Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust (LAAT) is a multi-academy trust formed by the Diocese of Lincoln in October 2013. As of November 2021, the Trust will have 20 schools across Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire and is led by our CEO, Jackie Waters Dewhurst.
Our schools cover a broad range of contexts but with many serving deprived areas. Our schools vary in size from around 40 pupils to over 500 and we have approximately 3000 pupils across our schools. Although predominantly primary, we also have William Lovell Secondary within our Trust.
We are proud of the support and challenge we offer our schools and currently all schools, bar two, are judged to be good or better. The remaining two are on their way to rapid school improvement. Over time, all schools that have entered LAAT with Ofsted grades less than good, have improved their grading at the next inspection.
We have central team of School Effectiveness Advisers (SEAs) led by the DCEO, Tamara Allen, who work closely and directly with schools to offer them bespoke school improvement support, via our School Improvement Framework and this covers a raft of educational areas.
Some of our current work with schools is around:
In addition to this, there is a growing range of specific networks, led by school staff and valued external expertise, which connects and unites all of our schools. Currently, these are:
On top of this, we encourage a school led approach to school improvement and all of our schools have the opportunity to work with each other, either via the Trust hubs or individually or in small groups on particular projects.
A strong, self sustaining infrastructure for school improvement is essential for delivering excellent outcomes for pupils. As part of this infrastructure, there is a hub model which enables schools to work closely together to address key priorities innovatively using the expertise that exists within and beyond the hub. The hub model will enable:
The hubs have been formed primarily around the location of schools although there needs to be flexibility in the structure to allow schools to participate in projects led by other hubs where this is a school improvement need. As new schools join our Trust, we review and adapt the model depending on geography.
We believe in the collective capacity of all staff to make a difference to the life chances of the children we serve and in order to do this, we strive to support leaders at all levels to be the very best they can be.
Through subject leader networks, we are able to bring colleagues together to develop their own subject knowledge and subject leadership and to develop strategy for the Trust. These networks meet online and in person and are led by subject experts, either from our schools, or via our Associate Consultants and Subject Association Experts such as the Geographical Association and STEM.
We meet our highly valued Headteachers , Executive Headteachers and Heads of School each half term. These days are co-designed and led by our School Leaders and address not only current issues but also include the sharing of research and next practice to challenge our thinking and move our schools continuously forward.
The current educational landscape is exceptionally challenging with the impact of Covid and the lost learning for all of our children.
Our Trust has been committed and active during the pandemic to mitigate these losses beyond this year and have identified the following long term priorities.
These priorities are explicit in school development plans and underpin the school’s areas for development, as well as meeting regional priorities and the collaborative hub working empowers schools leaders and the wider school teams to work together.
The following key reports are required by LAAT directors:
LAAT directors are linked with individual schools and visit the schools throughout the year. For the ‘link schools’ the directors have a key information pack which provides them with essential information such as the school context, performance, strengths and areas for development. Directors use this information to provide support and challenge to Local Boards, school leaders and the central team.
The Deputy CEO provides reports on the strengths and risks that exist in schools across the Trust. The board reports summarise the analysis of risk across all areas that could impact on standards e.g. teaching and learning, leadership, finance etc.
The Deputy CEO provides reports on pupil performance. These reports provide detailed information on individual school performance and trust wide performance at the end of key stages, mid-year for all year groups and end of each term for Y6. Directors are able to compare performance to previous performance in the Trust and to national averages. The reports enable directors to challenge the Deputy CEO on underperformance in specific areas of the schools for specific groups of pupils in the Trust.
The Deputy CEO provides reports on pupils’ absence and exclusions. These reports provide detailed information on absence and persistent absence for all groups of pupils for every LAAT school. Directors are able to use the reports to compare trust wide and individual absence figures with national absence. They are able to identify trends for the trust on challenge where pupil absence is increasing or above the national average. Similarly, for fixed term exclusions and permanent exclusions, the directors are able to use this report to how the Trust, individual schools and pupils groups compare to the national average. The directors challenge and support officers on the information accordingly.
The CEO/DCEO reports progress against the priorities in the LAAT development plans. This enables directors to support and challenge officers on areas which are not on track to be achieved on time.
Before a school enters the LAAT, the Trust undertakes a range of due diligence activities to get a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development in terms of the quality of education (intent, implementation and impact), behaviour and attitudes, pupil behaviour, personal development and leadership and management. Diligence activities include a review of external reports such as inspection reports, performance data, the current SDP and SEF. Discussions are held with senior leaders and governors around key priorities for development and there are joint monitoring activities such as a learning walks, lesson observations and a scrutiny of pupils’ work. It is through these due diligence activities, the LAAT is able to determine the level of risk evident and the type of support required to improve pupil outcomes and achieve the LAAT vision for its academies.
Directors are aware that schools must enter in a way that strengthens the whole. If through LAAT due diligence it is evident that a school wishing to enter the Trust exhibits issues that could potentially reduce the overall performance of the Trust (e.g. issues relating to finance, pupil projections or standards), then directors may defer the entry of that school until either the school has addressed such issues or the LAAT has sufficient capacity to support the school without negatively impacting on other schools in the Trust. Directors will prioritise schools that add capacity to the Hubs and the Trust as a whole.
“LAAT’s business support has allowed us to focus on teaching and learning, and school/staff improvement plans has enabled the school and staff to develop beyond what would’ve been possible had we not joined LAAT”