Putting children at the heart of all we do
The Woodland Academy Trust’s schools work in geographical hubs. Our Bexley hub currently comprises of three, open primary academies with a pipeline free school due to open in Autumn 2019.
What are the benefits of being an academy or free school within the Woodland Academy Trust?
First and foremost, we pride ourselves on working in partnership with our schools. We aim to provide support that enables the Head Teacher, and governance, of the school to develop the learning community that they serve.
School Improvement Services:
We offer our schools an in-house, highly accessible Executive Head Teacher for School Improvement (EHTfSI). This role’s remit is to work with Head Teachers within the hub on a regular, mostly weekly, basis. The one-to-one support is supplemented through a range of further services including attendance at Hub Heads’ Meetings as well as chairing the Trust’s strategic EYFS Core Group.
The EHTfSI role also undertakes a quality assurance role in enabling the schools’ Senior Leadership and Headship teams to develop through their peer to peer support of each other’s schools. This includes working with the school’s staff at a variety of levels to ensure that the systems and procedures are fit for purpose and leading to positive outcomes for our pupils.
In addition to this in-house school improvement support, the Trust will also broker the termly, external School Improvement Partner visits by an external SIP as well as organising, and co-ordinating, an annual peer to peer review of each academy involving a team from a neighbouring, but totally unrelated, Trust.
We also aim to improve leadership across our Trust through regular subject leader meetings which encourage each subject’s leader to meet with their peer in our other schools. Meetings such as these are regulated through a clear Terms of Reference document which outlines how the group is expected to operate and the outcomes expected of such liaison.
The full suite of National College NPQ opportunities are also available, both through identification within Performance Management and through personal invitation and ‘talent spotting’. Working within our Trust affords opportunity for rapid progression for those who work hard and aim high
Continuing Professional Development:
The Trust’s Core CPD Offer also enables our Trust to provide high quality training both through the use of our own trainers and through the deployment of external trainers. Much of our in-house training is provided through our team of experienced staff, including but not exclusively by our five Specialist Leaders of Education.
The CPD offer also ensures that all statutory training is in place for all staff roles and fulfils the Competences document for the safeguarding expectations at each level of staffing. Finance training is available as well as premises related training for all premises staff, both working within and outside our Trust.
All staff members are invited to the annual Trust Professional Training Day and all SLT members are invited to the termly CEO Briefing which explores the current educational landscape whilst exploring what this means for our Trust.
Performance Management is organised on a Trust-wide level in that formats and meetings are consistent. Objectives are set by the school with the subsequent meetings being organised by the school’s leaders as PM Team Leaders in line with the School Improvement Year Planner which is devised by the Trust.
The end of year Performance Management Monitoring for the Trust is undertaken through our HR service.
Our Finance Director also acts as an advisor for the DfE and EFA. Her guidance and support will ensure that all internal controls are evaluated to ensure that all mandatory controls and checks are in place. Your school’s documentation and returns are always completed and submitted ahead of all EFA deadlines. These include the preparation financial statements in line with the Department for Education and Education Funding Agency requirements, including Trustees’ Reports, Annual Accounts and all financial statements.
Budget preparation and monitoring
Quality assuring all census return ahead of submission
The Accounting Officer Role will be covered by the Executive Principal
Additionally, the support through our Finance Director will ensure that EYFS funding and school meals’ funding streams are accessed to their full capacity for your school. Further support is automatically assured upon joining our Trust; this includes:
Governance Support and Clerking:
Our Trust oversees all governance groups. The Members and Trustees are mostly recruited using Academy Ambassadors or through local interest and our identified skills set as required. Our Trust Business Office will ensure that your Local Governing Body:
Is appropriately recruited to assist the progress of your school.
Is provided with a high quality clerk.
Has access to all meetings’ papers required for a successful and relatively stress-free inspection experience.
Has access to a School Improvement File, kept by the Trust, in readiness for its inspection.
High quality training throughout the year.
Dedicated, secure space within the Trust’s website where governors can access all the relevant papers required for their role.
Legal services involved in the preparation of their Articles of Association and Funding Agreements.
Although allocated to each individual school, our premises staff operate as a team. Our Trust Business Director hosts a termly Trust Premises Meeting for all premises staff and each school’s Head Teacher. This line of communication is invaluable in the drafting of CIF bids as well as ensuring a cohesive and best value, approach to contracts and a range of premises-related activities including major projects to smaller, maintenance activities. Our Trust Business Director drafts and submits all of our school’s CIF bids in each round.
Membership of our Trust will ensure that your school benefits from a concerted and co-ordinated approach to recruitment. Our HR service ensures that we are invited to present within universities, attend open days and advertise free within the University of Greenwich’s Forum as well as advertising for a nominal fee on a range of other websites.
Training modules are delivered in house to ensure that our senior leaders are trained and enabled. These modules include:
Sickness Absence Management, including Return to Work Interviews and First Stage Absence Reviews.
Statutory policies, both HR and non-HR related, are updated within the Trust Business Office in a timely manner, prior to being disseminated across the Trust. All other policies sit with the individual school but within the parameters set by the Trust. This consistency and uniformity assists staff members gain further experience by having the luxury of transferring between our schools to enhance their experience and to further their opportunities.
If you would like to discuss joining our Trust then please contact Mr Daniel Morrow, CEO via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal discussion and further details. Visits to our schools are encouraged.