Running a school

NSN Hub Member Interview with Kate Moss, Clearwater Church of England Primary Academy

Can you tell us about the original idea behind Clearwater C of E Primary Academy?

“Our school is a ‘basic need’ free school. It came about because the local authority thought there weren’t enough places for the children in Gloucestershire. The local authority had a plot of land that was designated for a school, and then looked for tenders to open the school. The Diocese of Gloucester Academy Trust was awarded the tender to set-up Clearwater Primary Academy.”

What is unique about the school?

Meeting challenges: The start of Highfields Spencer Academy’s journey

Opening as a new school in the middle of the pandemic has been a challenging but incredibly rewarding time. We opened in September 2020 with Nursery and Reception, and this year have our first Year 1 class. Following huge demand from the local community for us to open other year groups, we will have Years 2 and 3 opening in September 2022.

Three ways to recruit your next trustee

“We need to recruit a new trustee”

As CEOs, Executive headteachers and trust leaders, you might well have varying responses to hearing the phrase, “we’ve got a vacancy on the board”... And when your board comprises volunteers with careers and responsibilities outside education, your Chair may logically look to the most senior expert in the sector they know – you – for advice.

Virtual Spotlight: London Academy of Excellence

London Academy of Excellence (LAE), an Ofsted Outstanding 16-19 free school located in Stratford, was established in 2012 to provide a world-class education to disadvantaged students in East London. Last year alone, 33 pupils progressed to Oxford and Cambridge. Since the first cohort of students sat their exams in 2014 more than 1,000 students have progressed to study at Russell Group universities.

Transition arrangements before COVID-19

Virtual Spotlight: Venturers’ Academy

School mission and pedagogy

The school’s Executive Lead, Trystan Williams, spoke to us about the school’s personalised curriculum, tailored approach and use of student and parent/carer feedback to adapt practices. When the school opened in 2016, a Five Year Plan was developed to meet the mission statement of the school: ‘Where Everything’s Possible’. The purpose of this plan has been to provide an ambitious and achievable framework which ensures that all pupils achieved more than they ever thought possible.

Free schools and Ofsted’s education inspection framework – finding the golden thread

Believe it or not, Harmonize Academy, Bedford Free School and Callywith College were inspected on the same day in January 2020, despite their different locations across the country. Whilst their experiences weren’t identical, all agreed that the process had been positive and fair. When they spoke with us a several key themes from the inspection process emerged:

You can’t prepare for Ofsted in a day…

The trailblazers behind the headlines at Pinner High School

Our Trailblazers are completing their GCSEs. We are a school that likes to look forward, and we do so with optimism and excitement. The future is bright. When you like to do things for the first time it becomes infectious and it's the enthusiasm that is catching. When we first opened, our first GCSE results were out there on the horizon, almost as far as the eye could see. They have hurtled into view. No one can quite tell me where the last five years have gone.

Project Management: Pre-opening essentials

Identify the right project manager

Finding the right person to manage your project is essential. Your project manager will act as a critical mediator between the trust and the Department for Education (DfE) and should support and challenge the trust in its decision-making throughout the process. As well as possessing crucial organisational management skills, they will need to be flexible with their capacity and available to make quick decisions.

Virtual Spotlight: The Mendip School

Part of The Bath and Mendip Partnership Trust, The Mendip School is an all-through special school catering for pupils aged 4-19 with a primary diagnosis of autism (ASD) and speech language and communication needs. The school works with a range of external professionals to identify the needs of each child, and adapts support accordingly. In 2018, Ofsted reported that the school’s ‘rich curriculum provides a relevant, interesting learning diet that weaves in therapy and real-life experiences’.