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’.
This week, London Academy of Excellence (LAE) Tottenham was named the Sunday Times’ Sixth Form College of the Year. In 2020 alone, over two-thirds of pupils graduated to Russell Group universities. A remarkable accomplishment from everyone involved in the school.
King’s Leadership Academy Warrington is a secondary free school established by the Great Schools Trust. The school seeks to instil leadership characteristics in pupils, through its innovative leadership curriculum. In 2019, Ofsted rated the school as Outstanding, reporting that the school’s pupils ‘achieved beyond academic measures’.
How they will use the funding
The free schools we spoke to have come up with a variety of uses for the funding: one school is using it to fund two part-time teachers, one with a maths and the other with an English focus, while others intend to use the funding to provide targeted small group tuition over the coming months. School leaders reported to us that the funding they received was often based on census data from last year, meaning it was less than they need.
Schools had catch-up programmes already in place
Opening a brand new school is challenging at the best of times. Add in a number of delays and a global pandemic and the challenges reach a whole other level! Thankfully, we are now happily settled in our fabulous new building and the trials of setting up and moving in are finally behind us.
Before academies were introduced in 2000 through the Learning and Skills Act, London was considered a cold spot for good education provision. However, in the past 20 years the capital has seen the ‘London Effect’ – disadvantaged pupils in London schools outperforming those in the rest of the country.
In July, Kiran Gill, founder of The Difference, gave evidence to the Education Select Committee’s session on the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable children. She warned that the trauma that vulnerable children had faced during school closures would lead to a rapid spike in exclusions. The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has expressed similar warnings about exclusions and the struggles that children may face when adjusting back in school.
Before the NSN Hub was released in late August, we had a conversation with a headteacher who recounted a story where he had travelled back from an event. On the train home, he started speaking to another school leader by chance, about their schools and the challenges they both faced. They swapped their personal details and over the coming months, compared notes and helped each other out.