The Vale Academy Trust (VAT) was formed on 1st October 2013 when three local schools (King Alfred’s Academy, Charlton Primary School and Wantage CE Primary School) came together to work in partnership. There are now seven member academies; the three founding schools, three other primary academies that have since joined the Trust and Larkmead School in Abingdon (another secondary school) that joined the Trust on 1st January 2017. It is expected that other local schools will seek to join the Trust over the coming years.
Our Trust was the first to include primary, secondary, non-faith and Church of England schools in a single multi academy trust. As such, the individual ethos or faith element of member schools is protected. The VAT is performing well, and the Department for Education has approved it as a Sponsoring Academy Trust. A video has been produced to explain more about the workings of the Trust – this is viewable by clicking here.
As in all schools, Headteachers have operational control of their academies, although many of the issues which may have previously distracted them from Teaching and Learning and supporting teachers in the classrooms have been removed.
We are centralising key ‘back office’ services such as finance, premises and operations, HR and legal support and Digital Technology, thus leaving the Headteachers and senior staff to focus on the important areas of Teaching and Learning, Progress and Attainment, Behaviour and Leadership. This has led to a number of key appointments across the academy trust, including;
- A Chief Executive supporting the Headteacher and Governors in each academy and working closely with the Board of Directors on strategy and long term planning for the VAT
- A School Improvement Leader working to support Heads with performance data (Andrew Browne)
- An Assistant Head to oversee Inclusion/SEND across the Trust, working with SENCOs and staff across all the academies (Will Harvey)
- A primary Assistant Head responsible for Teaching and Learning, working with key groups and supporting staff through high quality CPD. This person is supported by a number of staff from across the Trust with key skills in English and Maths (Hazel Pittard)
The Board of Directors is made up of twelve individuals who are passionate about local education from ages 3 to 18. They include representatives of the founding schools, Directors appointed by the Diocese of Oxford and other appropriately skilled individuals from across Oxfordshire. The Board is responsible to the Department for Education in relation to key areas such as finance, staffing and pupil progress.
The day-to-day local operation of each academy remains the responsibility of the Headteacher, their staff and the Local Governing Body. Both the Board and the Local Governing Bodies are supported by a number of Committees.