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Olympus Academy Trust looks set to expand

Posted on Sunday 8th May 2016 at 10:03 pm by SH (Editor)

Dave Baker, Executive Head at Bradley Stoke Community School.

The Olympus Academy Trust (OAT), which currently comprises four local schools, including founding member Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS), has announced that it is in talks with four further schools about possibly joining the trust.

The news comes just weeks after the government announced that all schools will be required to become academies by 2022, although OAT says it had been in discussions with the four potential new member schools “for several months, and well in advance of the recent government announcement”.

The schools which have requested to join OAT are Patchway Community College, Stoke Lodge Primary School, Callicroft Primary School and Filton Hill Primary School.

Writing in the BSCS school newsletter before the recent announcement, Dave Baker, executive headteacher and CEO, said:

“We are clear that we need to be a bit bigger as an organisation to be able to benefit from economies of scale for joint procurement and to provide our own school improvement services.”

Statement issued by the Olympus Academy Trust (OAT)

On 23rd March, the Board of Directors agreed to the following plan of action, based on requests from the following schools to join OAT:

  • To enable Patchway Community College (already an academy) to join OAT, subject to appropriate financial support from the Department for Education
  • To conduct due diligence with a view to Filton Hill Primary School joining OAT
  • To conduct due diligence with a view to Stoke Lodge Primary School and Callicroft Primary School (already academies within the Cosmos Academy Trust) joining OAT. The Cosmos Academy Trust would cease to exist as a multi-academy trust.

All of these schools are located within our local partnership area and we already have close working relationships with them. Some pupils from all the primaries already transfer to OAT secondaries at the start of Year 7 and Patchway is a key partner in the Concorde Partnership which provides all our shared post 16 and some Key Stage 4 courses. The Board of Directors recognises that some additional support will be needed from the Trust for these schools if they join OAT but also that they will bring additional expertise and capacity into the Trust when they join. The earliest any of these schools could join OAT would be September 2016 and we would aim to complete the transfer for all of them by the start of 2017 unless there are unforeseen difficulties.

We wanted to share this information with you at the earliest opportunity but it is important to say that the decision about whether any or all of these proposals can proceed ultimately lies with the Regional Schools Commissioner for the South-West. A new Commissioner, Rebecca Clark, starts in post at the beginning of May and we will be discussing our plans with her at the earliest opportunity. Our priority remains making sure that whatever size and whatever structure the Trust is, each school will be focusing on providing the best possible education for its learners with support and challenge from OAT. We will provide you with updates over the coming weeks and an opportunity to come and discuss the proposals with us.

Statement in full: Potential Growth of The Olympus Academy Trust

Photo: Dave Baker, executive headteacher and CEO

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

Postscript (6th May): Government climbdown over forced academies plan in England (BBC)

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2 Responses to “Olympus Academy Trust looks set to expand”

  1. SH (Editor) Says:

    Here is an update about the various proposals:

    The Regional Schools Commissioner and Headteacher Board have approved Patchway Community College joining The Olympus Academy Trust but, as yet, there has been no agreement about funding support so we are in a state of limbo while negotiations continue. However, we are supporting Patchway with the appointment of a new Headteacher for September in the meantime.

    We hope to have a decision in mid-June from the Regional Schools Commissioner and Headteacher Board about Filton Hill Primary School joining The Olympus Academy Trust as a sponsored academy at the start of September.

    We hope to have a decision in mid-June too about Callicroft and Stoke Lodge Primary Schools joining The Olympus Academy Trust at the start of September. They are already academies within The Cosmos Academy Trust which would cease to exist.

    There is a great deal for us to do to plan for September and still some uncertainty because of the timing of decisions. We will share plans about changes to some of our ways of working once we have confirmation about who is joining us and when.

    Although we do not need to run a formal consultation, we would welcome feedback. Please send any comments you have about the above proposal to my PA, Sarah Gardner: sarah.gardner@olympustrust.co.uk by Monday 6th June.

    Our priority remains making sure that whatever size and whatever structure the Trust is, each school will be focusing on providing the best possible education for its learners with support and challenge from the Trust. Thank you for your continued support.

    Dave Baker, CEO and Executive Headteacher

    (Extract from BSCS newsletter on 20th May 2016)

  2. SH (Editor) Says:

    Further update:

    We had confirmation last week from the Regional Schools Commissioner’s office that we have approval for Callicroft, Filton Hill and Stoke Lodge Primary Schools to join the Trust in September. This is not news in the sense that we had shared previously that this is what we hoped would happen. It will be challenging to complete all the planning and preparation to enable this to happen but we will do our utmost to complete the transition for the start of the school year. We will share details in future newsletters about what the implications will be for our leadership and governance structures in order to ensure the growth has positive impact across the Trust.

    Dave Baker, CEO and Executive Headteacher

    (Extract from BSCS newsletter on 24th June 2016)

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