The Priory Learning Trust - Term 1 – October 2017

An update from Mr. Coles – Executive Principal

Dear All

As we come towards the end of Term 1 I thought it was time for an update. It has been a busy, but very productive six weeks; things are moving quickly in a good way. Staff and students will break at Priory and at Worle next week for a 2-week Autumn break. We will be repeating this in 2018-19.

The good news is that we will probably have six schools within our Trust by April 2018. As you may know, at present we have PCSA and WCSA within the Trust. Two local primary schools, St Anne’s and Castle Batch have also asked to join us; I am pleased to say that the Academy orders are now in place for both these excellent schools to join. We have also been asked to sponsor The King Alfred School at Highbridge and the primary school in Pawlett. A family of six schools will make a strong unit going forward. It will involve around 4,500 children and 700 staff. We will then be able to further add to site improvements and make a real difference to families in our region. I am a very big believer in creating pleasant learning environments and the sites at both Priory and Worle look very clean and tidy with excellent signage – they hopefully make both students and staff want to work and learn at our schools.

There are many advantages in working as a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) but the main focus must always be to improve the quality of teaching and to gain even better results for our children. I am delighted to see GCSE results remaining very strong at Priory this last year. Priory was again the very top school in WSM, by some way, for the Grade 4 + English and Maths score. Almost 70% of students at Priory gained a 4+ in both maths and English. This is the measure that gets students into College and into local Sixth Forms – more below about that! Worle improved by a massive 14% and had 62% 4+ with English and maths – the second best in WSM by about 10%. We are working on the 5+ figures and the new ‘Progress 8’. Results are robust at both schools. Priory has consistently had around 10 years of great results and Worle is coming up strongly. Let’s also not forget all the other super things on offer in terms of music, sport and the wider arts. Both new Principals (Miss Scott and Mrs. McBride) are doing a great job.

Fundamentally, both schools in Worle (WCSA and PCSA) now provide a really good education for our children – this is a really virtuous thing to be able to say – we are very proud of our students, staff and community.

We have held open community events at both PCSA and WCSA this term for potential new parents carers. All were welcomed warmly and I hope everyone went away thinking good things – the feedback to me has been very positive. New parents need to choose a secondary school by the end of October. It benefits us all at both schools if Priory and Worle are full at Year 7 level – so I hope you can spread the good news. Should current parents wish to visit please do let me know. You will see that the fantastic new Spencer Science Centre (2.4million) is now fully open at Priory. We will be opening a new reception area at Worle in November of this year. Both developments are really good for the students and staff. Over the course of the next 12 months we will continue the re-roofing of Worle – not something that is easy to see but vital! We will improve the restaurant facilities at Priory as this school will take in 300 students for the first time in September 2018; the ‘old science block’ will be re-modelled to accommodate new students. Clearly, we will continue to make strong capital bids. These bids are made stronger by us being together as part of a small family of schools.

I am delighted to announce that we have secured 33 teacher training places for 2018-19. We have a Teaching School Alliance based at Priory and this works across all our schools. All of these places are salaried to train as a teacher – 29 secondary places and 4 primary places. This will allow us to have an additional 33 members of staff working across our schools free of charge! This will greatly add to our ability to create smaller class sizes and offer great 1-1 teaching. At the end of the programme we will also hopefully to able to choose the very best of these trainees to work with our children in our schools. So, if you know anyone who wishes to train as a teacher from September 2018 please do contact us at The PLT. This is really significant for the future great results at both Priory and Worle.

It is a very good time to join either school – our children will continue to benefit from small class sizes and we will continue to be able to recruit the best teachers in the South West.

Lastly, a brief note about The King Alfred School (KAS) in Highbridge. This is about 20 minutes from WSM. It is likely that this school will also join us in April 2018. We are supporting KAS at present. I recently attended the Sixth Form evening at KAS, which was really well delivered. The Head of Sixth Form is a charismatic man called Jonathan Gaskell. The Sixth Form is currently around 100 students. Outcomes are truly excellent in terms of progression to some of the top UK universities. Whilst we have always made sure all students have opportunities to visit local colleges we have not had KAS Sixth on our radar. Clearly, it is now. I can only say how impressed I was with the destinations and the facilities. We will now arrange visits to KAS Sixth for our students at both WCSA and PCSA who might want a school based 6th form experience. I know that many parents over the years have asked me about a Priory 6th Form. In some ways it is now likely to be ‘based’ at KAS and this will be the 6th form option within The PLT. Even at this stage please do contact myself or Mr. Gaskell for a talk or a private visit –

As always, please do have a look at our website for more details about The Priory Learning Trust (PLT) – or contact me directly by e-mail. Our pledge is a quick reply and a first class service.

Thank you for your support – please do contact me at anytime and please do visit.


Neville Coles
Executive Principal
The Priory Learning Trust