This has been an exciting term! Amongst other things, I have been talking to Trustees recently about how our Trust can continue to flourish in the future. We have had conversations with the Local Authority, Salisbury Diocese and Regional Directorate, which were really productive. We’re exploring options at the moment, including expanding to bring more schools in to the Trust, and will keep you posted on how our various conversations go.
I have been heartened to see and hear children reading so beautifully as I have walked around our schools this term. We are always searching for people who can offer some time each week to hear our children read – as you know. the difference this time makes to them can be felt right across their learning. If you know someone who could spare some time each week to come in and hear children read, please do share our Volunteer Page with them.
We were pleased to hear from so many of you in the recent Staff Wellbeing Survey. We appreciate the time you all took to let us know your thoughts, and your Headteacher will be talking to you in due course about what your feedback means for your school. Please do talk to any of the leadership team at any time about your wellbeing if you need to; the surveys offer us a useful ‘snapshot in time’ but we are always here to speak to you. Please remember too that the Employee Assistance Programme is available to you all, and is free for you to access at any time should you want to.
I know the love that goes into all that you do in school, particularly at this time of year. Thank you for the positivity and commitment that you bring to these last days of term. The nativity play and Christmas dinner memories will long be treasured by children and their families, as your own spirits are uplifted by the joy of the children in your care. I also appreciate that your own energy will have been given almost entirely, and for many of you, your own Christmas planning has yet to be prioritised.
As we reach the end of term, I hope that you know how valued your contribution is. Please accept my thanks for what you bring, yourself, to your school and community. Each unique contribution makes the whole – only together can meet our ambition for every child to flourish.
I hope that you find both space and joy as we step into the holidays. I look forward to seeing you, rested and restored, on 3 January for our next INSET Day.
CEO, The Mead Trust
File naming conventions
We have had a GDPR data breach in one of our schools that resulted in a self-referral to the ICO. We have consequently reflected closely on our prcesses. As a result please adhere to the following:
- Ensure all documents are clearly and appropriately named when saved so that it is very easy to see what the document is/contains
- When attaching documents to emails it is imperative to open the document as an attachment BEFORE sending
These two actions will ensure that we are attaching the correct information, and will minimise the possibility of information being shared with the wrong people.
Resources Committee roundup
The Resources Committee is an executive group of the Board of Trustees and receives its mandate from and reports to the Board. The Resources Committee is responsible for the core governance function of overseeing the financial performance of the Trust and making sure its money is well spent.
We have recently received our streamlined Energy and Carbon report for the Trust for 21-22. This report compares energy usage for the years 2020-21 and 2021-22. We have good news to report, the Trust’s general consumption has gone down, which means our gross emissions in metric tonnes has been reduced from the previous year.
Castle Mead Resource Base
The Complex Needs Resource Base has recently expanded at the request of Wiltshire Council from 28 to 35 children. Due to this expansion, and the continued growth of mainstream classes, Wiltshire Council have agreed to fund a two class building, which will give the school the additional capacity it needs from September 2023. Designs and plans are being developed and we will share this with you as soon as they have been agreed.
Support Staff Pay
As you know we adopt the Wiltshire Council pay scales for support staff. Following negotiations with unions a pay policy has now been proposed and agreed and adopted by The Mead Trust. The pay award will be effective from 1st April 2022. Each spinal point is due to increase by £1,925 per annum, which will be pro-rated according to weekly hours and working weeks per annum. Back pay for the period April 22 to November 22 will be paid in December salaries (this will be subject to your usual deductions of tax, NI and pension). Once you have received your payslip please feel free to speak to your School Business Manager in the new year if you have any queries.
As you know we adopt the School Teachers Pay and Conditions, which includes pay scales. Following negotiations with unions a pay policy has now been proposed and agreed and adopted by The Mead Trust. The Teaching Staff pay award will be effective from 1st September 2022. You will receive back pay for the period September 2022 to November 2022 in your December salary. (This backpay will be subject to your usual deductions of tax, NI and pension.) If you have any queries after receiving your payslip, please do feel free to contact your School Business Manager.
Standards & Effectiveness Group bulletin
The Standards and Effectiveness Group (SEG) scrutinises and challenges ‘the educational standards, ethos, pupil outcomes and welfare’ across the Tust. Our group of four trustees reports to the full Board of Trustees after each meeting. This term we agreed the Trust’s priorities for the year ahead. We scrutinised the plan for their delivery which was co-constructed by the Executive Team.
It was our first face to face meeting and unfortunately hampered by no access to papers because of an internet problem across the school. Emma, as trust assessment lead, talked through the assessment timeline for the core subjects and together we identified areas for further focus whilst making sure that assessment is always helpful and tied into what is being taught.
We also scrutinised the Safeguarding and Child Protection polices, Attendance Policy, Staff Code of Conduct, Appraisal Policy and the Scheme of Delegation, to make sure they reflect the necessary changes and that they are being used effectively. Next term we will review the School Improvement Offer and reflect on whether the changes are making a difference across the Trust.
‘Happy holidays’ from all on the Board of Trustees
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or another festival, or are simply resting and enjoying the company of family and friends, the Board of Trustees wishes you a peaceful and happy break this December. I was delighted to be elected as the Chair of Trustees in September this year, and I thank Christian for his enthusiastic commitment to the Trust as Chair. I am extremely pleased that Bob has been re-elected as Vice-Chair of the Board, and remains as Chair of the Resources Committee this year. I would also like to welcome Alex McDonald (The Mead). Justina Barber (Castle Mead) and Sandra Dixon (River Mead) as Academy Advisors – I have no doubt they will all, alongside our existing Academy Advisors, have a huge impact on the support of pupil and school performance at their respective schools.
All of the Trustees and Academy Advisors join me in thanking each and every one of you for your continued resilience and dedication to your schools this year. Please take the coming weeks to recharge, and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2023.
Governance Community vacancies
Do you know someone who would like to make a difference to our children, but doesn’t have the time to commit to a full time role? We are looking for Academy Advisors, Trustees, and Members to join our Governance Community and would love to hear from you if there is someone you could recommend. The roles are all very different, but they all have achieving the best for our children at their core. Please get in touch with Kyra (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to know more about the vacancies, or have a name to put forward.
As you know, last year we spent time refining and collating our Trust Underpinning Principles, which you can read in their entirety on our website. The principles act as touchstones for the work of everybody in The Trust, detailing the professional values and expectations we hold.
The Winter break is an exciting time for many children, while others may be feeling overwhelmed or challenged by their time at home. It’s a timely opportunity to consider how we value children and childhood, and particularly how Family Involvement is such a crucial part of that:
Children’s individual family circumstances are valued. Warm, caring, empathic, respectful and contextually relevant reciprocal relationships are built with families. Family engagement is encouraged and valued through a range of activities including parent forums, volunteering, celebration events and assemblies. Ways in which to develop closer more wide ranging and productive relationships for the benefit of the children are continuously considered and explored.
Training and Development
Staff from across the Trust have undertaken a wide range of training and professional development including (but not limited to), Outstanding practice in EYFS, maths, headteacher briefings, safeguarding, phonics, equalities, diversity and inclusion, First Aid, GDPR, supporting visual impairment, ELSS training, Ofsted readiness, food safety and hygiene. As a Trust we are fortunate to be able to share in the knowledge and skills that all of our colleagues develop and acquire. As always, if you are interested in undertaking some professional development please talk to your senior leadership team.
The TD days both in September and October enabled over 220 members of staff to take part in relevant and valuable professional development activity across all sites. TD Days are always very busy and often jam packed with professional conversation, new learning and cerebral activity. We value your enthusiasm and contributions which impact on the development of every aspect of our school communities. I would also like to express out thanks to our amazing kitchen teams who have yet again provided us with fantastic food on each of these days.
The TD day on Tuesday 4th January 2023 will soon be upon us. Plans are published on the staff resource page as usual. Please make sure you check these carefully to see where you will be and what you will be doing.
Victoria Ball (Supply Teacher)
Natalie Bourne (TA)
Hope Buckland (TA)
Daniel Paxton (Supply Teacher)
Jenna Ford (TA)
Hanna Bain (TA)
Emma Harrold (Clerk to the Academy Advisory Groups)
There is much to celebrate across the Trust, and we are really pleased to let you know:
Leala Purdie, Inclusion Lead at River Mead, got married in October half term. In a quest to not be known as ‘Mrs Knickers’, Leala will continue to be known as Mrs Purdie in school…
Fay Perdicchia and Heather Elliot, both members of Castle Mead School team, both successfully completed the NCETM Primary Professional Ddevelopment Lead Development and Accreditation Programme in August 2022, and are now both NCETM Accredited PD Leads.
Lydia Tanner, working in the Resource Base at River Mead, has recently gained Qualified Teacher Status. This is a huge achievement, and we are so pleased Lydia’s hard work has been recognised and rewarded.
Staff wellbeing survey
Thank you to all of you who submitted responses to the staff wellbeing survey. There were many things to celebrate in all our schools, but also some clear areas where improvements can be made. The results of the surveys were shared with Headteachers the week after the survey closed. Heads have carefully considered these and will work with you all to explore next steps in relation to areas for improvement.
In Term 3 we will be sending our Annual Staff Opinion Survey which will give you the opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings about all areas of your school community. Please do spend a few minutes completing this to ensure we hear from as many people as possible.