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Parent Governor Summary of MAT Forum

On Tuesday evening I attended the open forum meeting where parents and carers were invited to meet with Dean Ashton, Chief Executive of Reach South Multi Academy Trust (MAT). For the benefit of those who were unable to attend I’ve summarised some of the more significant points raised.

Reach South stressed how important their values were to them and that those values aligned well with the values of Springfields, particularly with respect to inclusivity and serving our local communities. The education of each child remains paramount and the importance of parent/carer opinion was stressed.

Whilst Reach South is currently centred on the Plymouth area it is anticipated that a hub of schools will be developed in Wiltshire and elsewhere in the South West with a mix of secondary, primary, mainstream and special schools. Good relations are being developed between Reach South and Wiltshire Council and it is hoped that in time this may allow Springfields to expand its offer to a wider age range of pupils, though this cannot be guaranteed. This was received positively by those attending.

Whilst some Multi Academy Trusts have recently attracted negative attention for under performing it was very clear that Reach South has a strong blend of educational and business experience to draw on and that it is in an excellent position to secure a positive future for Springfields. The headteacher and governors are looking forward to the future and further developing a positive working relationship with Reach South and the other schools in the MAT.

The local governing body will still be retained as being ideally placed to know and manage the ongoing needs of the school whilst being able to draw upon the resources of the MAT. Equally Reach South are looking forward to being able to draw on the considerable experience of Springfields.

Pupils will be told of the forthcoming changes once careful consideration has been given as to how best to explain what the changes will mean to them. In reality the changes will be very limited and they will notice very little difference on a day to day basis.

If any parents have any other questions or feedback please feel free to contact me or any other governor via the school or a member of the senior leadership team. No final decision has been taken with respect to joining Reach South however everything is currently on track for this to take place formally on 1st November.


Paul Raby,
Parent Governor

Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

Next Thursday, 28th September, we will be holding a Macmillan Coffee Morning for parents and carers in the dining room, from 9am to 10:30am. Come along for a nibble and a natter!

‘Seven Myths About Education’

This week I have mainly been reading ‘Seven Myths About Education’ by Daisy Christodoulou. Described by Dylan William as, “the most important book of the decade on teaching”, it is one that will surely provoke discussion at our next North Wilts Federation book club in October.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the text so readable and accessible, and I soon found myself scribbling notes and questions for our session.

The book challenges common preconceptions, or should that be misconceptions, about education. I especially enjoyed Myth 1: facts prevent understanding- sounds like Dickens is mainly to blame for Gradgrind being such a bad thing, with facts helping pupils form schemas and factual recall helping lessen the burden on working memory. Myth 2 also contains many thought-provoking ideas- particularly for the 80/20 rule of teacher talk! The information on working memory is also interesting, particularly given the current system of 100% terminal exams at KS4.

Next up for me in Myth 3: The 21st Century Fundamentally Changes Everything. Maybe this chapter will give me an answer for when my pupils tell me they don’t need to know it, as they can Google it!

Have you read ‘Seven Myths’? If so I’d love to know what you think. Why not join us at our book club on Wednesday 11th October at 4pm. Got a book that you think we should be talking about- why not suggest it as our next read? Contact Nicola Brooks at for more details.

No More Boys and Girls?

Have you seen the BBC documentary ‘No More Boys and Girls’ yet? Seen the discussion over Clarks’ shoes- ‘Dolly Babe’ for Girls and ‘Leader’ for Boys? Young people develop their notions of gender through what they see around them as they grow up, consequently, the gender role-modelling that they see in schools is vital in how they perceive men and women. In England your chances of having a female headteacher decrease as you get older and although teaching is a feminised profession, women are not proportionally represented at Headship or Executive Head level. The Women Leading in Education project aims to inspire and support existing and aspiring female leaders in education to ensure that there is diversity within leadership teams in education.

In June the academy hosted the first Women Leaders in Education network meeting, with the second due to follow in November. On Friday I met-up with the rest of the Women Leading in Education South West team in Exeter. We had a fascinating day discussing how we can recruit more gender advocates and creating resources to train governors and senior leadership teams.

If you would like to get involved with the project, or to find out more, contact Nicola Brooks at . Our next event takes place on Thursday 16th November 2017 4-6pm.

Help4Refugees Charity Event

St Mary’s School, Calne, will be hosting a variety evening of music and readings, drinks and canapés (included), dedicated to raising money for the charity Help4Refugees.

It will be held on 23rd September 2017 at 7pm, at St Mary’s School, Calne, SN11 0DF.
The guest speaker is Jordan Hattar.

Tickets are £30 for adults, £10 for students.
Email: or buy tickets at the door.

Lucy Bradley U6


A Royal Day Out at the Royal Society!

You may already be aware from my previous blog posts that the academy is delighted to be one of the Chartered College of Teaching’s founding network hubs. As the preparations for our first hub event draw closer I attended training with the CCT in London.

It was fantastic to meet other professionals from a wide range of settings who all have the same aim- to be excellent teachers to ensure that every pupil in the country makes outstanding progress. As we gathered in the impressive building of The Royal Society we were treated to a range of talks from how to set-up and run our hub events to how the College’s journal, Impact, is published, along with a sneak-peek of the College’s C-Teach award (Chartered Teacher Status).

In the afternoon all founding networks had the opportunity to present their network poster to the attendees. Springfields’ poster looked absolutely amazing and it was a delight to share Springfields’ vision to be a lead for SEND, Inclusion and Vulnerable Learners in Wiltshire, the South West and Beyond!

Founding networks were also presented with their banner- look out for this in the foyer area the next time you visit!

Our first hub event will be held on Wednesday 29th November 4-6pm at the academy. Our focus is assessment, thinking about what we assess, how we assess and why we assess. For further information on the hub or the CCT itself please contact Nicola Brooks

First Postcard for First Aid

This year at the academy we are working hard to improve how we evaluate and disseminate our professional learning. To that end a new postcard has been designed to help staff reflect on training and determine their next step. All staff who attend external training will also be writing a review for our blog!

First up to try the new system is our amazing Outdoors Instructor Mr Hurles who attended First Aid Revalidation earlier this month.

“As a First Aid provider I attended a revalidation training course at Brokerswood Country park, with other Outdoor Education colleagues. We focused on updates from the medical council which included catastrophic bleeding, using AEDs and epi-pens. It was an excellent opportunity to share good practice with other professionals from the Outdoor perspective and discuss how we deliver First Aid to both adults and children.

In terms of how I may bring this back into the Academy, I am now re-qualified to train staff and deliver the Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW), a 6 hour course. I also wish to deliver First Aid to the students using St Johns and the Red Cross educational frameworks.”


Trainees Visit Bath Spa

It’s one of our favourite times of the year where we welcome aspiring teachers to the academy to supporting them in developing their knowledge of SEND. On Thursday and Friday last week we were joined by 5 Design and Technology trainees from Bath Spa University. The trainees had a full and varied programme which involved observing learning, supporting pupils and touring the school. The trainees had a fantastic day and you can see a snapshot of their feedback below:

  • “There is a real feeling of everyone belonging, no matter what their difficulty.”
  • “Delightful! I loved walking around the school and seeing so many happy faces. Everyone is friendly (pupils and staff) saying hello all the time.”
  • “The dedication/enthusiasm of all the teachers and TAs is amazing.”
  • “I was impressed by the staff’s commitment to provide the best possible outcomes for each individual child. I was also impressed with the behaviour of the children.”

This week we look forward to welcoming RE and English trainees to the academy.