28th November 2018
Epping Forest Schools Partnership Multi Academy Trust
As you will recall, we converted to Academy status on April 1st 2018 as part of the above Multi Academy Trust.
Six months in, it seems appropriate to give you an update on what this has meant and means for our school.
There have been two ‘waves’ for conversion. Phase One schools, like ourselves converted in April and Phase Two schools converted on 1st July. As such, the schools which are a part of the Trust are:
Epping Upland C.of E. Primary
Ivy Chimneys Primary
Hillhouse C.of E. Primary
Staples Road Primary
Oakview Special School
Alderton Junior School
Alderton Infant School
St John’s C.of E. Primary. Buckhurst Hill
High Beech C.of E. Primary
Theydon Bois Primary
Limes Farm Infants
Chigwell Row Middle School
It has also been agreed that Coopersale and Theydon Garnon C.of E. Primary, Matching Green C.of E. Primary and Leverton Primary could join as Associate Schools.
Apparently, as it stands, we are the only Primary School only Multi Academy Trust in the country and as such, the DfE are observing us ‘with interest’.
Revd Lee Batson, who you will doubtlessly have heard of from your children in school in his capacity as Rector for the Epping District Team Ministry and Area Dean for the Epping Forest and Ongar Deanery, was voted in as Chair of Trustees.
Interviews were held for the leadership positions with the MAT and Peter Tidmarsh, formerly the Headteacher of St John’s, Buckhurst Hill was appointed CEO, which was an extremely popular choice among Headteachers and staff.
Some Key Features about the MAT, which might interest you:
• The CEO is in the process of, through meetings and events, addressing every member of staff within the MAT.
• The CEO has arranged an individual visit to each primary school
• MAT Governor Events have taken place and will continue to do so. Epping Upland’s Governing Body remains largely unchanged, although it is now known as a Local Governing Body. We continue to meet half termly.
• The Trustees of the MAT have scheduled in visits to each individual school so that they can gain an understanding of each school’s ‘uniqueness’. If you recall, each school maintaining their own identity was one of the big attractions in joining EFSPT
• The October non-pupil day saw all teaching staff within the MAT meet together in year groups, which has initiated all the staff from each school agreeing to share expertise and good practice with each other among their individual cohort as well as more widely with colleagues. We anticipate this being the start of regular contact and communication with the Year Group teachers from all the other schools in our Trust.
• Subject Leader meetings are also starting to take place, where all the Subject Leads in each school are meeting together to gather and share expertise and support each other. Senco’s (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators) have also adopted this approach to collaborative working.
• School Improvement Hubs have been created. The Hubs between them cover all aspects of school life and will be the generating part for much of the MAT work.
• EFSPT have shared our academic data with each other to see whether there are any Trust wide issues that could be supported by joint training.
• The HT’s from each of the Church Schools have met, alongside Revd Lee Batson to explore how we are able to support each other. It was also agreed to have an event where some of the pupils from each of the church schools come together in St John’s Church, Epping as an activity based experience. Should this be successful, this type of work could further develop.
• One of the IT support companies used to support some of the schools within the MAT, including Epping Upland, went into liquidation literally overnight. The MAT is now exploring a MAT wide IT support company, which with ‘bulk buy in’ will provide financial advantage as well as a more bespoke service.
• The MAT has produced a training schedule for Professional Development and School Improvement that specifically meets the needs of requirements identified by MAT schools. This has improved significantly the quality of training. Through the Teaching School arm of the Trust, I have been trained to deliver sessions on creating Mentally Healthy Schools.
I am very happy to report that thus far, everything regarding the MAT feels positive and exciting. Schools are really engaging and seeing the potential and opportunity it has to offer and are looking forward to being a part of it as it grows, develops and unfolds.
If you have any questions or queries, as always, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.