Uttoxeter Learning Trust (ULT)

Vision, Values and Strategy (February 2018)

Purpose and Principles

The Uttoxeter Learning Trust aims to break new ground by creating a locality Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) based on the schools of a distinct geographical community, none of which are currently academies but all of which are currently at least Good. As such it is a mixed phase and includes several Church of England schools as well as several small, rural schools. The strengths of this model focus on the principles of:

  • Community, Continuity and Diversity: Our aim is to incorporate most of the schools in the Uttoxeter area in a phased conversion plan to establish a 3-18, all-through school network. This will create a self-improving school system and will strengthen the links between the schools, especially the small, village schools. The inclusion of both church and community schools in a 3-tier system will sustain diversity whilst forging common cultural linkages.
  • Partnership and Sustainability: High-quality leadership will build successful learning communities through eg the programme of partnership meetings for Heads, Chairs of Governors and middle leaders held throughout the year to share best practice, and through best value management. This will ensure the sustainability of the 3 tier system and the viability of the small rural schools.
  • Capacity: As the performance of most of the schools is strong, we have the capacity to support each other to continue to improve. Both pupils and staff will have the chance to benefit from the best that is on offer across the MAT. However, we will look to strengthen this capacity in the future.

Vision

Our vision is of a seamless educational journey for the children and young people from pre-school through to sixth-form and beyond. In our partnership:

  • The aspirations and needs of children and young people will be our top priority and at the centre of everything we do.
  • All of our children and young people will be equally and highly valued, no matter which academy they are in: no child will be left behind and no school will be left behind. Everyone will be an achiever and every child will be well known within his/her academy.
  • We will be single-minded about ensuring that all of our children and young people, individually and collectively, achieve their potential - and even surpass what they expect of themselves.
  • Equally, we will get the best out of our staff, investing in the best training and development so that they can succeed and thrive in their work across the MAT. We will train new teachers and promote succession planning.
  • Our academies will work together, collectively taking responsibility (under the leadership of the Board) for the performance and welfare of all children and young people across the MAT. This means that there will be a seamless transition from one stage to the next, including agreed procedures and assessments, and evidence of performance continuing to improve, both at individual and academy level, from nursery through to post 16, apprenticeships and university.
  • We will all - teachers, support staff, headteachers, trustees and governors - take responsibility for all of the children and young people in the partnership, ensuring they share all of the opportunities and best practice on offer.
  • We will offer a broad and balanced curriculum across the MAT, recognising local needs and employment patterns, offering careers advice and providing a wide range of curriculum opportunities e.g. creativity, the arts, religious studies and languages.
  • We will work as a collegiate, organising action research into best teaching and learning practices, innovating and investing in new ideas, sharing them across the partnership and evaluating their effectiveness. We will develop and share best educational practice, respecting and highlighting what works rather than seeking uniformity; however, we will identify early what is not working and will improve it.
  • We will be outward looking, learning from other academies and MATs and from wider research evidence.
  • For parents and families, we will offer choice and diversity across the MAT so that the best features of individual academies are maintained. This includes small, community-based academies. As many of our schools are part of the Church of England Lichfield Diocese, we will maintain a close working relationship with diocesan representatives, ensuring that we preserve the distinctive Christian character of these schools.
  • All academies will benefit from coherent organisation and management across the partnership, and from the economies of scale and value for money judged by the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
  • We will invest in IT and facilities to create effective learning environments.
  • We will build partnerships with business, industry and further and higher education institutions.

There will not be a better, more successful, higher performing MAT than ours, both in terms of achievements and life choices. We will benchmark our achievements against the best, nationally and internationally, through comparing ourselves with similar educational institutions.

Values

We want our children and young people to be happy, caring, respectful and high achieving individuals. We want them to be confident and eager to learn:

  • We value effort, hard work and positive attitudes. We will nurture resilient learners with positive mindsets, confident to create and to take up the opportunities life offers. We believe that all children and young people are able learners and that intelligence can be increased through effective teaching and learning and encouragement.
  • We value all achievement, both academic and personal, curricular and extra-curricular.
  • We value academic attainment, seeking the highest standards of performance and the greatest individual progress.
  • As a partnership, we will create and sustain a welcoming and inclusive educational community, based on the best human, Christian and other religious values, including British values.
  • Our academies will be civilised and safe educational institutions, serving and engaging with their local communities so that our children and young people become good citizens who look after others and respect differences in beliefs, gender, age, sexuality, disability and race.
  • Respect will be mutual between children and young people and academy staff, parents and families and community stakeholders.
  • All academy employees will be professional and caring, treating colleagues and pupils with a generosity of spirit. They will encourage parents to be proud of their children’s achievements and proud of their academy.

Strategy

Short Term: First Year

  • Ours will be a sponsoring MAT, but will initially include only schools currently part of the existing Uttoxeter Learning Partnership. However, it will be ready to bid for the proposed, local (Uttoxeter) free schools planned by the LA in response to basic need.
  • Conversion to academy status will be phased, starting with a group of 3 schools, including the high school, a middle school and the largest, local first school, all of which converted in April 2017; the second cohort converted in January 2018 and included the 2 rural first school and a second Uttoxeter middle school (nb the third is due to convert in March 2018); others will follow according to readiness.
  • We will continue to audit the evidence of current performance to ensure that most schools continue to provide at least a good standard of education so that there is the capacity to support any vulnerable schools.
  • We will expand our work as strategic partners in local Teaching School Alliances to supplement this capacity.
  • We will review and share best educational practice across the MAT and put in place action plans to sustain improvement (and to rectify any underperformance and underachievement through our Raising Achievement Board).
  • We will review and share the best management and organisational practices, including seeking the best value for money through improvements in the economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
  • We will ensure that every academy can set a sustainable budget.
  • We will develop good working relationships with the Lichfield Diocese, the Local Authority, the Regional Schools Commissioner team and with other local schools.

Medium Term: 2-3 Years

  • Attainment and progress figures for children in every academy will be above national averages and will compare well against those of similar schools.
  • All will be judged at least good by Ofsted.
  • We will develop succession planning programmes so that staff can benefit from effective professional development and can work in any MAT institution appropriate to their phase (and cross-phase where possible).
  • We will ensure the effectiveness of small institutions by promoting closer working relationships between them, and joint leadership and management (where appropriate and agreed).
  • We will become an effective self-improving school system, sharing our expertise and successes and developing further our resources and capacity in order to support each other and any external educational partners.
  • We will become a Teaching School Alliance, offering opportunities for training, professional development, leadership and research across the region.
  • When we are secure in our effectiveness as a MAT, and in our resources and capacity to work externally, we will expand the MAT to include academies from outside the Uttoxeter Learning Partnership. However, this expansion will be one academy at a time, ensuring success before expanding further.

Longer term: 3-5 Years

  • We aim for all of our academies to be performing in the top 25% nationally when compared with similar academies, and some will be judged outstanding. None will be less than good.
  • We will develop the MAT to include 15-20 academies, geographically close to Uttoxeter.