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Trust Leadership Newsletter

Summer 2021

Dear All,

As we come to the end of the school year, I would like to thank you on behalf of the Trust leadership team for all of your efforts in maintaining the care and provision for our children.

We recognise the huge contribution you have all made over the last year under what continues to be the most challenging of circumstances in response to the COVID pandemic. Each one of you has shown tremendous resilience, professionalism and empathy, and I hope that you allow yourself time over the summer break to recharge, reflect and celebrate the amazing positive difference you have made to the children and the continued development of our Trust.

Regards

Christian

Christian Checkley
Chair of Trustees

Well, what a year it has been! What an amazing dedicated, committed and hardworking group of people you all are.  We have all navigated a full school year working in ways we could never have predicted eighteen months ago.  These last two terms have been as busy and as challenging as the first four. There has been no let-up in the exceptional circumstances that we have all faced or in the professional manner in which you have dealt with them.

Thank you to all of you who took the time to complete the staff survey and your personal staff consultation form  The information and views you provide help shape the way in which the Trust and our schools develop and progress. Karen, Mark and Emma have all considered your feedback carefully and will be working with you to identify next steps. As a Trust the Central Team have also been working on developing systems and processes in response to your feedback. Many of you felt that communication across the Trust could be improved and that sometimes you weren’t always aware when things were happening. This has resulted in the Staff Resource page being set up on the Trust website which is kept up-to-date with training information and request forms. It now also includes Trust-wide information such as each school’s subject leader responsibility lists, class and year group responsibilities, the Trust calendar and induction information. We sincerely hope that information being centralised in this way will support communication for all members of our team. 

As you all know The Teaching School is being de-designated the end of August in line with DfE strategic direction. Both Kyra and Lindsay will now have Central Trust roles and will be based in the Central Trust Office at River Mead.

As a Central Trust Team we have undertaken a review of our Trust branding. We have agreed to permanently adopt the rainbow coloured Trust logo and amended our strap line to ‘Inspirational Learning for All’.  These small but important changes reinforce our commitment to putting inclusion, diversity and equality at the front, centre and heart of all that we do. Our expectation is that all staff will now use this logo in place of the teal logo.

At our final Trustees meeting of the year Mike Haines offered a touching reflection as his term as a Trustee comes to an end. His parting thoughts offer us all a valuable insight – as he has visited hundreds of schools, often as lead inspector, in his role as HMI and education consultant. He spoke warmly of many features of The Mead Trust:

  • How exciting it is to hear teachers talking with commitment and devotion to their craft
  • The care taken to present and display children’s work beautifully
  • That children in our schools share their interests and enthusiasms openly
  • That staff are confident in opening classroom doors, with a willingness to engage in professional dialogue about what they are doing
  • The thoughtful ways reading areas and role play opportunities are developed
  • How parents are valued and the way our schools are at the heart of their communities
  • The rich opportunities planned for visits and visitors to bring learning alive

Mike recognized that none of these valuable threads happen by accident. He closed his remarks by saying that his association with The Mead School and Trust has been precious because he believes our schools really are special places that have been a yardstick by which he has judged the quality of education in the many other schools he has visited. Praise indeed.

It was a great privilege to be able to nominate Karen (Headteacher at River Mead) and Jayne O (Nursery TA at TM) to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a garden party at Number 10 in recognition of  their contribution to Early Years education during the Covid-19 pandemic. Everyone across all of our schools has worked incredibly hard and this recognition was a wonderful way to celebrate the dedication and achievements of all of our staff. It was a proud moment for Karen and Jayne to represent us all.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for all your hard work, commitment and dedication this year.  You have all been incredible and I hope you all have a relaxing and restorative summer break.  I look forward to seeing more of you in person next term

Best wishes.

Lyssy

Lyssy Bolton, CEO

It’s been another busy term for our Inclusion Teams. 

All our Nurtured Learning provisions have continued to provide amazing teaching and learning for our groups of children, despite the challenges of having limited opportunities for class inclusion due to bubbles. The children in our Resource Bases have also maintained a great attendance rate throughout the year.  The children have made some great progress of which our teams should be proud. The Resource Base teams have been very creative and imaginative when providing resources and activities during periods of lockdown or when children have had to self-isolate. Access to offsite learning can be particularly challenging for them and the additional challenges for home learning for some of these children cannot be underestimated. We are all looking forward to being able to implement more inclusion activities next term for both our Nurture and Resource Base children if our protective measures allow for this.

Our INCOs have continued to work tirelessly with all staff to ensure all our children receive provision that supports their needs.  I would like to pass on my thanks to them and to you all of you for working in such challenging circumstances to make this work so effectively. The INCOs have also been working behind the scenes to review the SEND policy for the Trust and the school SEND Information Reports and these are almost ready for publication.

Louise continues to lead the work of the Harbour team and despite all the challenges the team have provided high quality support to children and families from both within and beyond the Trust. This work is now also widening to include pre-school children, which is a very exciting next step for the Harbour Team. Louise is also busy reviewing the Trust Behaviour Policy, which she is looking forward to sharing in Term 1.

We have continued to carry out remote safeguarding audits in our schools.  These have been very effective in identifying strengths and development areas. What has been clear in all of the audits we have undertaken is the commitment and vigilance of all staff in our schools to the safety of our children. This includes how you have all engaged with our regular training activities. Our annual safeguarding update will take place on 1st September, including information about changes to ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) document. We will be asking all staff to read the KCSIE Part 1 – this is a mandatory annual activity and we will ask you to record you have read the updated KCSIE and the revised Code of Conduct.

Thank you all for everything you have done to support the our children and the work of the Inclusion Team. It has been very much a joint effort from all staff to make sure inclusion and safeguarding has remained at such a high level during the past year.

Enjoy your summer breaks

Best wishes

Kirsty

Kirsty Jamieson, Head of Inclusion & Safeguarding

It’s been a jolly busy term for the Teaching School and our work within the Trust. As Lyssy mentioned above we have developed the Staff Resources page further this term to include some key information for all staff. Hopefully you are all finding this helpful. If you have any ideas about how this page could be improved then please do let us know by emailing kyra@meadtrust.org. We would really welcome feedback and ideas!

Our 2020-2021 cohort of Graduate Teachers completed their final placement at the end of June. I am pleased to share with you that all of those completing the programme have been successful in being appointed to posts for the start of the new term. I would like to thank all of you who have been involved this year in any way with supporting the Graduate Teachers. This includes the formal support through mentoring and training facilitation, but also to all of you who have supported in the background with administration processes or simply pointing them in the right direction. Our school programme is so successful because of the support our whole staff teams offer our Graduates. Congratulations to Chelcie, Kim and Seraphina who have been appointed from this year’s programme to our Trust schools. We have a new cohort of 14 starting with us in September. They will be joining your school teams on the 1st and 2nd of September at the TD days. I know you will make them feel welcome once again.

At the beginning of Term 5 we subscribed as a Trust to the National College. I am sure many of you have been sent emails and reminders that training is in your ‘watch list’. The National College is an exceptional resource. There are webinars and training courses for all aspects of teaching and learning and compliance. If you haven’t already, please do spend some time looking at what is on offer. There are courses there for everyone in all roles across the Trust. All courses, resources and webinars are FREE! You can watch them on demand as soon as they are released – you do not have to attend the live broadcasts. Please do make good use of this resource and don’t forget to email Kyra with any certificates so these can be added to our training record for you.

As part of our Trust IT infrastructure developments I am pleased to share that our River Mead colleagues are now all in the same global address book as The Mead and Castle Mead. This was a significant undertaking and was not entirely straightforward! This is the first step in much wider developments to our IT infrastructure, which we will be sharing these with you in due course.

As Lyssy mentioned above the Teaching School is being de-designated from the end of August in-line with new DfE initiatives. Although this is sad, it is also bringing with it new challenges and excitement. We will still be planning, organising, and facilitating a wide range of high quality professional development opportunities, but this will be as the Trust rather than the Teaching School. There is an exciting programme already planned for next year! Please don’t forget we are no longer allowed to use the Teaching School logo from 1st September. Please can I ask you to ensure you check documents and email boiler plates etc and remove it as soon as possible.

We have been busy reviewing the Trust website in in recent months. The new look website will include some aspects of the current Teaching School website, but is also being re-designed to ensure our ethos, principles and approaches are clearly demonstrated. Kyra will be putting these plans into place over the summer break. Look out for our new Trust website in September!

I wish you all a fantastic summer break and hope that you are able to rest, recharge and meet up with friends and family.  I look forward to seeing you all next term.

Lindsay 

Lindsay Palmer, Head of Teaching School