Joining the Trust
Why Choose The Williamson Trust as an Academy Sponsor?
The Williamson Trust family of schools is committed to working together to transform children’s lives through education. We believe that children and adults flourish when they learn and work as members of a dedicated, supportive, cohesive community built on high expectations, rigour, mutual respect and pride in their own and each other’s success. Two core and unshakeable beliefs inform our work as a family of schools:
- All children deserve to go to a great school
- All members of staff deserve great challenge and support
As a teaching school and multi-academy trust, we also have a wider mission to support school improvement in the region through the work of our system leaders, so that all children wherever they go to school, can access a world-class education. During the next three years, we will continue to build a culture in which all children and young people:
- Attend an outstanding school or one that is on a journey to outstanding, because exceptional leadership teams work collaboratively to further improve provision and outcomes in their own and each other’s schools
- Are supported in making better than expected progress in their learning as a result of effective teaching and assessment that accurately identifies attainment, progress and next steps in learning
- Follow an engaging, balanced and challenging curriculum that excites and inspires them and helps them to develop 21st Century knowledge, skills and understanding
- Have an entitlement to a rich co-curricular programme of sporting and cultural activities that enables them to develop leadership and teamwork skills and that promotes lifelong interests
- Learn in an environment that is safe, orderly and that supports their social, moral, spiritual and cultural development.
In addition, in our drive to be an outstanding academy trust and teaching school our approach to school improvement is built on the following foundations:
- There is a presumption of partnership and collaboration in all that we do that is built on a foundation of high expectations and no excuses
- All staff thrive and flourish as a result of exceptional professional and leadership development opportunities, underpinned by robust appraisal systems, expert coaching, mentoring and access to research
- All parents have a stake in their children’s school and education and are encouraged and supported in doing so
- Innovative arrangements for governance ensures that well trained governors maintain a sharp focus on standards, progress and safeguarding in all Trust schools
- Directors and governors work with the Accounting Officer to ensure the effectiveness and probity of all expenditure
- All Trust schools are supported by high quality, efficient and cost effective systems for school improvement, finance, estates, HR and IT, which are subject to rigorous and regular quality assurance
- Leaders build alliances and connections with other schools, teaching schools and academy trusts in our region, nationally and internationally, in order to offer support, learn from the best and contribute to whole system improvement.
At the Williamson Trust we are extremely keen to work with partner schools and academies who will bring fresh and innovative thinking to the organisation. By working together in this way we can deliver the change needed and build world class educational experiences for our children.
Our vision is built around the creation of learning communities; a family of academies that by working in true partnership, make significant contributions to improving the life chances of young people. We have been working hard to become the sort of Multi-Academy Trust that others would want to be associated with, particularly those who share our values and aspire to excellence.
Our journey so far has seen us develop both a strong focus on education and a range of support specialisms, such as Finance, IT, HR, Data, Administration and Facilities Management, that deliver a robust infrastructure for the future. Whether you are a good or outstanding school or a school that requires improvement, The Williamson Trust wants to develop a partnership that will be mutually beneficial.
We believe that sharing knowledge and resources and building success from within an enlarged family of Academies is the best way to deliver long term sustainability. The opportunity to access a wider level of experience and a deeper pool of knowledge is key to delivering our vision.
We would truly welcome schools who would have the opportunity to bring further excellence into The Williamson Trust's family to build upon our joint expertise to deliver truly outstanding education to the whole group.
Delivering the Vision
The Williamson Trust's Multi Academy Trust vision has education at the very heart of all that it does. We are not ashamed of the fact that we focus on traditional values, excellence in teaching and high standards of student behaviour to deliver on our objectives. We are passionate about developing students with a spirit of independence that enables them to contribute fully to their learning.
Through this and by working together we will be able to ensure that:
- No individual or group of learners is left behind
- All contribute to the drive for continuous improvement across the learning village
- All promote the core values ascribed to the Trust
- We prepare students to be responsible citizens who contribute positively to the local, national and global community
- We provide the tools students need to engage fully with the learning process and for the world beyond education
- We are all fully committed to the needs of our local communities.
We believe in high aspirations for all, high achievement, no excuses and excellence in everything that we do. This is not to say that we take a rigid ‘take it or leave it’ approach and adopt a ‘one size fits all’ mentality in all of our academies, but what I am sure of is that we bring clarity in cementing the distinctive features about we do. This includes:
We know all of our academies well quantitatively
- Our core purpose is to consistently adopt a culture of high expectations using benchmarks to set challenging targets
- We have a deep and rich understanding of each of our schools. We monitor progress performance not just in tests and exams but also in real time at key points across the year. From this we continue to evolve a standard core data set that can be presented in varying degrees of depth according to the audience. This means that teachers and leaders are able to use data as a formative assessment tool, while board members have access to a dashboard that provides a graphic overview of how each academy is performing. The dashboard also tracks performance in areas such as attendance (staff and pupils) exclusions, child protection, special needs, admissions, cover costs and financial management
- Knowing each academy well also ensures a clear and consistent performance management outline for all academies, leaders and staff.
We ensure that our academies work together both systematically and organically
- It’s not just a question of The Williamson Trust knowing the metrics, but understanding how progress is or is not being made. We are systematic in how we commission and or conduct external/peer reviews for each academy. This involves a range of senior leaders who use a formal model to scrutinise performance. Other drivers also include Trust academies working together to moderate assessment and agree an understanding of what progress looks like, leaders developing a shared approach to lesson observations, conducting joint learning walks and jointly investigating issues of common concern.
We adapt strategies to best fit an academies context
- We understand where each academy is on its school improvement journey and have the ability to pinpoint precisely the issues that need to be addressed if it is to make the progress expected – whether this relates to a schools culture and expectations of pupils, leadership, governance, attendance, behaviour, teaching and learning or assessment and variability in performance
- Leaders ensure that we mobilise resources to tackle any weakness. This however, goes beyond managing a deficit in school performance. We are equipped to adapt interventions to maintain momentum as an academy improves or as an organisation we develop.
We deploy our expertise strategically
- The most effective organisations achieve a win-win by broadening the leadership experience of their best and emerging leaders. The deployment may be for a limited time or an academic year. Opportunities for assignments may also become permanent
- We share our expertise across the Trust. This includes putting consideration to appointing subject leaders with responsibility spanning an entire learning community. This not only makes best use of subject experts but also supports both recruitment, retention and career development
Coaching improvement in teaching and learning
- Improving the quality of teaching and learning is integral to improving pupil performance. We work tirelessly to develop, a common model for coaching improvement in classroom performance. The approach is systematic and truly builds discipline into the work of our trainee teachers
- We use inquiry based learning as an integral driver to accelerate improvements in teaching
- Teaching must be seen as more than just a refinement of professional practice. We endeavour to provide opportunities for staff to learn with and from each other about what makes an impact in terms of student learning and progress
- Professional development is defined not just by attending training events. We are outward facing as both a MAT and a Teaching School in harnessing commissions that better address each academy’s defined improvement priorities.
We have evolved and apply some core non-negotiables.
- Most MATs insist on some degree of operational consistency in areas such as finance, data systems, policies and HR. Moreover, our work continues is to further develop and implement certain basic teaching and learning systems that form part of an underperformance recovery strategy. Such applications apply to the fundamentals of academy turn around
- This process is not about us as an organisation imposing certain ways of teaching and learning, more scaling up what has proven to be effective and successful. Co-construction between teams of teachers and leaders across our academies is key.
We work with and learn from other schools
- We appreciate more than ever that we must generate stimulus and learning from engaging with schools and practice that sits outside our own MAT. The Teaching School provides rich opportunities that further enable our academies to look outwards as well as inwards for improvement support.
We know our impact
- High performing MATs are able to demonstrate the impact they are making on improving academies within their chain. But in addition they we assess and understand the impact of specific interventions. From tracking staff capability, to classroom practice and pupil progress.
Supported by SJWMS, the Hundred of Hoo came out of Special Measures within 15 months and is now itself on a strong trajectory towards ‘outstanding’, as evidenced by the December 2012 OFSTED report that judged the school to be ‘good’ in all areas, just three years after going into category. Results continue to improve and have been at the national average for the last two years.
In June 2014, St James was judged to be a good school, just three years after going into Special Measures.
In July 2014, High Halstow Primary School was judged to be a good school, having been judged to require improvement in the previous inspection.
In June 2015, Allhallows was graded as good, less than two years after being placed in Special Measures.
The Williamson Trust has access to a considerable store of excellent resources that can assist both good and outstanding schools as well as those that require improvement. We want to share those resources as widely as possible as we believe in the power of collaboration.
For good outstanding schools:
- These schools will automatically become part of the Core Team, providing leadership, inspiration and support to other members of the family
- These schools will have access to the core services, enabling them to concentrate on delivering excellence in education.
For schools requiring improvement:
- For schools that require improvement a needs analysis will be undertaken. We will then seek to provide the levels of leadership, support and appropriate intervention required to ensure that they make rapid progress.
Expert advice and training for:
- Leaders and Managers
- Support Staff
Our Management Services
Academy and School Improvement
At The Williamson Trust we recognise the need to ensure that excellent teaching and learning is at the heart of the Academy’s focus and delivery. To drive continuous improvement in teaching and learning we can provide access to the following:
- Teaching School membership
- Evaluation and Improvement Planning
- Academic support e.g. Specialist Leaders of Education in specific subjects and Key Stage leadership and strategic planning to support students.
- Pastoral support
- Leadership support e.g. secondments between school leadership teams
- Management advice and consultancy
- Curriculum Development and Timetabling
- CPD and Appraisal Support
- Data analysis
The Willaimson Trust has clear systems for ensuring financial probity, having access to accurate and timely management information to ensure effective budgeting. The Williamson Trust makes efficient use of economies of scale, achieving best value for top-sliced funds, and pursues alternative revenue streams to benefit the The Williamson Trust as a whole (e.g. providing services beyond the Williamson Trust itself). In an ever changing Finical Climate The Williamson Trust offers a range of services, including:
- A comprehensive programme of financial management and reporting
- A detailed budgeting and forecasting process
- Developing and implementing excellent internal controls
- Strategic focus on income generation, and commercialisation of Trust assets
- Contract negotiation, procurement advice and tendering
- Payroll and pension administration.
Tangible benefits can be gained from working together to streamline common administration activities. Back office support is offered across the Trust that help to release much needed resources back into teaching and learning. This includes:
- A comprehensive package of support for student attendance
- A robust programme of data monitoring to enhance student performance
- Maintenance of complete and accurate student records
- Providing a structure for the recording of assessment data and the upkeep of its effectiveness
- Termly data analysis, including Governor and Board reporting
- Lesson Observation Monitoring.
The Ofsted framework places an increasing focus on the effective management of HR matters particularly the management of performance, safeguarding and the deployment of resources. In this context there is an ever increasing need for high quality interventions.
Human resources can be complex with regular changes to employment and education law which impacts on staff matters. The Trusts HR Department understands the context within which schools operate and use the expertise to provide focused solutions for a full range of HR matters from administration to complex reorganisations, individual casework or more strategic projects including workforce planning and talent management. Other services include:
- Centrally managed HR records including School Workforce Census
- A full recruitment process including developing job descriptions, application packs, shortlisting, interviews, formulating contracts and pre contact checks
- Developing programme to increase staff retention
- Access to HR advice, arbitration and occupational health services
- Access to a library of existing policies and the development of new ones
- Termly staff reporting including absence, appraisal and governor reports
- DBS – administration and Certificate Sponsorship.
ICT support can, for many, be an expensive luxury and often the level of service that is affordable just does not meet the needs of your school. The Williamson Trust has a highly skilled and dedicated IT team who can assist schools with a variety of needs tailored to your requirements, including:
- Infrastructure Support (including on-site support)
- Technical Advice and Support
- Solution Design and Network management
- ICT Security and Data Protection Advice
- ICT Business Continuity and Disaster recovery Advice
- Website management.
Buildings and resources management
Managing building, whether it be in relation to the day to day operational needs of the school of the development and delivery of new facilities, The Williamson Trust has access to a professional team who can support with all aspects of building and resource management.
- Maintenance and repairs planning and delivery
- Technical Advice and Support
- Event and lettings management
- Project management of capital projects and other logistical matters.
The Williamson Trust is fully cognisant of the importance of communicating its core vision, using all forms of media, to develop a strong brand which is used consistently. The TWT continues to develop both proactive and reactive systems for marketing, PR, and media handling in order to be able to influence key stakeholders. This includes having:
A clear PR strategy that encompasses national, regional and local media – influencing key stakeholders where appropriate
- A media crisis strategy that ensured all key staff are aware of protocols in the event of press enquiries
Consistent procedures for gathering feedback, both internally and externally