Rush Common School – well above national KS2 RWM results at EXP and GD in summer 2022, and above in EYFS GLD, phonics in Year 1, and end of KS1 assessments and above in GPS EXP and GD.
Rush Common School – continues to be a ‘Good’ school - Ofsted Nov 2021.
Ofsted grade from RI to Good at John Mason School May 2019, with sixth form graded outstanding.
- Fitzharrys School – well above national GCSE results in summer 2022 students achieving nearly half a grade higher in their exams than students nationally.
- Joint Sixth Form – JMF6 – 2022 A-level results - along with higher numbers of students taking exams this summer (nearly twice at Fitzharrys and a third higher at John Mason) the average point score per entry was up 5 points at Fitzharrys and up just over a point at John Mason, with increases in % A*/A, A*-B in both schools.
Rush Common School's intake into Reception is now at capacity and Fitzharrys School role has increased from 577 in 2018 to 721 in 2023. John Mason School has remained mostly full.
Attendance levels are above national in the primary phase and around national in the secondary schools.
There is a cross-Trust group including DSLs, safeguarding governors, safeguarding trustee and CEO where we share challenges and solutions, learning and great ideas providing a network for governors and DSLs to share the burden and secure support in this critical aspect of education. Internal reviews each year with an external review of safeguarding every 3 years, demonstrate Ofsted school reports agree there is a strong culture of safeguarding.
Alongside the Trust’s training and development network, governors can talk to governors in the other schools and discuss issues and solutions, for example, in ensuring positive impact of the Pupil Premium, or SEND pupils’ progress and attainment, or attendance. Support for the Head’s appraisal is given, and the Trust ‘governance team’ and executive are also available to offer advice or support when asked.
This is strongly supported through formal courses (NPQSL,NPQH, for example) as well as mentoring and coaching, visits to others schools and settings, attending conferences, work shadowing, secondment and full induction for new Heads.
Teacher development is key to any school improvement and there is a cross-Trust Teacher Professional Pathways programme devised each year based on the schools’ priorities and career stages of staff. This strongly supports growth and promotion – whether internal or external. We believe we should not just ensure the best quality of staff for our own students but also have a duty to provide the next cadre of great school leaders (at all levels) for the sector.
There is a budget to support Trust-wide priorities that are identified such as SEND, increased mental health concerns in pupils, literacy, and so on. Governors and Heads can access this budget, to supplement their own improvement activity.
We have groups looking at literacy and pupil premium, and in the secondary phase, Maths, English networks. We want to extend these with more primary schools joining the Trust.
External annual assurance
Each year, the Trust commissions external reviews so that we can be sure that the judgements of our school leaders and executive are accurate. These reports provide verification for governors to know that their schools are moving in the right direction, and provide evidence of positive impact.
Financial and budgetary
Local authority maintained schools lose 8% as a top slice to pay for the services provided by the LA, and then there are the additional paid-for services through the annual SLA.
The Trust charges a 6% topslice, which pays for all of the above and insurance, payroll, H&S and so on. Schools immediately make a 2% saving.
Additionally we are able to secure further savings for schools through procuring as a Trust – whether it is catering supplies, energy or cleaning or ICT. All savings go back to schools.
This provides significant resilience when staff salaries go up nationally and we can support schools through the Trust reserve, ensuring that front-line staff aren’t affected.
We are able to apply for grants and funding that local authority schools cannot. For example, we had a £1.12 Million grant from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to replace old boilers with new air source heat pumps.
We have also had £2.357M from the Condition Improvement Fund for all three schools. This grant is only available to academies.
Lastly, with a Trust Central Team, there is always support and back up if something goes wrong.
Adding value to our communities
We actively encourage local groups to use our indoor and outdoor and sports facilities in all three schools.
Our primary school offers events for their area and we are investing substantially in bringing the independent Rush Common Preschool into dedicated refurbished accommodation on Rush Common School site.
In September, we will have the first Student Council meeting representing all three schools and Abingdon and Witney College, with the aim to improve what it is like to live locally.
We offer work observation and experience to students from Kingfisher (Special) School.
This academic year we have a number of collaborative projects working with schools beyond our Trust. The first is looking at SEMH and how we can provide more effectively for students in our schools and in two local schools who have joined us in this. Money was set aside to allow for release of key staff to research and visit other settings to look at effective practice aiming to bring ideas and recommendations back to the schools involved but also to the wider Partnership of Schools.
Similarly, we are working with a few primaries to set up an initial pilot year of Alternative Provision for 23/24 school year.
We would also welcome any thoughts or ideas that you might have for a collaborative project, or if you would like to discuss anything further. Please contact the CEO, Dr Fiona Hammans on CEO@abingdonlearningtrust.org