The Priory Learning Trust - Term 2 – December 2017

An update from Mr. Coles – Executive Principal

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Director of TPLT –

Dear Parents and Carers,

As we approach the Christmas break, I thought it would be a good opportunity to provide a short update from The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT). Can I also take this chance to wish everyone a very happy Christmas holiday and a hugely prosperous new year in 2018. Thank you, as parents / carers, for your support of TPLT’s staff over this last term.

There has been much to celebrate in our schools this term. All this good news is highlighted in our termly magazine / newsletters; these will be with you during the course of this next week. However, I’d encourage you to follow our schools on Twitter or on Facebook; there have been many really great things happening. Facebook and Twitter (although not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’) do allow us to showcase daily the many great positive examples of the work and actions of our students, teachers and support staff at both of our schools. There really is a great deal to be very proud of, such as the great charity work ongoing at both PCSA and WCSA. Thank you for your support of Ataxia UK and MacMillan Cancer Support this term. Can I stress that you can contact the schools directly by e-mail if you need further information or have particular issues to discuss with our school leaders. You can also come direct to me if you need quick answers. We pride ourselves on getting back to parents / carers very quickly. Again, thank you for your support. Staff contact details are on TPLT website and on the individual school websites.

Currently, there are two schools within TPLT; the 11-16 schools at Priory (PCSA) and at Worle (WCSA). In April 2018 two primary schools, Castle Batch and St Anne’s will be joining the Trust. We are already working very closely with Mrs. Dupras (Headteacher at Castle Batch) and Mrs. Dadds (Headteacher at St Anne’s). In April both schools will add ‘Academy’ to the title of the school. There will be no changes to their culture. Both schools are already aligned very closely with our ethos of putting STUDENTS and CHILDREN FIRST. Both of these partner schools have had very positive OfSTED reports this term – our congratulations. Plans are now well advanced for this significant legal change for both primaries to join TPLT. Going forward, we will be finding ways for our teachers and support staff from primary and secondary schools to work even more effectively together. It is, for us, about outcomes and making learning more effective for both staff and students. Therefore, from April, there will be four schools within the Trust and, as such, there will be over 3,000 children with TPLT family. TPLT focus is simply remembered by GO PLT; great Governance, great Outcomes, great People, Limited Growth and Team Building. All are equally important but, rest assured, we are absolutely focussed on outcomes for our children in our community. We are in a strong position financially. You will be able to see our most recent accounts on TPLT website in the very near future. One of the driving forces for becoming a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) was to try to maintain strong finances in tough times for school funding. I am delighted to report that we have record numbers of students / parents choosing our schools next year. There is a 14% increase in first choices for Worle and another amazing 9% increase at Priory! I hope this is a reflection of the great work of the Trust and the schools have done in this last year. For example, we have opened the new Spencer Science Centre at PCSA and the new Jill Dando Centre at WCSA. The new reception block at Worle is now fully open – this makes a huge difference. We are very passionate about developing facilities. We have again submitted to the Department for Education several significant capital bids to further improve the amenities at our schools. We will know in May if we have been successful; we have a great track record. Already planned and funded are the new developments at PCSA. From February – October 2018, the old science block is being renovated into 8 ‘state-of-the-art’ classrooms. Furthermore, the restaurant is being extended ready to welcome 300 new students this coming September. We will also be extending the bike sheds in 2018-19 – the number of students now cycling to school is remarkable and this should be further encouraged.

Lastly, a brief note about The King Alfred School (TKAS), Highbridge. It is likely that TKAS will become part of TPLT in 2018 – it is an 11 – 19 school. We are currently working with this school and making really good progress. Highbridge is about 20 minutes from W-S-M. Sixth Form outcomes at TKAS are truly excellent in terms of progression to some of the top UK universities. Whilst we have always made sure all our students have opportunities to visit local colleges and schools we have not really had TKAS Sixth on our ‘radar’. Clearly, it is now. I can only say how impressed I was with the destination data and the facilities. We will now arrange visits to TKAS 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 / Worle 6th Form option. Parents / students interested might like to initially contact the Head of Sixth Form at TKAS – We will provide more opportunities for students and parents to visit TKAS in 2018. We will be looking at transport options in 2018.

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 feel free to contact me at any time.

Please do have a great Christmas break.

Neville Coles
Executive Principal – TPLT
Twitter – @nevillecoles