CEO Blog

February 2021

Welcome to our three new schools who joined the Trust on 1 February.  Long Eaton, Lees Brook and Merrill Academy, three large secondary academies in Derby and Derbyshire, joined us this month.  I want to welcome all the staff, parents and young people that attend those academies and just say we are incredibly excited to … Continue reading February 2021

January 2021

So the new term got off to a rather strange start as schools opened for one day and then closed again.  The national lock down feels very different this time as staff and students brace themselves for online learning that is now very much a part of our real school experience. As we emerge from … Continue reading January 2021

December 2020

Christmas beckons, but it might not be Christmas as we recognise it! From virtual nativity plays to virtual carol services to virtual staff events life has gone online.  This is not always a bad thing when we discover that we can jointly work on projects across lots of sites and produce a wonderful celebratory piece … Continue reading December 2020

November 2020

This month has seen us really grappling with growing Covid numbers.  As we wrestle to keep schools open there is an increasing need to send groups of young people home.  As schools we are becoming experts in tracking, tracing and sending close contacts home.  We have a wide range of new words we are using … Continue reading November 2020

October 2020

As we all develop new skills in working in a virtual environment, it was with great pleasure that we held our Trust Leadership Conference in October.  Over thirty leaders from across the Trust met together to evaluate the past year, plan for the future and to contribute to high quality debates about the future shape … Continue reading October 2020

September 2020

After months of lock down being able to welcome children back into our academies has been such a joyful experience.  Whatever the rights and wrongs of safety, the confusion of last minute opening guidance, there is no escaping the delight on the faces of our young people as they returned to school.  We humans are … Continue reading September 2020

July 2020

It was wonderful to see so many people attend our ‘Virtual Staff Awards’ ceremony last night.  During these challenging times it has been amazing to see the staff body come together in mutual support, reaching out to students and one another.  Watching the videos and reading the comments made about staff who have gone the … Continue reading July 2020

June 2020

Our students are starting to come back into schools!  Despite staying open for key worker and vulnerable children it has been so lovely to see larger numbers of students now attending school every day.  Year 6, Year 1, Year 10 and Year 12 are now finally back with us and it is brilliant.  I can … Continue reading June 2020

May 2020

May is normally a time when schools become places of hushed expectation.  Long lines of young people file silently into exam halls and the staff hold their breath, cross their fingers and wish good luck to children who they have nurtured and grown for 5 or even 7 years. This year is different.  All the … Continue reading May 2020

April 2020

What a month!  The schools are quiet (apart from those with key worker children in them) staff are working from home and the daily Covid 19 statistics seem unimaginable.  Just a few weeks ago the government put us all into ‘lockdown’ and we are now having to work out what all of that means. I … Continue reading April 2020

March 2020

During March we were incredibly privileged to host a visit by Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT (the schools, students and teachers network).  The SSAT networks offer membership to schools in all phases of education across the country and worldwide. Establishing strong communities of schools that connect like-minded school leaders and teachers.  For more information … Continue reading March 2020

February 2020

It appears that love is in the air as Valentine’s Day this year falls in term time and not during half term.  Students seem to be wandering around with roses, balloons and copious amounts of chocolate.  Although I am not sure about all of these extravagant displays of affection I do know we could all … Continue reading February 2020

January 2020

This year really began in style as the entire Trust met together in Nottingham’s prestigious Albert Hall.  Our Festival of Learning was based around what being a part of the Trust really means and how working together we are better than working separately.  Or as our mission statement puts it; “Working together, transforming lives.”  We … Continue reading January 2020

December 2019

I am incredibly excited and proud to announce that on Friday 13th December, Bluecoat Wollaton was officially designated the status of ‘World Class’.  World Class Schools Quality Mark is a UK charity that awards a quality mark to non-selective state schools that offer the best education to young people in the UK.  Unlike other national … Continue reading December 2019

November 2019

This month over 30 leaders from across the Trust met together in central Nottingham and explored together some of the most important issues facing us in the education sector.  Ably facilitated by Toby Greany and Jane Creasy we explored themes to do with vision, strategic direction, identity and culture.  The opportunities of genuine curricular change … Continue reading November 2019

October 2019

As the nights draw in and the mornings become colder, it becomes harder and harder to leave the warmth of a cosy bed.  During these months we depend on the deep motivation that makes us, quite literally in this case, get out of bed in the morning.  For all of us this motivation might be … Continue reading October 2019

September 2019

So the new term has started and all the schools in the Trust are full of happy shiny youngsters proudly sporting their new school uniforms and new shoes.  This is now my thirtieth September in teaching and the anticipation and excitement that I felt when I started in 1989 is just the same as the … Continue reading September 2019

July 2019

The end of the academic year is upon us and the academies are all up busy with summer fairs, final assessments, timetables being completed, planning for next year, trips abroad, sports days, end of year celebrations and much more. The end of term feels more like a crescendo of activity than a calm running down … Continue reading July 2019

June 2019

It was such a pleasure to be able to open our second Staff Awards Ceremony on 27th June. Over 300 staff from across the Trust came together to celebrate the development of the Trust and their part in making it great. The awards ranged from Inspirational Teacher of the Year to Team of the Year … Continue reading June 2019

May 2019

It has finally happened! We have got it!  The free school announcement that we have been waiting so long to hear has finally been made.  We received formal notification from the Department of Education on Friday 14th June that our free school application has been approved!  This is great news from two perspectives.  Not only … Continue reading May 2019

April 2019

I was fortunate recently to be invited to a reception held by the Secretary of State in London to celebrate the work of academies and in particular multi academy trusts (MATs).  It was helpful to be reminded that the work of Archway Learning Trust is valued beyond our locality but it was a reminder once … Continue reading April 2019

March 2019

As I write this, the tragedy of young lives cut short by knife crime is dominating the headlines and news bulletins.  As someone who works daily with young people the thought of losing one of the Archway Learning Trust (ALT) students in such a tragic way is almost unbearable.  Many voices have been raised in … Continue reading March 2019

February 2019

On 12th February Archway Learning Trust hosted its first Student Awards ceremony.  This was held in the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham and was attended by over 1500 parents, staff and guests.  Over 500 students took part in a glittering evening of music, art and drama, culminating in a choir made up of students from … Continue reading February 2019

January 2019

This month saw Archway Learning Trust host a visit from Geoff Barton, General  Secretary of ASCL.  We were delighted to be able to talk to him about our work on inclusion and to take him around our off site provision - Aspire.  Inclusion is very much a part of what Archway stands for and runs … Continue reading January 2019

December Blog

It is always good when external bodies demonstrate their faith and confidence in your work and over the last few weeks Archway has been lucky enough to have had not one but two such shows of appreciation. On Monday 26th November Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Education visited Wollaton Park to film her piece … Continue reading December Blog

November 2018

This month saw Archway Learning Trust (ALT) host the first of what I hope will become an annual Leadership Conference.  Senior leaders from across the Trust were joined by Trustees, Governors and Central Team Directors.  We were expertly led by Toby Greany, Professor of Education at Nottingham University and Jane Creasy, facilitator, associate with the … Continue reading November 2018

October 2018

It was such a pleasure to be a part of our annual Festival of Learning and meeting all the guest speakers and hearing their messages.  It is always useful to stop and reflect on why we do the role that we do despite how hard we have to work and what setbacks we encounter.  The … Continue reading October 2018

September 2018

It is always a shock coming back to school in September.  The excitement of exam results combined with plans for the new Academic Year as well as getting to know new students, remembering routines and remembering where everything is, all comes together in a perfect storm to make you feel as if the summer holidays … Continue reading September 2018

July 2018

Last month I wrote about the amazing Ofsted reports we had received as a Trust this year.  Every school or Academy is only ever as good as its staff and it was due to the hard work and determination of all that the Ofsted reports were as impressive as they were!  Staff don’t really work … Continue reading July 2018

June 2018

It has been an incredible few weeks as two of our five schools within the Trust both had their Ofsted inspections - simultaneously!  Having two teams with 11 inspectors across two days on sites a mile apart was a challenge.  It is not an experience I wish to relive in a hurry! I am delighted, … Continue reading June 2018

May 2018

Following the visit by the Secretary of State, Damien Hinds, to Archway Learning Trust in March it was a huge honour to be invited to attend a reception celebrating the best in teaching at Number 10 Downing Street.  The Prime Minister hosted this event and it was encouraging to hear how passionate she was about … Continue reading May 2018

April 2018

It was a real pleasure to see three Archway students opening the annual conference of East Midlands and Humber RSC.  Adil, Sadiya and Ollie all spoke about their different journeys through education.  Each of them has a powerful story to tell in which their experiences at school alongside their own remarkable efforts have put them … Continue reading April 2018

March 2018

What an honour and privilege to be able to host the Secretary of State for Education’s visit to Nottingham last Thursday. The Right Honourable Damian Hinds MP visited Bluecoat Aspley Academy, as part of a number of events being hosted by the Trust on that day. The visit included a tour of the Academy showcasing … Continue reading March 2018

February 2018

It was a huge pleasure to welcome John Edwards, RSC for the East Midlands and Humber, to Archway Learning Trust this month. John’s trip was centred around the work that Archway undertakes as part of its inclusion agenda. Archway has been a part of the Local Authority’s pilot to avoid all permanent exclusions for the … Continue reading February 2018

January 2018

Happy new year everyone! What a wonderful way to start 2018 with the news that The Nottingham Emmanuel School has joined Archway Learning Trust.  The Nottingham Emmanuel School is based in Wilford Village close to West Bridgford.  It is a 1,000 strong secondary with a strong faith ethos and a passion for transforming the lives … Continue reading January 2018

Welcome – December 2017

What a great way to start a new blog with the news that Bluecoat Beechdale has won the Nottingham Post’s award of ‘School of the Year’. After three years of sponsorship this wonderful school has shrugged off its past where underachievement was the norm and student behaviour was uncontrolled to take up its place as … Continue reading Welcome – December 2017

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