The Members and Directors of Uffculme Academy Trust have never had the ambition to ‘take over the world’. We will only join with other individual schools and existing MATs where we feel that we can add value and make a real difference or where we feel that a school or MAT can bring strength to the Trust. We aim to focus on Mid and East Devon and South and West Somerset rather than trying to spread too thinly across the region.
We would not see any school or MAT joining us as a ‘takeover’ but a partnership in the best interests of all the students and employees within the Trust.
Leadership and governance
Our Board of Directors has both a strong Education and Business Focus. A number of Directors have been involved with the school for many years and they have been joined by new Directors who bring with them specific skills in finance, property and senior management.
There is no set Governance structure for schools joining the Trust. Each would be looked at on an individual basis to ensure that the structure was the best possible fit and we regularly review our Scheme of Delegation to ensure that it responds to the needs of the Trust and the schools and academies within it.
Lorraine Heath, the Trust's Chief Executive Officer, was Headteacher of Uffculme School since 2008. In 2013 Lorraine was elected on to the Regional Headteacher Board where she works with a number of Headteachers of outstanding schools on the Academies programme for the region. She has also recently joined the Board of Richard Huish College Trust and became a National leader in Education in 2017. In 2019 her services to education were recognised with the award of an OBE.
A flexible approach to governance
We recognise that schools and academies joining us will be at different stages of development in terms of teaching and learning standards and attainment. For this reason, we will not impose a set governance model but will look at each case individually. The amount of control that is taken centrally by the Trust will depend on the circumstances of each school and academy. We would see there being detailed conversations with each prospective partner as to how they could fit into the structure and the degree of support given from the Trust.
The financial implications of joining our Trust
We have no ‘one size fits’ all answer as to how we charge schools joining our Trust. Different schools will need differing levels of support. In some cases, support will need to be local and in others it can be delivered centrally. We have a 'Core Offer' that includes Leadership, Governance, School Improvement and Financial Oversight. In addition to this, schools can choose to buy in to the following support packages:
- A full finance package
- Premises & facilities Management
- ICT Strategy & Procurement
- ICT Help Desk.
Groups of schools and academies can find it easier to find and fund specialist expertise (specialist support and teachers, finance, IT, etc). By sharing costs and negotiating for the Trust as a whole, we can ensure that all individual needs from each of our schools are met efficiently, financially and professionally. The economies of scale and collective purchasing made possible within larger groups can help schools cope better with shrinking budgets.
The Trust has strong senior and middle leaders who offer a wealth of experience on school to school support. Projects that the Trust has worked on to support other schools are:
- Support and training for senior and middle leadership teams
- Coaching to improve teaching and learning with individuals and teams
- NPQH placements
- Pupil Premium workshops and audits
- Curriculum planning
- Data tracking, assessment and intervention
- Staff appraisal
- Development and maintenance of ICT platforms and infrastructure
- Initial Teacher Training.
We recognise that schools joining the Trust will employ people with skills, expertise and experience that can be shared across the MAT. This creates real development opportunities for both middle and senior leaders.
Our teaching school, The West Country Teaching School Alliance, ensure that all staff within the Trust have access to professional development. Courses are run throughout the year based on the development needs of our staff, including leadership development programmes. The Teaching School Alliance allows us to bring experts in education to the South West, reducing the need to travel all around the country for CPD courses.
We also encourage collaboration amongst the students within the Trust. For example giving student councilors the opportunity to visit their counterparts in other schools to learn from each other.
We are fortunate to have a wide range of expertise across the existing schools within the Trust to support our partners in all areas of the running of a school.
Our ICT team have experience in supporting ICT in both Primary and Secondary schools and are now offering their services to local businesses.
Our SENCO has a strong track record in running an outstanding SEN provision and in gaining additional funds for students.
Our site team have a range of electrical, plumbing and carpentry skills which can be shared across the Trust
Our Finance Team has many years of experience of Academy Accounting and meeting the requirements of the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
Find out more
We welcome enquiries about our work from schools, academies and MATs and are committed to collaboration that supports children and young people in their education. Please use our contact page to get in touch.
If you share our mission to provide outstanding educational experiences to all the children and young people who are educated within the Trust and are interested in joining us, we look forward to hearing from you. Please use our contact page to get in touch.