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Trust Leadership Newsletter

Easter 2021

Since our last Executive Leadership newsletter the whole Trust has yet again embraced new ways of working with enthusiasm, dedication and commitment. Our children across the schools have all accessed high quality remote learning, face to face teaching or a mixture of both. However, it is fantastic to now have all our children back in school. Not only have you all adopted new ways of working but you have all also undertaken twice weekly LFD testing. I know this is not a pleasant activity, but I would like to thank you all for engaging in this with such positivity, and also our admin teams for managing all of our results. It is no mean feat.

Thanks must also go to our housekeeping teams for their continued determination to meet our high standards to ensure covid-safe environments, and to everyone for keeping your focus on hands, space, face, ventilation and endless washing of resources!

Our work focused on school effectiveness has continued this term, resulting in a number of Trust Subject Leads (and indeed whole subject teams!) joining our Executive Leadership Team (ELT) meetings. This dialogue has been key to collaborative strategic planning for subject development and improvement.

We are looking forward to inviting more leaders to join our meetings over the coming months. In addition, school leadership teams have attended Challenge and Support Partner (CASP) visits along with Lindsay and myself. These have continued to take place remotely and have proved to be invaluable in monitoring and evaluating each school’s improvement plans and actions. We have one more external CASP visit for each school next term.

On a very wet and dreary Saturday at the end of January Lindsay, Kirsty and I met remotely with a large number of our Trustees and Academy Advisors for our annual Governance Strategy Day. This remote meeting was extremely well attended and as a group we explored the way in which the Trust board and the Academy Advisor Groups work together for the benefit of our schools.

We will be welcoming Emma Larkham as the new Headteacher at Castle Mead after Easter.  Emma has worked with us in the Trust for several years as Deputy Headteacher at River Mead.  We are delighted that she has been successful in securing a Headship within the trust.

As the weather continues to improve, it is lovely to think we may be able to meet a few more people outside in the coming weeks. I am sure many of you have not been able to see friends and family for some time now. Please do ensure you know what the rules are and model and follow these within your own communities. I hope you all have a lovely Easter break and manage to take the opportunity for some well-earned rest and relaxation.

With best wishes and thanks

Lyssy

Lyssy Bolton, CEO of The Mead Academy Trust

During the last term developments have continued in all areas of safeguarding and inclusion across our schools. CPOMS has become embedded in our practice; I have been working closely with DSLs, safeguarding admin staff and Inclusion Leads to monitor how we are using it and where necessary tweak what we are doing.  However, the platform is enabling us to access information quickly, easily and remotely which has been invaluable during the recent context of children and staff being at home at different times.

The Inclusion Leads are working increasingly with Subject Leads to support responsive teaching approaches across the curriculum. The TD Day in January was an opportunity to share some of their collaborative working. It is lovely to see how responsive teaching and learning is continuing to develop as a result.  The Inclusion Leads have also been able to attend ELT meetings along with subject leaders to ensure there is a really joined up approach to subject development – including provision for children who may find things more challenging at different times.

We have continued to undertake safeguarding audits in our schools. Lindsay, Leala and I have now worked with school leadership teams at both The Mead and Castle Mead to explore safeguarding approaches, which has included gathering children and staff voice and rigorous scrutiny of a wide range of information and records. These visits have been helpful in identifying strengths and areas of development for our practice. We are due to begin the audit at River Mead before the end of this term.

The Harbour Team have continued to work with children in our own schools and schools beyond the Trust . The lockdown has made this more challenging for all involved, but the impact on children’s health, well-being and inclusion in their schools has been hugely positive. The team are also working with partner schools and parents to gather evaluative feedback. The Harbour website is currently being reviewed and updated which we hope will result in the work of The Harbour being showcased more effectively.

Have a lovely Easter break when it arrives,

Kirsty

Kirsty Jamieson, Head of Inclusion

It’s been another busy term of training and professional learning. As Kirsty mentioned, the TD Day in January brought together Inclusion Leads and subject teams aiming to enhance responsive provision across our schools, and it has been really positive to hear during CASP meetings how this is being implemented in classrooms. As part of our Enthuse science programme there have been a number of science CPD sessions, and feedback on these has been positive. I have seen from various tweets that people really enjoyed the practical science activities even though it was a remote session. Similarly, the NQT training and ITT training has also continued remotely this term. There have been a few of you facilitating sessions for the first time – providing training is always a little nerve wracking but doing it remotely adds its own complexities. I would really like to thank you for your commitment to providing the best possible training opportunities to all our delegates. It was lovely to hear back from one first-time facilitator who said “I loved it! When can I do another one?”

On 3rd March we facilitated our annual SEND conference, which this year was attended by over 50 delegates from across Wiltshire, Bristol and Swindon. This was our first large scale remote event and both Kyra and I were well out of our comfort zone. However, we were extremely pleased that it seemed to go without a hitch (well none that anyone spotted!), and received excellent feedback.  We are now looking forward to our annual Early Years Conference in the summer.

Our Graduate Teachers are coming to the end of their main placement. Some of the students are remaining in their current classes for their final placements, whilst others are on the move. I am sure you will all join me in wishing them well in their final placement after Easter.

Finally, thank you to all of you who completed the staff opinion survey and the staffing consultation. These two annual questionnaires are really important in supporting us to plan for the strategic development of the Trust and of individual schools. I know Headteachers will be sharing headlines from the opinion surveys with you, and in the meantime the ELT are currently considering all staff consultations to inform strategic planning and staff deployment for next year.

Enjoy your Easter break and the associated chocolate overload.

Lindsay

Lindsay Palmer, Head of Teaching School