All Through Schooling in Bury St Edmunds
This is a time of great change in education nationally. While other schools locally prepare to move to a two-tier system, our schools have already reorganised into the forward looking All-Through system. As a result, all the schools in our Trust are able to focus solely on our core mission of helping every pupil to reach his or her potential by providing a seamless education from 4-19. If you are interested in understanding our approach better, you can read more about how the Trust works. To visit a Trust school web site click on the links at the top of the page.
Pupils at Barrow Primary School took part in an Academy Science day funded by the Trust's Rolls Royce Science Prize finalist's grant, learning about the science behind rockets and the origins of craters.
The Green Light Trust
Autumn 2014 saw the culmination of the first stage of the Trust’s partnership with The Green Light Trust to support our all-through science curriculum using Frithy Wood in Lawshall.
Our two year partnership was marked with a full page celebratory article in the local press and a special day for forty-four year six scientists across our middle phase supported by Science Captains from County Upper’s sixth form. The pupils carried out a number of tasks related to plant surveying, food webs and tree coppicing. Each was given a special wooden disc as a memento.
The Great Jewellery Theft Challenge
Almost 200 pupils from years four and five across the Trust schools spent a morning at Horringer Court working on "The Great Jewellery Theft Challenge". The Challenge was devised to test this term's maths; to give pupils the confidence to apply their maths and to underline that maths is fun. The pupils worked very well together in mixed age and mixed school groups.
Tasked to be detectives, a number of mathematical clues unmasked the criminal. Jack Warboys and Ella Bell, Head Boy and Head Girl at Horringer Court, did a superb job as the Chief Inspectors and a group of year 9 students from County Upper made excellent maths leaders, supporting the teams throughout the morning.
EADT interviews Vicky Neale
As a parent, the EADT’s Liz Nice is worried about the changes to education in Suffolk. Is she right to be? She spoke to headteacher of ‘outstanding’ County Upper School, Vicky Neale. Liz found that 2-tier and 3-tier is already out-of-date:
“It’s all about one tier now, or ‘all-through’ as we call it,” Vicky Neale says. “As far as we’re concerned, that’s what we offer here. One set of governors. One set of values across all the age groups. We have such close links with our primaries and middles that the children are coming here (to the upper school) all the time, so when they do eventually join us at 13, they don’t feel daunted in the way they might have done in the past.”
Liz also found out that performance dips, as a child's education suffers when moving from one school to another, can be a thing of the past:
"Some evidence suggests that children’s education is affected by a move and that they can take up to a term to recover, but Mrs Neale says that with the new trust this is no longer the case, because the curriculum and assessment in every subject is planned from 4-18. She shows me the plan for Spring Term: science morning at Barrow, speaker day at Howard, maths morning at Horringer, concert at the Apex and art display for all… The programme reads like one school because, Vicky argues, it is."
The real problem will be with the number of places. “Horringer and Westley are already full in years 5 and 6 and many parents of younger pupils tell us that they are going to make the move,” Vicky says.
The wider picture
Liz also looked more generally at the future of education. “The new GCSEs and A-levels are exceptionally hard,” says Vicky. “We are going back to the ’60s and ’70s, when only 5% of pupils got A-levels, only nowadays we need to get a far higher percentage of pupils through. Whilst it is good to challenge the very bright, many pupils will find it very hard indeed. Our system is designed for those who can do the academic side but it completely ignores the practical. Which is why industry, the CBI and Government are crying out for more engineers and practical skills.”
Vicky believes the future lies in proper technical education; not at separate technical colleges, where children can get stuck if they make the wrong choice, but within a trust of schools, so that schools can offer two pathways and children can move between them if necessary until they find the right path for them.
DfE Commends Trust
The new Regional Commissioner for the Eastern Region hosted a reception at Downing College Cambridge for successful Trusts across North East London, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, Peterborough and Suffolk. The trust was extremely pleased to be one of those selected and to receive our commendation from the Master of Selwyn College, Roger Mosey.
The certificate recognises our ‘passion, commitment and determination to raise standards, to improve the education of pupils in this region and ensure excellence becomes the norm’. It was presented to Vicky Neale on behalf of the Trust.
Tollgate Headship Appointment
Alison Earl has served as Tollgate Primary's executive head since March to help bring 'rapid improvements' and has now been appointed permanent headteacher.
She recently oversaw the school's move to academy status which allowed it to join All-Through Trust. The move follows the departure of Tollgate head David Hicks and sees her leave her role as head at the 'outstanding' rated Barrow Primary, which is also part of the Trust and is now led by acting head Helen Ashe.
It was just two years after her first headteacher appointment that Mrs Earl scored a double 'outstanding' by leading Barrow CEVC Primary School from an Ofsted rating of good to one of outstanding, as well as achieving an outstanding for the Church inspection too.
Mrs Earl said: "I've loved my time at Barrow so I'm pleased that the two schools will be working closely together in the All-Through Trust. I firmly believe that there is a moral purpose in helping every child to achieve their potential. I look forward to a partnership with the local community to lead the school so that it becomes a flagship for outstanding teaching and learning."
She is joined by new deputy head Georgie Bateman, who comes from Westley Middle School, and three new class teachers. Tollgate was taken out of special measures when it became an academy on July and Mrs Earl said they expected an inspection by Ofsted in spring or summer.
John George, chairman of governors, added: "Securing outstanding leadership is another step towards the goal of achieving higher standards and increasing pupil progress. Since we've been working with the all-through trust we've already made many significant changes."
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