Statement from STEP Academy Trust Board of Trustees:
“It was announced on Friday 16th June that Mark Ducker, CEO of STEP Academy Trust, has been awarded an OBE in The Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honours List, for services to education.
Mark is the inspiration behind STEP and it was his deep sense of moral purpose and vision which brought it into existence. This award recognises Mark’s unique gifts, talents and profound sense of social justice which is evident in what has been developed across STEP for all of the children.
Quote from Mark:
“I am delighted and privileged to have been awarded an OBE for services to education. It is a great personal honour. However in truth, I have been tremendously fortunate to work as part of an extraordinarily talented and committed STEP team: consisting of staff, governors, trustees, parents, but most of all, children. It is their passionate commitment to the Trust’s mission, vision and values, which they exemplify every day that has made this award possible.”
On Friday 10th July, Year 6 children from across the STEP Trust gathered at Angel Oak Academy to celebrate their individual and collective achievements. Primarily a day of fun, the children engaged in a range of activities including circus skills, singing and sports.
The afternoon began with an inspirational talk from Margaret and Barry Mizen, who relayed their son Jimmy’s story. Through their own tragic experience, they shared a message of hope, reminding our children that they have the power to make a positive difference. Fittingly, the day conclude with a rousing rendition of “United We Stand”, led by the brilliant John Fisher of We Sing U Sing.
A wonderful day was had by all, once again illustrating the power of partnership through STEP.
The STEP Academy Trust Board of Directors have made the commitment to become a London Living Wage employer with effect from April 2015. This means that all directly employed members of staff will be paid the Living Wage as a minimum – currently £9.15 an hour in London. This is significantly higher than the current national minimum wage of £6.50 per hour. More information about the Living Wage can be found at http://www.livingwage.org.uk/.
The London Living Wage, which employers choose to pay on a voluntary basis, is set independently and updated annually and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in London. The London Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay calculated according to a combination of the costs of living in London and 60% of the average wage. This gives the wage rate needed to give a worker in London enough to provide their family with the essentials of life, including a cushion against unforeseen events.
One of the first Multi-Academy Trusts to be accredited as a London Living Wage Employer, The STEP Academy Trust is committed to addressing the effects of poverty and closing the gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils. This commitment also encompasses how we pay our staff, all of whom are vital to the success of our Academies. We have a moral obligation to investing in them and this includes the introduction of the London Living Wage to help ensure everyone is able to provide for themselves and their families.
The Directors are proud of this significant achievement for the Trust and believe that the move to the London Living Wage underlines our commitment to ensuring that all of its employees receive a fair rate of pay for their outstanding work.
The STEP Academy Trust is delighted that Applegarth Academy has been judged a “good” and “improving” school in its recent Ofsted Inspection. The excellent report highlights the pivotal role of senior leaders, most notably the Headteacher and Deputy, in rigorously driving improvements. Given that Applegarth Academy brought together three previously failing entities – Infants, Juniors and a Speech and Language Centre (SALC) – the judgment is a remarkable achievement. The Enhanced Learning Provision (ELP), formerly SALC, was singled out for particular praise.
“The ELP is a strength of the school. Pupils make excellent progress here because of the high-quality provision and excellent leadership.”
It was also pleasing that Inspectors recognised the strong support of STEP in partnership with Croydon LA.
“The academy trust has provided very effective support for the academy and works very well alongside colleagues in the local authority, who provide equally effective support. This joint approach is based on the fact that they both see that they are supporting ‘children from Croydon’.”
Congratulations to all the staff, pupils and parents of Applegarth Academy, as well as the extended STEP family.
Applegarth Academy Ofsted Report, March 2015
The Trust is delighted that Paul Glover, STEP Executive Headteacher, has been designated a National Leader of Education (NLE). This is deserved recognition for Paul’s excellent work to rapidly improve standards in vulnerable partner schools, including: Applegarth Academy, Wolsey Junior Academy and Angel Oak Academy (formerly Gloucester Primary School). Paul joins Mark Ducker as the second NLE attached to National Support School, Gonville Academy.
On 1st February 2015, Angel Oak Academy (formerly Gloucester Primary School) joined The STEP Academy Trust. As well as benefiting from full membership of STEP, Angel Oak will join forces with partner STEP Academies to further the mission and vision of the Trust.
On Wednesday 12th November 2014, the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, issued an Academy Order enabling Gloucester Primary School to join STEP as a sponsored academy.
In accordance with current requirements, the Trust will organise a period of consultation – 24th November to 16th January – which will seek to engage all key stakeholders. In addition, STEP will work closely with Southwark Local Authority to ensure Gloucester Primary School converts as planned on 1st February 2015.
On Tuesday 30th September, the Governing Body of Gloucester Primary School voted unanimously to seek permission from the Department for Education to become an academy sponsored by The STEP Academy Trust. We are delighted that the rapid improvements evident since the start of the partnership earlier this term, persuaded governors that a long-term partnership is in the best interests of the school. Directors too are in full agreement that extending the STEP family to include Gloucester, will advance the mission and vision of our Trust.
The next stage is for the Secretary of State to consider the request. If approval is given, an Academy Order will be passed and the school community will begin a formal consultation on academy conversion.
On Thursday 11th September, after months of meticulous planning, La Fontaine Academy finally opened on its temporary site in Bromley. With just four classes (two reception, a year 1 and year 2) the Academy will start small, and grow to a roll of up to 630 pupils. As the name would suggest, La Fontaine Academy will offer a French specialism which will enrich the work of The STEP Academy Trust.
Over the coming months headteacher, Sebastien Chapleau, will work with Bromley Council, the EFA and the DfE, to identify a suitable permanent home for STEP’s newest partner.
The STEP Academy Trust is delighted to have been selected as a finalist in the 2014 EducationInvestor Awards. These prestigious awards are designed to promote excellence and innovation in the education sector. STEP has been shortlisted in the category, “School Operator – Academy Chain”. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 13th November.
We are grateful to strategic partner, Future Education Ltd, for sponsoring the Trust’s attendance. Having supported STEP’s recruitment needs to great effect, particularly at Applegarth Academy and Wolsey Junior Academy, we are delighted to share this memorable evening with them.