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Thinking of joining the Castleman Academy Trust (CAT)?
We want every school in our Trust to be able to shape its own character, frame its own ethos and develop its own specialism, free of either central or local bureaucratic constraint. Anyone joining the CAT “family” at this exciting time will be instrumental in determining the future direction of the Trust.
The Trust’s values and principles have been developed to enable that to happen making the benefits of joining unique to each school. However, there are three generic advantages to working with the Trust.
Outstanding Teaching and Learning
Everyone knows that the quality of a school system cannot exceed the quality of its individual teachers and that effective leadership is the key to excellent teaching. For that reason, leadership and teaching are our focus. The CAT offers support from outstanding head teachers from the primary, secondary and special school contexts with a proven track record of success. Additional capacity is provided by leaders from our Teaching School Alliance, including a pool of Leading Teachers and Specialist Leaders in Education. Outstanding teachers from within our family of schools also support teachers in neighbouring schools. All this is underpinned by a relentless pursuit of ensuring Leaders and all staff are able to focus on delivering excellent teaching and learning.
The CAT is a values driven organisation, transparent and one that is committed to sustainable improvement. The pupils, teachers and leaders joining the CAT help shape its development and just as they are challenged and supported by their peers so too is the Trust by them. That is why Headteachers formally review each other’s schools once a year (using the “Schools Partnership Programme from CfBT) and the Trust is subject to external review from specific partners. We want to ensure that all parts of our organisation are self-sustaining and self-regulating including the Trust itself and that is why honesty, openness and clarity are so important. The Leadership Group, made up of the Headteachers of schools in the Trust meet regularly to discuss issues and agree recommendations for strategic elements of the Board’s work.
We believe that sustainable school improvement can only happen if schools are supported and challenged by other schools or partners. Partnership within a range of networks, and autonomy at a local level is what we offer so that individual schools and the network as a whole develops and grows. That is why our school leaders take responsibility for each other and celebrate their success. That is why teachers across the Trust schools meet on a regular basis to help one another develop effective improvement strategies. That is why training happens across schools and subjects on a regular basis.
Schools in the Trust support and partner each other, share resources and offer genuine challenge. We believe that the primary phase has a vested interest in supporting the early years as does the secondary the primary phase, but equally the early years will want to see its young people continue to succeed at primary school just as the primary schools will want its learners to flourish at secondary.
Working together enables resources to be shared and savings made. Procuring services together can lead to significant savings that can be reinvested into teaching and learning. Resources can be deployed more flexibly, for example staff can be shared which improves quality at reduced cost. Some teachers and support staff have also ‘swapped’ their schools which supports their development and improves the schools. The costs of back office functions such as HR and Finance support can be shared, leading to savings and working together also significantly improves our purchasing power.
The Trust believes that by keeping the number of schools within its remit to a level that is manageable, it is able to work closely with all of its schools, staff and children. Trust Directors are fully aware that through schools working closely together, successes are easier to achieve. Therefore the trust is committed to keeping the number of schools to a manageable limit.
Schools who are currently with the Trust feel that this approach has enabled success to arrive quickly and has meant that the Trust is fully aware of each of its school's needs. School improvement is carried out with schools and not done to schools. School leaders are very much part of the school improvement planning process and value this approach.