Newsletter September 2017


Oct 2, 2017

Welcome to 2017-18

Another academic year has begun! It seems that 2017-18 will be our busiest and most exciting yet. We have changes to our board of Directors, we welcome on board two new schools and we have exciting developments that will hopefully help to transform what we can offer now and in the future. 

Changes around the Trust

New Chair of Directors
Nigel Appleton became Chair of Directors of the Trust on 1st January 2017, replacing Rev. Beth Smith. Our thanks go to her for leadership at the start of our journey.

Nigel worked in education for 36 years, beginning as a secondary school mathematics teacher and then moving into higher education to train new teachers and help serving teachers develop further. He became increasingly involved in management and ended up on the senior leadership team of a small Church of England university. Nigel has previously served on three governing bodies supporting four schools; one secondary and three primary, as well as sitting on the boards of two Teaching School Alliances.

Nigel was able to get to know some of the secondary schools in Cumbria as part of his previous role with the University of Cumbria. Now he is getting to know the county’s primary schools, their staff and the communities that they serve.

Other Changes    
Grateful thanks are extended to Stephen Fraser and Maura Regan who have also stepped down as directors of the Trust. We would like to thank both Stephen and Maura for their input, their time and energy.

A warm welcome to Claire McLean, an HR professional, and Ven. Richard Pratt, Archdeacon of West Cumberland, who recently joined the board as directors.

Simon Hughes is co-chair at Lorton School, one of the Trust's newest member schools, and has been elected as a Local Governing Body representative. We are delighted to have Simon on board and look forward to making use of his knowledge and different perspective.

New Member Schools

Lorton School
With great pleasure we officially welcomed Lorton School, the Trust’s first non-Church School to the Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust on 1st March 2017.  This promises to be the start of a great new chapter for all parties.

Headteacher Olivia Harrison said: "In order to continue providing our family and child-centred approach to teaching, Lorton Primary School has joined the Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust. After very careful consideration we felt that in order to access essential back office services and support, the best option was to join a MAT."

Whitfield C of E Primary School
Whitfield Church of England School joined the Trust on 1st September 2017. The school in the north Pennines is in the Diocese of Newcastle. The Trust was identified by the Regional Schools Commissioner as the right sponsor for the school which had a recent history of under-performance.

Significant work has already been undertaken to turn things around. A new staffing structure has been formed under the leadership of Claire Render and Rob Blake from the Wreay and Ireby Schools’ Partnership with a new head of school, Katherine Ayre. The school is also now offering nursery provision.

Chair of Directors Nigel Appleton had this to say about Whitfield and Lorton joining:
“This is our first member school from beyond our Cumbrian heartlands and so this represents an important milestone for us. Earlier this year we also saw our first non-church school join. We continue to explore expressions of interest with other potential academy partners and it is heartening that school communities can see the benefits of joining our family of academies in terms of long-term support, encouragement and success, set within a Christian ethos.”

Progress continues at Ambleside
An Independent School Review conducted by the Cumbria Rural Learning Alliance in May highlighted the continued progress the school is making and proved very helpful in setting the way forward. The report highlighted the ‘superb’ EYFS provision and praised the school’s ‘marked recovery’. Targets from the review will be incorporated into the School’s Improvement Plan and some have already been actioned. Head teacher Sarah Carrick is encouraged and looking forward to a positive future: ‘We continue to improve, and look forward to our first Ofsted inspection as an academy’.  

Development Grant - New Starters
The Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust has recently been successful in obtaining Regional Academy Growth Fund Grants from the DfE for Sponsor Capacity and MAT Growth. The grants are time limited until March 2018. The overall aim of the Regional Academy Growth Fund is to support successful trusts to grow and to improve standards. The Trust is using this grant to fund two new positions, a development role and a school improvement officer.

The role of the Development Officer is shared by Odette Tyson, administrator at Ambleside CE  Primary School and Rotha Satterthwaite, former administrator at Heversham St Peter’s CE School. Odette and Rotha are based at Ambleside CE School. The role of the School Improvement Officer is filled by Cleo Cunningham, former headteacher at Heversham St Peter’s CE School. 

In addition to this Ruth Houston, until July Head teacher at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, will be doing some specific work around the development of clusters of schools within the Trust. Together these roles will work to ensure that the Trust is working efficiently and effectively for the best results for everyone. 

Heversham St Peter's C of E School
It was with much sadness that we took the decision, with the local governing body, to bring to an end primary provision at Heversham St Peter’s CE School following a dramatic drop in pupil numbers. The remaining children have now started at their new schools and we wish them well. With the support of the local community we are seeking new educational uses for the premises.

And Finally...
Everyone at The Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust wishes you all the very best for the academic year 2017-18;- may it be a successful year for all our children, their families, schools and communities.

If you have any queries Michael Mill, Director of Education can always be contacted via email and our Business Manager Alison Gerke can also be contacted on 01768 807770 or via email.

Thanks again for your support and taking the time to read what is happening with The Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust.

Best wishes,

Nigel Appleton  
Chair of Directors