Another two terms seem to have flown by and what busy terms they have been!
The most recent ‘very busy’ event was Castle Mead’s Ofsted inspection. We can’t yet share the outcome of the inspection, but it was truly amazing to see colleagues from across the Trust appear like magic on Monday and Tuesday evening. I saw so many people supporting with data, classroom displays, tidying areas of the school, painting display boards, cutting and sticking and making tea. The support you all offered was very much appreciated and evidences the real strength of our Trust. The snow did add an unexpected challenge! As soon as the report becomes available we will of course share this with you all.
In January senior leaders from across the Trust met with our Governance Community and considered in detail how we partner and communicate with all stakeholders, including staff, children, parents and the wider community. It was a really valuable day that will support our AAGs and the Trust to develop stakeholder engagement further.
Thank you to all of you who completed the staff opinion survey. The information you have submitted is being looked at really carefully by Headteachers and at a Trust level. Part One of the survey will help us with staff deployment planning for 2023-24, and the second part of the survey will help leaders understand how it feels to work in our schools. Headteachers will be providing feedback on Part Two of the survey in coming weeks.
In the last newsletter I said that we were having conversations with Local Authority, Salisbury Diocese and Regional Directorate with regard to Trust growth. We have recently attended ‘Roadshows’ in the North and Central areas of the county, that have been well attended by schools. Myself, Lindsay and Anne Millin have engaged in some very positive conversations with school leaders. Discussions will continue over coming terms and of course if there is any further news I will let you know.
We bid a sad, fond farewell to our Executive Leader Lindsay Palmer this week, as she embarks on an exciting new adventure after 12 years at the Trust. We wish her all the very best for the future. It just won’t be the same without her!
As always your continued hard work and commitment is very much valued. Please take the opportunity over the Easter break to rest and enjoy time with friends and family. I look forward to seeing you all in the new term.
CEO, The Mead Trust
A goodbye from Lindsay
It feels very strange that I am writing my last trust newsletter. The last eleven and a half years have been incredible.
I have been very proud to lead the work of the Teaching School. Much of its success was due to the hard work and commitment of colleagues from across the Trust, who led training, supported events and carried out many school to school support deployments. It was a truly shared endeavour which I believe has impacted positively on all our local schools and a significant number of schools nationally. In addition to the core Teaching School work I have also been privileged to lead the School Direct Programme. I did a little head count a few weeks ago and was rather surprised to find that since 2012 we have trained over 130 new entrants to the teaching profession. Again, many of you have been key to the programme’s success, by leading workshops and mentoring the Graduate Teachers with absolute commitment. Well over 25% of the Trust’s current teachers have been trained through our School Direct Programme, some of whom are now in leadership positions.
I have learned a huge amount during my time with the Trust and from working with such great colleagues. I think every day has thrown something different at me which has always kept me on my toes. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support, humour and collegiate approach. My role would not have been the same without you.
I have no idea what is next for me, except for a term time holiday (never had one of those in my life!), but whatever it is, I will look back on my work with the Mead Trust with great memories and pride.
Logos and branding
A reminder that the correct Trust logo is the one that says ‘Inspirational Learning for All’. Please check your email signature, any documents that you use, and PowerPoint slides to make sure that you’re using the right one. If we spot an old one (with the ‘Shaping Inspirational Learning’ tagline), we will let you know – please don’t be offended! We just want to make sure that we are all consistently using the right assets.
If you need a Trust logo, or a school logo, you can access them in the Trust Templates SharePoint site.
Governance Updates – Standards & Effectiveness Group bulletin
The Standards and Effectiveness Group (SEG) continues to scrutinise and challenge ‘the educational standards, ethos, pupil outcomes and welfare’ across the Trust. Since Christmas we have focused a lot on strategy. We have supported the development of the Trust’s Growth Strategy; to become a family of 9 academies by 2025, and the refinement of our School Improvement Strategy. Also, we have sharpened our process and review practices for safeguarding across the Trust.
There has been much to celebrate, not least the quality of the leadership in our schools, but also in the leadership of curriculum subjects and advocacy roles that you all hold across your school and the whole Trust.
At our meetings our executive leaders continue to provide us with presentations, reports and evidence driven evaluations of the ‘state of play’ across our family of schools. We shall miss Lindsay’s contributions, thank her for them and wish her well.
Governance Community vacancies
From the Board of Trustees
For me the highlight of the year so far was our Trust Strategy Day 2023. The whole governance community (AAGs, Trustees and Members) and all the school leadership teams met to consider the role of stakeholder engagement across the Trust. We all worked collaboratively in cross-school groups to consider how we engage with our children, staff, families and the wider community. By the end of the day position statements were agreed and priorities set. It was an example of how our Trust provides inspirational learning for all by launching interests and igniting passions – our mission statement!
I hope you all benefit from the outcomes of this day as we aim to provide the best place for you to work, teach and lead.
Wishing you a happy and peaceful spring break.
You can read our Trust Underpinning Principles in their entirety on our website. The principles should act as touchstones for the work of everybody in the Trust, detailing the professional values and expectations we hold.
As Term 5 approaches, with SATs for our Year 2 and Year 6 children, it is a good time to re-read and reflect on our principle of Purposeful Assessment. We don’t believe in assessment for the sake of assessment, instead focusing on supporting the development of the whole child:
The Trust uses a range of assessment tools and approaches that identify and measures strengths and challenges across the breadth of the curriculum and includes the ongoing assessment of ‘human development’ in areas such as engagement, happiness, self-esteem and confidence. However, teachers understand that at certain points in the year judgements need to be made about how well a child is progressing in relation to expected standards. For the purposes of evaluating their progress, evidencing the effectiveness of the curriculum or a particular intervention; and providing large and broad inferences about how well pupils perform in comparison to their peers nationally. Summative assessments are chosen carefully and are only used where information gathered will directly impact on teachers’ ability to support teaching and learning more effectively.
As a Trust we have continued to undertake internal safeguarding Trust Quality Reviews (TQRs) in our schools. These have effectively supported the ongoing development of our practice. In order to gain an independent view of our procedures and processes we are now also implementing an external audit process. The first of these audits will take place at River Mead in Term 5, with our other two Trust schools being audited in terms 2 and 3. These new audits are part of our agreed annual safeguarding monitoring cycle. They will be carried out by two members of the Local Authority, who will spend a day in each school, meeting with leaders and evaluating processes. It is a very positive and collegiate approach that aims to evidence our excellent practice and to suggest ways we may be able to further improve.
Jena Fleet (TA)
Laila Sail (MDSA)
Susan Wong (Admin Officer)
Debbie Knight (TA)
Natalie Dommett (TA)
Amy Bath (Teacher)
Katie Coward (TA)
Charlotte Lavery (TA)
Molly Woodward (TA)
Bethany Gibson (Admin Officer)
Stacey Russell (TA)
Debbie Bridewell (General Assistant)
Chris Dicker (Caretaker)
Changes to the Central Team
We are very sad to be saying goodbye to Lindsay Palmer, our Executive Leader, at Easter. Lindsay has been a mainstay in the Trust for almost 12 years, and will leave a large gap in the Central Team when she leaves for a much needed holiday and new adventures! We are currently working on a structure for the Central Team going forward, and will share this with you all when it is finalised. In the meantime, please contact Kyra with any queries – she can either help, or point you in the right direction!
We are delighted to welcome Trina Carey to the Central Team. Many of you will know Trina from the front desk at River Mead, where she has supported children and staff for a number of years already. Trina is moving to the Central Team as the Central Administrator, and will work alongside Kyra on booking training, placing vacancy ads, paying invoices and supporting the work of the Trust. You can reach Trina at email@example.com, or on 318.