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MET Matters Newsletter of the Morris Education Trust May 2017

What is MET?

The Morris Education Trust (MET) is the new multi-academy trust that was founded from the standalone academy trust of Impington Village College (IVC). It was formed in November 2016 to develop a local family of schools who are all passionate about and deeply committed to comprehensive, communityrooted education. Since children and young people have one chance to experience schooling, we will enable our students to flourish as individuals so that they can progress and take their place as positive, active and capable citizens in our world. Our schools share and collaborate in a partnership, believing that education in our region should be highly regarded across our nation and beyond.

And MET Matters?

This is the first termly newsletter for all stakeholders and interested parties of MET. Our Trust was formed because we believe there is an ethos within the village colleges and other community-focused schools that needs to be preserved but also enhanced through a new partnership. Becoming a multi-academy trust was the best way to achieve this aim. Our vision is simple:

To grow a family of schools and colleges which are individual in character but united by the passion that we:

  • Will build a better world through education
  • Are stronger through community
  • Will achieve excellence as standard for all

Our family of schools will also be bound by a shared set of values:

  • We value world class outcomes in progress, attainment and development for all
  • We are a community of responsible, caring individuals who value the promotion and creation of a collaborative culture underpinned by positive human relationships
  • We value the opportunity for all to engage in lifelong learning with creative freedom, enabling individuals to continue, develop and progress
  • Wholly inclusive, we celebrate diversity and understand individual needs; we cultivate a global outlook and prepare all to be international citizens

There is real strength to be gained from working collaboratively and in genuine partnership. Similarly, sharing enables us to do things better which we might struggle to achieve alone. However, being unique and different defines us as humans, so our schools will very much continue to be individual in their own character. MET very much wants to be a multi-academy trust which encompasses all phases and settings in education: from early years up to and including Post-16. We recognise that we learn best from others in different contexts and that education and learning is something that builds on all past experiences and opportunities. We are excited about developing and building such a community of schools covering such a cross-section.

MET is now six months old and much has been achieved in that short space of time. I hope this newsletter gives a short outline of this. I would love to hear from you if there is anything about MET or its schools that you wish to share. I can be best reached on email at rcampbell@tmet.org.uk.

Robert Campbell Chief Executive Officer http://www.tmet.org.uk

A welcome to Witchford Village College

From 1 April, we are delighted that Witchford Village College (WVC) is now officially part of the Morris Education Trust. The past year has been a particularly successful and exciting one for Witchford. It posted great GCSE results last summer and then secured a well-deserved ‘Good’ in its Ofsted inspection in October; it therefore joins MET on its own upward trajectory.

Joining a multi-academy trust can be tough for schools; as well as the process itself being lengthy and complex, the very nature of change can be unsettling for staff and the wider community. Our job as a multiacademy trust is to support schools so that we make positive changes together for the benefit of all our school communities. WVC decided to join our Trust because we share the same values, and as we look forward we are very pleased to be working together.

Within the MET there are a small number of staff who have worked both at Impington and Witchford, and believe the inclusive and outward-facing ethos is shared by the two schools. The two Colleges are only 12 miles apart and that relatively short distance will enable colleagues to collaborate and partner on many exciting and interesting aspects of work.

The Cavendish School is approved!

In the early part of last year, discussions started with the Local Authority about the lack of dedicated special school provision in Cambridgeshire for children with autism spectrum condition who are cognitively average (or higher). Whilst there is strong provision for those who can access mostly mainstream provision (with some specialist support), such as that provided by the excellent Cabin at WVC, those who need even more support have to go into very expensive independent or out-of-county provision.

Led by Robert Campbell and Sharonne Horlock, Senior SENCO at IVC who is renowned for her work with and understanding of autism, a small team developed and then submitted plans to the Department for Education (DfE) for a school dedicated to young people with autism spectrum condition to be built on the site at Impington. The school is to be called The Cavendish School, named after Henry Cavendish, the scientist and natural philosopher who, it is believed, was someone who achieved so much because of (not in spite of) his autism. The bid was submitted in September and the team was interviewed at the DfE in January. Just before Easter, it was announced that the DfE has approved the plans and the school can now start to be built. This is a wonderful achievement and a tribute to those involved in the development of the proposals. More details can be found at www.thecavendishschool.org.uk

Developing Leadership at IVC

Last year’s GCSE results placed IVC in the top 3% of schools nationally for progress. Not content with resting on these laurels, it’s Principal, Ryan Kelsall, set about identifying further ways the college could achieve excellence. Key to him is the staff and ensuring they are professionally valued and developed. ‘If you want a great school, you need a great body of staff and this means putting a premium on your professional development and learning programme,’ he says. Building on his own experience leading programmes for the National College for Leadership, Ryan has worked with his senior team to create programmes for both experienced and future middle leaders: the ‘IMLDP’ (Impington Middle Leaders Development Programme) is for current and aspiring middle leaders, whilst the CMI Certificate in Leadership and Management, run in collaboration with the University of Bedfordshire, is for senior middle leaders and aspiring senior leaders.

The success of both programmes has meant MET now has a model that can be developed across the Trust and beyond. CEO, Robert Campbell, asserts that building capacity in and across schools is the best way education can develop: ‘All the talk about what is known as ‘system leadership’ means finding and developing the potential and capacity of leaders at all levels, from those who work directly in the classroom with children to those who oversee and have responsibility for many schools. We can wait for it to happen or we can embrace the opportunities. The work done by Ryan and others is exemplary in this regard.’

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DfE approve plans for The Cavendish School

News release:  Wednesday 12 April
The Department for Education today announced that The Cavendish School is one of eight new free schools that have been approved to open in Cambridgeshire.  The new special school, which is being set up by the Morris Education Trust, is due to open on the site at Impington Village College in 2019.

The school has been approved to offer specialist provision for children with autism spectrum condition aged 9 to 19.  The Trust has been working in partnership with Cambridgeshire Local Authority from the outset to develop the proposals which will offer local children and families excellent state provision and to meet rising needs.  The Trust will partner with the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University to ensure leading edge research can support the school as it opens and grows.

Robert Campbell, CEO of the Morris Education Trust and Executive Principal at Impington Village College said: 

“This is wonderful news for the local area and for the families that the new school will serve. It was the Cambridge News who notably highlighted the need for specialist provision for children with autism. As soon as we started our work last year, it was clear there was real support there from the Local Authority, from other schools and especially from families whose children have the condition, which we were able to build on and use to develop our plans. The news today is a great tribute to those involved, the wonderful education professionals based here at Impington along with the parents who offered great insights into what might be needed for their children with autism spectrum condition. The phrase that we developed to sum up what The Cavendish School hopes to achieve is ‘Enabling the self’. We are one hugely important step closer to fulfilling that vision today.” 

Toby Young, Director of New Schools Network, said:

“The application process to set up a free school is extremely rigorous so it is a testament to the Morris Education Trust’s hard work that they have been approved to open. This is the largest ever cohort of free schools to be approved, a sign of this Government’s commitment to extending the benefits of the free schools policy to all parts of the country.

“This is a big day for free schools. With 800 either opened or approved to open, providing 400,000 places when full, free schools are now a permanent part of England’s educational landscape.” 

Interested parents can find out more at www.thecavendishschool.org.uk or contact hello@tmet.org.uk

The Cavendish School proposal

In September 2016, after months of hard work, the Morris Education Trust formally submitted a free school application to the Government Department for Education (DfE).  The Cavendish School will be a special school dedicated to young people with autism spectrum condition (ASC). The school will serve families across Cambridgeshire, offering places for children with an Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in Years 5 to 13.

Robert submits the application.jpg
Robert Campbell, Executive Principal

Comprising over 140 pages, the application to the DfE is detailed and authoritative.  We are very hopeful that it will be successful.  The process now includes several stages.  Firstly we expect to find out in 6-8 weeks whether our application has been shortlisted to progress.  If successful, at this stage we will be invited for interview at the DfE to present our case and to answer specific and detailed questions about our plans.  This should take place before Christmas and we will learn the outcome in early 2017.  If we are successful at this stage then the DfE will approve our application to progress to the pre-opening stage.  The Secretary of State will not confirm an opening date until an application is established in the pre-opening stage, but our ambition is to complete building works in time for the school to open in September 2018.

Thank you to all the colleagues, parents, young people and professionals who have contributed so far to help shape the vision for The Cavendish School.  We continue to need your input and support and will update you on progress as we move forward.  For more details please visit The Cavendish School website.