Bright Tribe

Category: News

Senior Leadership Team Update

Dear Parent / Carer,

I hope, as we approach the start of the new academic year, that you have enjoyed a great summer.

I wanted to write to you today to update you on changes to the leadership of Bright Tribe and of Adventure Learning Academy Trust (ALAT).

You may be aware that new Members and Trustees are now in place, re-establishing separate Boards for both Bright Tribe Trust and for ALAT. Trustees are working to develop strategic direction for each trust individually. Alongside myself, Bright Tribe’s trustees are Sarah Brown, Nikki King OBE and Angela Barry, with Kate Brunt and Teresa Tunnadine as Trust Members; and ALAT trustees are Dave Baker, Alan Edwards, Steve Baber and Anthony Power, with Paul Jones and Lorraine Heath as Members.

I can also update you regarding recent changes to executive leadership. Katie Mason’s resignation at Chief Operating Officer has been confirmed; she leaves on 31st August with my best wishes. I am delighted, however, that Lee Miller has been appointed as Interim Chief Operating Officer. Lee is the Deputy Chief Executive of the high-performing Thinking Schools Academy Trust and brings significant operational experience and expertise which will support delivery of strategic direction as determined by the individual Trust Boards moving forwards. Lee’s role will straddle both Bright Tribe and ALAT to reflect the current common corporate support arrangements.

Additionally, Angela Barry is providing Interim Executive Support across both trusts. She will help to drive strategic direction and provide additional leadership capacity in the immediate future. Angela is a highly experienced education leader, having previously been Chief Executive of a successful multi-academy trust (Woodland Academy Trust) and having served on the Head Teacher Board of the Regional Schools Commissioner for the South East and South London.

The central support teams, including BT(FM) and BTES staff, will continue to service both trusts. The fine detail of recent changes to central staffing, particularly to estates team leadership, are currently being finalised and will be forwarded at the earliest opportunity.

I am sure you will join me in welcoming both Angela and Lee on board.

Yours sincerely,

Ruth Dolan
Bright Tribe Trust

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Trauma Informed Schools UK

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Complaints Policy

BTT Complaints Policy June 18

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Satswana appointed as the Trust Data Protection Officer (DPO)

The Trust have appointed Satswana as the Trust Data Protection Officer (DPO).

Satswana does not only offer organisations a “Data Protection Officer” to meet their legal liability, they back that up with support from deep level skills across the full range of computing, data handling and cyber security. Satswana will be contacting each school to do an ‘Impact Assessment’ which looks at the systems and processes within the school for handling personal data, along with any actions needed and also be providing an hour long training session in each school. You can visit their website for more details-

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Diploma in Trauma and Mental Health – Informed Schools

Diploma in Trauma and Mental Health – Informed Schools

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Colchester Academy rated ‘good’… for the first time in 26 years!

DELIGHTED staff and students are celebrating today after their school was rated “good” for the first time after 26 years.

Colchester Academy was given the rating following an Ofsted visit last month.

Government statistics show it is the fourth best in Colchester in terms of the progress children make while at the school.

Since education body Ofsted was formed in 1992, the academy, which was formerly called Sir Charles Lucas School, has never been awarded a “good” rating – the second best score.

Fiona Pierson, who became the headteacher almost three years ago, put the improvement down to the work of everyone at the school.

She said: “So much work has been put in by everyone here from the staff, to the children, to the parents.

“Having such a great school is something the whole community can look at and be proud of.

“But I think the important thing to say is the job isn’t done and it never will be done because we have to keep up the high standards we’ve set.”

Miss Pierson has also been nominated for Headteacher of the Year 2018 at the Essex Teaching Awards.

She said: “That’s a bit embarrassing really. It’s not just myself who has helped to turn things around so I think it’s recognition for the whole school rather than just myself.

“Of course, I’m grateful to be nominated and shortlisted but I think embarrassing is definitely the word.”

The school was put into special measures in July 2015 when pupils were found to be underachieving.

During the last inspection at the school in December 2015 three of the fours areas on which schools are judged were assessed as “requires improvement”.

But now all four have been ranked good by inspectors who noted teaching, achievement, behaviour and attendance had all improved.

The rating means every secondary school and academy in Colchester now has an Ofsted rating of at least good.


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Re-brokering a new sponsor for The Whitehaven Academy – statement from Bright Tribe Trust

30.11.17 >

In January 2014, The Whitehaven Academy opened under Bright Tribe’s sponsorship. The Trust had hoped to develop a hub of schools in Cumbria, recognising the value of the collaboration and school-to-school support that happens in our other hubs. As we have been unable to grow beyond a single school in Cumbria, we recognise the need to explore alternative sponsor options for Whitehaven Academy.

In the light of this, Bright Tribe has agreed with the DfE and Regional Schools Commissioner that they will pursue alternative options for the school. The process which must be followed to achieve this may take some time and due regard must be given to the sensitivities around managing this action appropriately.

We believe alternative sponsorship is the most appropriate route for the school’s continued improvement journey. Bright Tribe has supported a number of improvements to assist this, including the recruitment of the current senior leadership team. Their strong leadership, including the work of Principal Mr. Warren Turner, was recognised by the most recent Ofsted monitoring inspection, which judged the school to be taking ‘effective action’ towards improvement.

Bright Tribe is aware of the problems with the school’s buildings, which are the result of historical underinvestment prior to the Trust’s involvement. The Trust has carried out numerous works to improve the condition of these buildings, something which was also recognised in the recent Ofsted monitoring report, which states that “the Trust has implemented a planned schedule of remedial work”.
Bright Tribe has continued to lobby at the highest level to secure additional funding for the school’s buildings and grounds, but without success.

The Trust is aware of the increased media activity of late and would ask for a period of calm, to allow all parties to focus on the needs of the school, children and staff. It is essential that the school is able to remain focused on educating the children it serves and driving forward progress around educational improvements at pace.
This will also allow time for Bright Tribe to continue to work with the DfE to determine the best solution for the school’s future success.

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23.11.17 Conversion of Haydon Bridge High School, statement from Bright Tribe Trust

In 2015 Bright Tribe Trust was selected by the Department for Education to sponsor Haydon Bridge High School. Since this time progress relating to the transfer of the school has been hindered by the school’s significant and increasing financial deficit. In the period, the school has seen a significant reduction in the number of pupils on roll and there is no sign of this increasing, in fact there has been a steady decline over the last five years. The comparatively small number of pupils on roll has had an insurmountable impact on the school’s long-term viability.

During the initial period of due diligence, the Trust took effective action to drive up educational outcomes for the school and improve the learning environment. It has invested heavily in the school, putting into place and funding a number of measures, including the appointment of a Regional Executive Principal and Principal to work alongside the school’s existing senior leaders and staff to drive up standards and improve outcomes for students. This is reflected in the improved GCSE results gained across a variety of subjects under the leadership of this team. Bright Tribe has also provided back office support for the school’s finance team and Interim Executive Board, as well as securing a DfE Environmental Improvement Grant which it used to make much needed capital improvements to the premises.

The Trust has been working closely with the DfE, Regional Schools Commissioner and Secretary of State appointed Interim Executive Board however the financial position and long-term viability of the school presents a significant financial risk to the Trust and its portfolio of other schools and Bright Tribe Trust therefore concludes that it can no longer continue to support Haydon Bridge High School.

The IEB, along with headteacher Darren Glover, will continue driving improvements.

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Pilot project tackling tooth decay in Ipswich primary school children

A new dental health project aiming to cut tooth decay in children of primary school age has been launched in Ipswich.

Mayor of Ipswich and nurse Sarah Barber joined leaders from Suffolk County Council at Cliff Lane Primary School to kick-off the fresh scheme this week.

Cliff Lane and Highfield Nursery Primary School are taking part in the pilot, which will support pupils and parents with key tips and advice on keeping teeth healthy.

The trial is part of the ‘Keep Suffolk Smiling’ initiative, which has seen parents given free toothbrushes and toothpaste at their child’s 12-month check-up.

Teachers at the two schools will get help from Suffolk’s community dental health team to deliver important messages about dental health, alongside information to take home for parents.

Although oral health is improving in England, almost a quarter of five-year-olds have tooth decay, and oral health accounts for around £3.4billion per year to the NHS. Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions in children aged five-nine in 2014/15 with more than 24,000 youngsters admissions for an almost entirely preventable disease.

In Suffolk, 79.1% of five-year-olds are free from dental decay, compared to the national average of 75.2%.

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health and chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “It’s good that in Suffolk we have better standards of dental health than across England as a whole, we know more work is needed to better oral health standards for all children in Suffolk.

“This pilot scheme is another way that Suffolk County Council is working hard to give every child in Suffolk the best start in life.”

Mrs Barber, a nurse at Ipswich Hospital, said: “Good dental health from a young age is incredibly important, which is why I wholeheartedly support this project to support teachers and parents to raise awareness of the issue among children.

“By working with Cliff Lane Primary School, among others, we’re hoping to make a real difference to children’s oral health and I am really pleased to be part of this project from the outset.”

Suffolk County Council’s director of public health and protection, Abdul Razaq, was also at the launch event.

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Success for Alde Valley Academy as school is formally recognised to be a ‘Good school’ with ‘Outstanding’ attributes by Ofsted

Alde Valley Academy, Leiston, Suffolk, a Bright Tribe Trust school is celebrating being awarded a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating with ‘Outstanding’ attributes just four years after being judged ‘Inadequate’ and placed in Special Measures by the Department for Education. Ofsted inspectors commented that since the school converted to academy status in 2014, “the level of support given by the Multi Academy Trust has been instrumental in enabling the school to move forward”, and that the Bright Tribe Trust has played an essential role in “quickly identifying the problems and then seeking out and appointing a principal who has so successfully driven change.”

Inspectors also praised the outstanding leadership of the principal Michael Wilson commenting that since his appointment, “the principal has galvanised staff, pupils, parents and the local community to support the school’s rapid improvement under his leadership” and that “leaders of the Multi Academy Trust and the head teacher have a vision for the school which staff share.”

This judgement marks the latest in a series of successes for the school which this summer included 62% of GCSE students gaining a grade 4 and above in mathematics and English combined. Just last week the school also celebrated a positive progress 8 score of +0.46 placing the school significantly above the national average for the progress of its students.

Inspectors commented on the words of one parent who stated that, “this school is now the school that everyone is talking about and considering moving their children here.”

Other improvements noted by inspectors included vastly improved behaviour which they declared to be ‘outstanding’. The report states that the conduct of pupils ‘is exemplary’ and that students, “are polite and welcoming to visitors and engage courteously in conversation, often instigating it.”

Michael Wilson, Principal at Alde Valley Academy said, “This is truly a reflection of the incredible hard work of all our staff, students and parents. Since my arrival three years ago I have witnessed Alde Valley Academy improve dramatically, a reflection of our commitment to high expectations and high standards in every aspect of the school. This is a great boost for the town of Leiston”.

Mary McKeeman, Chief Operations Officer, Bright Tribe Trust commented, “This report represents yet another success for Alde Valley Academy, following on from its hugely improved academic results. With the continued support of staff, pupils and the school community we know Alde Valley Academy can become the outstanding school of choice in the local area. Congratulations to everyone at the school!”


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