Winterbourne secondary to join Olympus Trust

Photo of acting headteacher Peter Smart with students at Winterbourne International Academy.

Winterbourne International Academy (WIA), currently placed in special measures by Ofsted, has been approved to join the Olympus Academy Trust in February 2018.

The school is currently being led on an interim basis by CEO Dave Baker from the Olympus Academy Trust and headteacher Peter Smart on secondment from the Castle School Education Trust. The school currently has approximately 1,820 students on roll including 370 in its sixth form, making it one of the largest secondary schools in South Gloucestershire.

The school is one of the highest-attaining in South Gloucestershire, earning it a place in The Times top 250 schools in the country during 2017. Significantly, however, student progress was lacking, with pupils leaving between 2015 and 2017 making “well below average” progress compared to national averages.

Last year, the school was told it needed to improve financially by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, based on financial projections that the school would be £1 million in deficit by September 2017.

Olympus CEO Dave Baker commented:

“We are pleased to be able to share news that the uncertainty surrounding the future for Winterbourne International Academy has been resolved. The school community is in a strong position to push forward on all fronts for a successful future and we are delighted to welcome them into the Olympus family of schools.”

“The widely reported £1 million deficit no longer exists and the school is paying back the money borrowed from the Education and Skills Funding Agency last autumn, which initiated the financial notice to improve. We expect this notice to be removed and the school to be completely deficit-free very soon.”

“It is notable that although student attainment is consistency high at Winterbourne, progress from Year 7 to Year 11 is currently not good enough. The founder member of Olympus, Bradley Stoke Community School, was the top school in South Gloucestershire based on student progress in 2016 so the potential for us to support rapid improvements at Winterbourne is clear. That said, we know that Winterbourne has a huge amount of expertise that our schools will benefit from, so the advantages go both ways. As a charitable trust our guiding principle is to ensure that all the young people in our care benefit from us being a larger organisation.”

Dave Baker, Executive Head at Bradley Stoke Community School. Photo of Peter Smart.

Above (l-r): Dave Baker (CEO of the Olympus Academy Trust) and Peter Smart (interim principal at Winterbourne International Academy).

This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 6). The magazine is 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 (2nd February 2018)

In a letter to parents issued on 2nd February, Dave Baker wrote:

“Winterbourne International Academy transferred from the Ridings’ Federation to the Olympus Academy Trust yesterday, as planned. Although there were no visible changes and it was very much business as usual with a planned visit from a Department for Education advisor taking place, I hope this will mark the start of a positive new phase for us all. There is still much to do but I hope that we will now be well placed to achieve this within our local partnership.”

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