Third city primary school joins expanding multi-academy trust

EXCELLENCE – Claire Lowe, CEO, Inspire Learning Partnership, south Hampshire.

A primary school in Southampton with 480 pupils has formally become part of an expanding multi-academy trust in south Hampshire.

St Monica in Sholing has joined Inspire Learning Partnership and is the third local primary school in the city to do so – Kanes Hill Primary School and Hightown Primary School joined the Trust four years ago to the month.

The arrival of St Monica from May 1 means the Trust now oversees five schools and a nursery, with a total of 1,553 pupils and 64 pre-school children.

Blackfield Primary and Fawley Infants, along with Blackfield Nursery, all located on the Waterside on the western edge of Southampton Water, are the original Trust schools.

Claire Lowe is the Chief Executive of Inspire Learning Partnership.

She said: “Our strapline is ‘Transforming lives, building futures’ and we live and breathe this for our family of schools, including new ‘pupil’ St Monica.

“They are receiving the best education available through achievable improvement plans, dedicated teaching and learning and further raising standards, with support from the Department for Education.

“We are acutely aware of the impact of the pandemic and lost learning for all our children, and the staff at St Monica, with support from across the Trust, are rapidly ensuring that gaps are filled.

“We have been supporting St Monica for some time and it was always the stated intention to bring the primary school into the Trust’s fold, complementing the work we do for Kanes Hill and Hightown. This is an exciting time for all of the Trust staff as well.”

Claire added: “There are so many benefits to joining our values-led Trust; collaboration between staff and schools, the sharing of resources and the commitment to remain anchored in the communities we serve.

“Underlining everything is our relentless pursuit of excellence and thirst to be at the forefront of education development whist being recognised for outstanding practice.”

Lisa Marshall was brought in by the Trust from September 2020 to help turnaround St Monica after Ofsted identified “serious weaknesses”, with subsequent progress and improvements.

OPPORTUNITY – Lisa Marshall, Executive Principal, St Monica Primary School, Southampton.

Lisa, Executive Principal, said: “I have been part of this trust since September 2019 and I relish in the opportunity to work alongside other schools learning and growing together.

“St Monica has been on a rapid improvement journey over the past 18 months, and I am fully confident that now we are finally part of this Trust it will only go from strength to strength.

“Now would be an exciting time to come and join us at St Monica as a child or a staff member as it develops to become a fantastic place to learn and grow.’”

Lisa added: “This is a special moment for me and the team here at St Monica. Knowing we are starting another new and positive chapter in our story, serving the children and the community, gives me such excitement and enthusiasm for the future.

“Since meeting the team at the Inspire Learning Partnership we have been motivated and led to make improvements for all and while that path is sometimes rocky, the support and professional backing from the Trust is immense.

“The vision and leadership free us to really do what we’re good at: making relationships with children and teaching them to be the best learners they can. I am incredibly excited about what’s coming next and look forward to being part of it.”

Staff at St Monica have been transferred to the Trust under the same employment terms and conditions.