November 2017 Newsletter


Nov 30, 2017

Autumn has definitely given way to winter in the past few weeks and it’s time to let you know what has been happening around the Trust.

Double Celebration at Whitfield
Whitfield School held a double celebration to mark the opening of their new nursery and their membership of The Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust. Several Directors, including Chair of the Board Nigel Appleton attended the event. We are all looking forward to working closely with the staff, children and community at Whitfield.

News from our schools

Braithwaite CE School Rocks at the beginning of 2017-18
Catbells class (Year 2, 3 and 4) have been on a very big adventure! As part of their topic ‘Rocks and Soils’ they have been underground at Honister Slate mine as well as out in the open air at Castlerigg Stone Circle. The children have learnt about the history of mining and seen the sorts of tools used in Victorian times as well as more modern machinery. These exciting experiences prepared the children for some excellent history work back at school.

Also in the last half term the school celebrated Harvest Festival with a special assembly and food collection for the North Lakes Food Bank. In September, half the school took part in the Keswick schools’ cluster cross-country event where everyone had a great time competing against four other local schools. This terms has also seen the introduction of 30 hours nursery provision as well as an extended before and after school offer.

In October the whole school also took part in a Countryfile Ramble to raise funds for Children in Need. All the children walked up Latrigg, with the older children walking from Keswick. When they all met on top there was an opportunity for the children to see and have class photographs taken with their named mountain: Barrow, Catbells and Skiddaw.

Lazonby This update is brought to you by Heather C and Hannah P, both aged 9.
The most exciting activity so far this year has been when all the children from Year 2 to Year 6 went to the Pencil Museum in Keswick. When we got to the museum we started out by looking, exploring and investigating all about the floods that took place in December 2015. 

After looking around the area we went into the Pencil museum and had a workshop which was based around using water colour pencils. We used water brushes to blend the colours and make our work look amazing. We were painting tear drop shapes which we are going to put on our African elephant.

Once the workshop had finished we went through the fake mine and took time to look at all of the displays and read all about the history of pencils. Our favourite pencil was the Queen’s pencil and a pencil that was used in World War 2 which had a map and compass built into it. This pencil enabled pilots to escape if they were dropped behind enemy lines. It was an amazing pencil. 

This term we are looking forward to learning all about earth and space in Science and of course all of the Christmas activities including going to the Theatre to see the Secret Garden. 

Growing Learning Communities across Cumbria and beyond!
In terms of the growth of the Trust, which need to be large to be fully effective, it will be important to develop local semi-autonomous clusters which will have a great deal of flexibility in the way they can share staff and resources and work together. We have undertaken some research on how this is working elsewhere and will be meeting with groups of schools on how the flexibility of this model can work in different local contexts. If anyone is interested in looking at this then please contact Michael Mill.

Meet the Board:

Claire McLean
I’m an HR professional of more than 17 years in different industries. My professional passion is to help companies and charitable organisations to achieve their goals and ambitions through people. I am a great listener and able to put practical solutions in place that make positive impacts.

I was interested in joining the trust because I have a 7 year old daughter and I want to play a part in shaping great education provisions for children now and in the future, within Cumbria. I am hoping to help the Trust grow and become a leading MAT where we aim for excellence in everything we do.

I am married to David, have a daughter called Molly Rose and a border terrier called Max. As a family we enjoy the outdoors and often go walking in the Lake District as well as camping when the weather permits! I have this love of open spaces from being brought up on a farm in France. 

Heads Together
On Friday 13th October the Trust head teachers attended a Heads Get Together at Lorton School. These sessions take place on a termly basis, moving around the schools and give our heads the opportunity to share ideas, experiences, best practices and new discoveries. This meeting featured an update from Cleo Cunningham on the progress each of the schools is making. Work was shared that has been undertaken to provide support to heads and local governing bodies to streamline processes and share information. Topics covered at this Get Together included: 

  • OFSTED preparation document with checklists completed to help heads and Local Governing Bodies be OFSTED ready.
  • A template for the termly head’s report has been trialled and well received.  The new report format will pre-populate all the essential headline information required and will be easy to follow for LGB members and the Trust.
  • Target setting matrix created, so that all schools will have agreed attainment targets based on prior attainment of pupils.
  • Effective use of ScholarPack across the Trust for data sharing and information collation
  • Providing a clear structure for the operation of the School Improvement Committee and the focus of consultant visits through the year
  • Producing suggested targets for all schools KS1 and KS2 results 2018 so that these can be discussed and agreed at School Improvement Meetings.  LGBs and the Trust can then meaningfully monitor progress in-year against these targets.
  • Ensuring that our new sponsored school, Whitfield, has all the support needed to rapidly improve outcomes. Work with LGBs to ensure compliance and challenge.
  • A ‘pack’ for clerks: useful contacts, a planner, prompts and reminders and reviewing job descriptions
  • Developing a Dropbox user guide to enable more efficient document sharing
  • membership of the National Governors Association to enable LGB members and clerks to find help and support when they require it
  • A model yearly planner and model agenda for first LGB meeting completed and distributed.
  • Meeting with heads and chairs of each school and identify training needs for LGBs and staff

  The next get together will be in February 2018.

 And Finally….
Wishing you all a peaceful and restorative Christmas break. May the festivities bring you good cheer and a renewed sense of purpose in the New Year.

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