Following The STEP Academy Trust’s successful relationship with Applegarth Junior School, the Trust has been asked to extend its partnership to include Applegarth Infant School. From September 2012, the Infant School will be extended to incorporate the Junior School, creating an all-through primary, Applegarth School. The STEP Academy Trust Board of Directors has agreed to extend the supportive partnership to the new school, with Paul Glover continuing as Headteacher. Later this academic year, Applegarth School community will consult over whether to or not to convert and join The STEP Academy Trust.
In June 2012, Applegarth Junior School became one of the first schools in the country to move from “special measures” to “good”. The New Addington school’s jump from Ofsted’s lowest category came less than six months after it went into partnership with The STEP Academy Trust.
Samantha Morgan-Price, the HMI leading the inspection, praised the impact of Paul Glover, The STEP Academy Trust Headteacher appointed to lead the school, and the existing Deputy, Alun Evans. “The relentless drive by the senior leadership team, driven by the passionate and highly effective new Headteacher and established Deputy Headteacher, has brought about the considerable changes to pupils’ outcomes”. The support given by the Trust was also highlighted as pivotal. “The excellent partnership with The STEP Academy Trust has resulted in improving teaching, strengthening the capacity at senior and middle leadership and supporting the rapid rise in achievement especially for the more‐able pupils”.
Under a new more rigorous Ofsted framework, Gonville Academy was judged to be a “good” school. Graded “good” in all areas, apart from behaviour and safety which was considered “outstanding”, the report is very complimentary about the quality of education offered at the Academy.
It is, however, notable that the framework does not take account of how schools support others. Indeed, Ofsted measures partnerships only in terms of what schools receive rather than what they give. Gonville is currently making representation to the Secretary of State for Education and the Schools Commissioner about the apparent conflict between a key Government policy – that outstanding educational providers should support vulnerable schools – and Ofsted guidelines which do not acknowledge or account for such work. Having worked so successfully in partnership with David Livingstone Academy and Applegarth Junior School, The STEP Academy Trust is concerned that this extraordinary work has not been recognised by Ofsted.
In April 2012, David Livingstone Academy was graded a “good school” in its Section 5 Ofsted Inspection. The inspectors noted “rapid improvements” in the Academy’s ethos and pupils’ achievements since the previous inspection and that these had been driven by “inspirational leadership”. “Exceptional outcomes in art, music and sport,” were also highlighted, as was the strong impact of the Rights Respecting School initiative on the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
The report concluded that, “gains made through membership of The STEP Academy Trust, confirm the school’s strong capacity to bring about further improvement”.
The STEP Academy Trust is based on the premise that working in close collaboration significantly strenghtens the individual partners. The positive impact of school-to-school partnerships on school improvement is increasingly recognised both locally and nationally. So we were delighted that a recent article in the Croydon Advertiser recognised the impact a number of partnerships, including STEP, are having on school improvement throughout the borough.
On Friday 3rd February 2012, The STEP Academy Trust directors appointed Claire Slade (pictured right) Headteacher of David Livingstone Academy. Currently working as Head of School, she will take up the position of Headteacher in September 2012 when Mark Ducker (Headteacher of Gonville Academy) ends his tenure as Executive Headteacher.
An excellent appointment for David Livingstone Academy, the leadership arrangement now matches the Trust’s vision – that each STEP Academy is led by a strong Head Teacher.
Following a request from Croydon Local Authority, The STEP Academy Trust directors have agreed to enter into a supportive partnership with Applegarth Junior School. The school is currently without a Headteacher and is in need of immediate support, particularly on-site leadership.
Paul Glover (pictured right), who was appointed to lead the next STEP Academy, took up the position of Applegarth Junior School Headteacher from January 2012. Although Mr Glover remains employed by the Trust, he will be based at the New Addington school for the duration of the partnership. The partnership will be reviewed in April 2012.