City Learning Trust To Drive World Class Education System in Stoke-on-Trent

A new multi-academy trust is set to launch in Stoke-on-Trent with a mission to create a world-class education system in the city by 2020.

Initially Holden Lane Primary School, Mill Hill Primary School and Smallthorne Primary School will form the trust with Haywood Academy and, from September 2015, Haywood Sixth Form Academy.

City Learning Trust Chief Executive, Carl Ward said: “Michelangelo famously said ‘The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.’ That’s the thinking behind the City Learning Trust.

“Right now, the UK’s education system is in a state of change, moving to less central government involvement in favour of local control.  This provides a great opportunity to take the lead and create a system that our community deserves.”

The schools have now begun a four-week consultation period with parents with the view to converting to Multi-Academy Trust status in the early months of 2015.

The goals of the new multi-academy are: to give students the skills and qualifications they need to do well in a vocation or Higher Education; to develop their literacy, numeracy, resilience, resourcefulness, enterprise, technological literacy and adaptability; to take care of the most vulnerable students; to build partnerships with great schools; to work with business leaders to inspire entrepreneurship and teach employability skills; and to develop leaders and team workers who play an active role in public life.

Carl Ward said: “Our City Learning Trust students will need to be lifelong learners in order to adapt to a changing workplace.  Their working life will be longer than any generation before and some of the job opportunities that will become available to them haven’t even been thought of yet.”

The City Learning Trust has impressive plans in place to meet these objectives.

An education improvement team is in place to support the academies, working to help them to deliver their targets, share strategies and best practice, and also to bring in ideas from national and international schools.

A progression charter will set out the success criteria for academies in the trust, from pre-school to pre-university.

Parents and families will be able to access advice, guidance and training relating to the education of students in primary and secondary academies.

The trust will provide strategies to help children who are at risk of under achieving to be successful and to challenge and stretch the most able students, extending their own expectations of what they can achieve.

There will be a focus on improved teaching with an outstanding teachers programme to enable top performers to coach and support others, a newly qualified teacher programme and special conferences and network meetings to continuously improve standards.

An executive leadership team will support and challenge academies to deliver improved teaching, with secondments and exchanges to share skills, fill vacancies and develop capabilities that add value to the learning of students.

The transition of all year six children from a City Learning Trust Primary Academy to secondary school will be monitored to ensure there is no loss of learning and a year five to year eight middle years literacy and numeracy curriculum will improve core subject progression.

The new Haywood Sixth Form Academy already has strategic partnerships with local and national Higher Education partners and also with businesses to assist students in their transition to university or employment.

There will also be a careers and guidance strategy that enables young people to articulate their aspirations and understand how to fulfil them.

Carl Ward said: “We need to prepare our students for a changing global, political, social and economic world.  By doing that we will enable them, their children and the community of Stoke-on-Trent to prosper.”

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The staff here are excited about the extensive opportunities for collaborative working, sharing of teaching and learning expertise and resources and partnership development work, all of which will provide excellent learning opportunities for the children of our city.

Sharon Bates

Headteacher, Mill Hill Primary School