Posts Tagged ‘Olympus Academy Trust’

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Winterbourne secondary to join Olympus Trust

Posted on Monday 12th February 2018 at 9:50 pm by SH (Editor)

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.”

More: "The widely reported £1 million deficit no longer exists" »

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Ex-BSCS student now has former head as ‘boss’

Posted on Friday 29th December 2017 at 10:22 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Dave Baker with Amelia Newport at Charborough Road Primary School.

One of the first cohort of students to attend Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) has found that she now has her former headteacher as ‘boss’ after taking on her first full-time job since completing her A-levels at the school.

Amelia Newport, who started at BSCS in 2005 and progressed to be amongst the first entrants into the school’s brand new Post-16 centre in 2010, is now a fully qualified teacher on the staff of Charborough Road Primary School.

The Filton primary, like BSCS, is a member of the Olympus Academy Trust (OAT), which means that Amelia is now on first name terms with her ultimate boss, OAT chief executive officer Dave Baker, who was her headteacher during her early years at BSCS.

Her new job is the latest in a series of educational ‘firsts’ for Amelia, which began when she started at Bradley Stoke’s Wheatfield Primary School when it first opened its doors in 1998.

Speaking to the Journal, Amelia explained how she believes learning in brand new environments inspired her to make the most of the educational opportunities on offer and eventually take up teaching as a profession: “Growing up I always liked school and a massive part of that was the teachers who dedicated their time to giving me the best possible education I could have received. I was lucky enough to go to not only one, but two brand new schools built in the Bradley Stoke area.”

“At BSCS, I was fortunate to enjoy a purpose built building with a team who had created a unique and fun learning environment. It was there that I was able to begin to looking into the possibility of becoming a teacher, the career I’d wanted since I turned 7 after having a string of fantastic and enthusiastic teachers at Wheatfield Primary School.”

After finishing her GCSEs, Amelia studied English Language, History and Geography in the BSCS sixth form. This was followed by a three-year undergraduate degree course at the University of the West of England where she studied Education, Learning and Development.

Amelia continued: “My degree focused on the importance of student voice in teaching and how to work with children to build the best learning environments for them using their ideas and understanding. During my dissertation work I actually went back to Wheatfield and used its fantastic parental engagement skills for the basis of my thesis. It was surreal to go back and be sat across from Mrs (Lois) Haydon, one of the women who had made me want to teach in the first place nearly fifteen years previously.”

More: "I just need to make sure I don’t slip up and call Dave ‘Sir’" »

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Trust warns of looming funding crisis at BSCS

Posted on Friday 17th March 2017 at 11:49 pm by SH (Editor)

Bradley Stoke Community School.

Parents of students attending Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) have been warned of a looming financial crisis that could lead to the school day being shortened and/or class sizes being increased in order to save on staff costs.

Other “unthinkable” cost-saving suggestions being put up for discussion include reducing support roles, such as teaching assistants, and asking parents/carers to make regular financial contributions to the school.

The funding issues, which affect all seven schools operated by the Olympus Academy Trust, are said to result from historically low levels of government funding for schools within South Gloucestershire, in comparison with other areas of the country. This has left the trust with less money in reserves to fall back on in hard times. On top of this, it is claimed that government funding has not been increased to compensate for inflation and increased costs that have fallen on schools in recent years.

Trust CEO Dave Baker said:

“We have had to make cuts year-on-year for several years now because of the government’s ‘austerity’ policy, which has meant ‘flat’ budgets for education – in reality this has meant reduced funds to run our schools each year because we have had to pay for things along the way which previously we did not have to pay for, such as increased employer pension and national insurance contributions for staff, the apprenticeship levy (a new tax from April this year), unfunded cost of living pay awards for staff, inflationary costs, provision of services that were funded externally before, e.g. careers advice and guidance, behaviour and mental health support for students etc.”

Mr Baker predicts that the trust’s expected funding levels for the next academic year (2017/18) will make it their “most challenging year yet”. The trust’s two secondary schools, BSCS and Abbeywood, are likely to be hit hardest, with both having to “reduce spending by over 8 percent by September”, equating to £400,000 less in each school.

More: Parents encouraged to write to local MP Jack Lopresti »

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School leaders celebrate Duke of Edinburgh’s Award success at Buckingham Palace

Posted on Saturday 25th June 2016 at 9:31 am by SH (Editor)

Olympus Academy Trust leaders at a Duke of Edinburgh's Award presentation.

Olympus Academy Trust (OAT) leaders were recently invited to attend a once-in-a-lifetime Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) Gold Award presentation at Buckingham Palace, London. At the event, the trust was presented with a special plaque from the DofE charity, acknowledging their commitment to running the DofE and thanking the organisation for giving young people the opportunity to transform their lives.

The DofE is celebrating its diamond anniversary throughout 2016, having supported millions of young people in the UK and across the globe to achieve the awards since it was founded in 1956.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Earl of Wessex and HRH The Countess of Wessex joined those that were present including school leaders, charities, corporate sponsors, and of course most importantly, many young people who have completed their Gold Awards over the last 60 years!

Led by the Olympus Academy Trust, Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) has been delivering the DofE for four years. In that time, more than 60 of its young people have achieved a DofE award after volunteering in their community, learning a skill, getting fit and going on an expedition.

Participation continues to grow, with another group of 55 students currently working towards their awards from across the Trust.

The award is widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people.

More: Students encouraged to push themselves outside comfort zone »

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