths learning in all year groups from Reception – Year 6. The increase in fluency practise and spaced repetition of shape, time, measure and fractions has resulted in a reduction in the children’s cognitive load during their maths lessons. Children are also being exposed to and consequently using multiple different representations and increased mathematical language, supported by sentence stems.

Teach Handwriting 

A new programme has been introduced to support teacher development and the consistency of the teaching of handwriting. All staff have accessed training (remotely).


The purchase of access to the Read, Write Inc training hub has enabled high quality training and induction for staff, despite coronavirus restrictions


The schools opened throughout lockdown (including holidays and bank holidays) providing outstanding care for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Attendance across all the schools was significantly higher than seen nationally. ‘Bubble School’ saw staff attending school on rotation in teams, whilst those working at home facilitated remote learning for the children staying at home to stay safe.

Remote learning was provided via the Seesaw remote learning platform from the start of lockdown, with a large majority of children engaging in their lessons.

Managing Risk

Detailed risk assessments and Protective Measures training have been undertaken and kept under review, in line with changing government guidance.

The summer term saw a different model of engagement with support services, with ‘Team Around the School’ meetings providing support to Castle Mead and River Mead schools.

2020-21 Priorities

Aim – to get back to business as usual

Risks - Education Outcomes
Children starting school without the usual preparations
Transition into school plan
Increase in persistent absence
Close monitoring of vulnerable group
Missed learning (T4, 5, 6)
Recovery plan for phonics, English, maths
Reintegration of children Y3-6 in September who have not been attending since March
Revision of Protective Measures and SWAN – all classes; Revised Behaviour policy – relentless routines, clear expectations
Resilience of children and communities
‘Bounce back’ – recovery plan
Y1 – necessary to consolidate EYFS outcomes to secure strong foundations for learning
Blended approach to Y1 curriculum with EYFS approach including continuous provision and outdoor learning
Remote learning – business continuity in case of self-isolation of children, staff or bubbles, or in the event of lockdown
Review and further development of online strategy (Seesaw and Google Suite), additional devices, and implementation of CPOMS
Staff training to support highly effective delivery of core approaches
Virtual training hub (website), video analysis of teaching and purchase of RWI training hub
Missed experiences in 2020/21 due to continued disruption to BAU
Provision of local trips, memorable experiences provided online where available, consider lease of 2 x minibus / purchase of VR kit
Increase in exclusion
Blended timetables to support reintegration of children identified as ‘at risk’, plus close monitoring of vulnerable group
Cohort who will struggle to reintegrate and/or those who have had adverse experiences
Thrive site license
Resilience of staff
Maintenance of ‘traditional’ PPA model virtual team meetings, plus staff restrooms prioritised in premises plan
Curriculum development stalled
Curriculum development underway in some aspects. Further work required with computing, DT. Arts Year focus 20/21

Covid Response Priorities 20/21

  • Remote and blended learning strategy – aligning work done remotely closely to the classroom curriculum
  • Maintaining high standards in education through an effective curriculum that addresses identified Covid gaps in learning
  • Catch-up strategy – effective approach/expenditure in closing the gaps
  • Effective SEN, safeguarding, well-being, attendance and behaviour whilst implementing Covid Risk Assessments

All with a particular focus on the needs of disadvantaged pupils.

Curriculum Priorities 20/21

  • Leaders at all levels, including governors, regularly review and quality assure curriculum implementation 
  • Leaders ensure that ongoing professional development/training is available for staff to ensure that curriculum requirements can be met
  • Leaders enable curriculum expertise to develop across and between the schools
  • There is a model of curriculum progression for every subject, ensuring sufficient depth and coverage of knowledge in each subjects 
  • Curriculum mapping ensures sufficient coverage across the subject over time
  • There is no mismatch between the planned and the delivered curriculum


  • Assessment is designed thoughtfully to shape future learning. Assessment is not excessive or onerous
  • Assessments are reliable. Teachers ensure systems to check reliability of assessments in subjects are fully understood by staff