Where learning is fun and all children succeed

By Richard Gill, CEO ATLP

We end the term on yet more positive Ofsted news, following a short inspection of Hill West Primary School, which recognised the fantastic improvements made since 2015’s ‘Good’ inspection. Congratulations to headteacher Dr Beth Clarke and her team on their achievements. I am confident that when Ofsted returns next year, the outcome will reflect the excellence embedded across this truly outstanding school.

The progress that we are making and the impact secured by colleagues from across our family of 13 schools is not measured in terms of Ofsted alone. This external verification is a snapshot of the brilliance that is on display each and every day; a snapshot of where a school is on their journey, certainly not a destination.

Strong and dynamic leadership is integral to the continued success of our schools. Last week, headteachers and deputy headteachers attended a leadership training session to develop their skills and further collaboration across the MAT. One learning family, together, working for the improvement of all; putting the success and enjoyment of all children at the heart of everything they do.

Leadership permeates ATLP at all levels starting, of course, with our children and young people. Our exceptional student leadership team brings our schools and communities together through an engaging programme of events and activities and I look forward to sharing more on this throughout our #DecadeofDifference year. As a MAT we have achieved much working in collaboration that impacts on our children but we need to do more to involve our children and young people. They are our future; they are our ATLP alumni and the impact that they can have in each other in terms of their own learning and development must not be underestimated. At all levels, together we are stronger.”

I’m always humbled to see our learning communities supporting others. In March, this generosity hit new peaks when Curdworth headteacher, Lisa Dodd, rallied all schools together in aid of the Geoff Horsfield Foundation – which provides housing accommodation and other services for vulnerable adults. Collectively, our academies raised more than £1100, along with ‘unprecedented’ donations of warm clothing and bedding.  This month, our students and staff also took part in the YMCA’s ‘Sleepeasy’ event, which saw them ‘sleep rough so others don’t have to’.

What enormous pride we share in our students. I thank you all for the fantastic job you are doing in helping to shape the lives of these future citizens and for modelling key values, such as kindness and empathy. At John Willmott, students are learning more about the core life skills of Leadership, Organisation, Resilience, Initiative and Communication as part of the school’s LORIC enrichment programme, which was commended by Andrew Mitchell MP and Councillor Charlotte Hodivala during their recent visit.

Our schools have also been welcoming visitors this term from the ATLP Trust Board volunteers. Member and respected education leader, Professor Mick Waters, met with some of the leaders from our Staffordshire hub of schools, including Nether Stowe, Two Gates and William MacGregor.

He said:

An afternoon in William MacGregor Primary School was real joy. From energetic PE to cookery and music, children were busy bringing to life the learning that their teachers had planned. The quality and polish of the range of work that children had produced was evident around the school. Rich experiences and deep study. Young children captivated by stories and rhyme, exploring all those mysteries of the ancient world and the world beyond our shores. The school seems to have cracked the way to get good outcomes in an environment where people enjoy learning together.”

I am delighted that our schools are happy places where children thrive. Hill West’s mission is to ensure that ‘learning is fun and all children succeed’ and we end the term in the knowledge that they have more than risen to this challenge.

Let’s end on a beginning, as I welcome the newest additions to the ATLP family – Henrietta the chick and her siblings at Scotch Orchard – you can catch up with their progress via the school’s ‘Tweets’.

Have a wonderful Easter break!

Richard