Ambitions and LeAF academies welcome new partnership

LeAF Academy Chair of Trustees Eddie Craven ( front left) and Pat Marchiori, Chair of Trustees at Ambitions Academies Trust (front right) pictured with interim CEO of AAT Sian Thomas and LeAF Academy Executive Principal Paul Holman.

LeAF Academy Chair of Trustees Eddie Craven (left) and Pat Marchiori, Chair of Trustees at Ambitions Academies Trust pictured with interim CEO of AAT Sian Thomas and LeAF Academy interim Executive Principal Paul Holman.

Poole-based Ambitions Academies Trust (AAT) is welcoming three schools to its family.

Elm Academy, Oak Academy and the LeAF Studio, which formed the LeAF Federation in West Howe, will become the newest members of AAT.

And the Trust, which has an impressive track record in improving schools, is already making a major impact on the former LeAF academies.

AAT was first invited to work with the LeAF Federation on a consultancy basis last July.

Six months on it has received official endorsement from Ofsted and the Regional Schools Commissioner on the improvements it has introduced at Oak and Elm academies in particular.

Oak Academy was requiring improvement but an Ofsted monitoring visit last November declared that effective action was being taken to tackle this and expectations had been raised significantly.

Meanwhile Elm Academy has also received encouraging feedback from a Department for Education education expert, who visited the school last term.

In a letter to Principal Jo Fish, the Regional Schools Commissioner Rebecca Clark said working with AAT has already had a positive impact and was likely to contribute to rapid improvements.

Sian Thomas, interim CEO of AAT, said: “AAT provides an outstanding education across all sectors – nursery, primary, secondary and special.

“We are very pleased to be tasked with ensuring the future success of three further, well-established and very different academies.”

Sian added: “We have already been working with all three academies since last July and our director Paul Holman has been there in an Executive Principal role, implementing our Rapid Improvement Model and encouraging AAT’s ethos of high expectations leading to high achievement.”

Pat Marchiori AAT’S Chair of Trustees, said: “We welcome the official recognition from both Ofsted and the Regional Schools Commissioner and we’re delighted that we can carry on this good work by officially welcoming the former LeAF schools into the AAT family.”

LeAF Studio specialises in education for aspiring athletes and performing artists aged 14-19 and is a flagship school.

It is producing excellent sporting results and students who are achieving success in the world of performance.

The academy was also the joint second best academic performing Studio school in England last year.

Elm Academy is a primary school and was judged outstanding by Ofsted in 2014. AAT will ensure the school develops further and improves on its academic results through closer collaboration with its other primary schools.

Oak Academy, for 11 to 19 year-olds, was judged by Ofsted as requiring improvement in May 2016.

It was this judgement that prompted the LeAF Trustees to invite AAT in on a consultancy basis last July.

A new principal, Richard Burgas, was also appointed at Oak in July.

In November 2016, an Ofsted inspector monitored the school and writing to Mr Burgas, concluded: “Senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement in order to become a good school.

“You and the Executive Principal (Paul Holman) have raised expectations significantly across the school, particularly with regard to the quality of teaching, learning and assessment of pupils’ outcomes.

“The considerable experience of the executive principal in school improvement is a great asset.”

In addition to the former LeAF schools, AAT has six academies located over eight sites in Poole and Bournemouth.

Tregonwell Academy, Queen’s Park Academy and Longspee Special School have all been graded outstanding under AAT.

The Trust also operates King’s Park Academy, Manorside Academy, St Aldhelm’s Academy, Little Ambers nursery and Ambitions Teaching School.

Chairman of the LeAF Trustees, Eddie Craven, said: “We are delighted that our academies are joining the AAT family.

“AAT has a fantastic track record in education and we’ve already seen significant improvements in the few months we’ve been working with them.”

“This is wonderful news for our academies and their staff and students. They are in the best of hands.”


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