CEO Update 7 April
Funding has featured heavily in the national and local news in recent weeks.
Hopefully it has become clear that this is an issue for schools and academies across the country and is not something unique to Olympus based on how we plan or run our schools.
As we reach the end of term, we have also reached the end of the first phase of consultation with staff in our secondary schools about reductions in staffing for next academic year because of funding cuts. Our primary schools are also having to plan to do some things differently because of changes to funding but the scale of reduction is fortunately not as extreme for them this year.
Because of the way funding is allocated to us, although we are facing cuts in our budgets, we have just been awarded more funding than ever before to help us with our buildings. Clearly it is vitally important that we maintain and improve the standard of our school buildings. It is ring-fenced money i.e. we can only spend it on our buildings and it has been awarded because we have grown as a multi-academy trust and this means we no longer have to bid for money for improvements to our buildings but will receive an annual budget every April. The good news is that we had already completed condition surveys in readiness for the money being provided and, in some cases, have already started the work.
The improvements across the Trust include new fencing and new entrance area to improve safety and safeguarding, a replacement fire alarm system, renovated toilets, kitchen repairs and new ovens, ICT infrastructure costs, leaking skylight and roof repairs and a range of other projects which we would not otherwise have been able to afford to do.
In some cases, this has released other money back into school budgets for teaching and learning.
On Monday this week, Patchway Community College heard that they have been awarded a significant amount of money from a national condition improvement fund bid towards vital building improvements (rooves and heating system). This means that they will now be able to re-start discussions about joining The Olympus Academy Trust which had been put on hold until building repairs could be funded. We hope there will be a swift decision as Patchway joining the Trust should bring financial and educational benefit to all Olympus schools as well as to Patchway.
As we reach the end of term, it is important not to forget that many of our young people have achieved great things again this term. I hope they enjoy a well-deserved rest and that those who have exams and assessments in the first few weeks after Easter are able and encouraged to focus on some preparation alongside their relaxation.
Our highest priority remains to ensure the well-being and safety of all our young people and staff and to make sure that learning is not jeopardised by our financial decisions. We are looking actively at how we can create savings and efficiencies in the way we work across schools including by sharing services and roles across both primary and secondary phases and schools and will keep you updated next term as plans for September become more certain.
Thank you in anticipation of your continued support.
With best wishes,
CEO, The Olympus Academy Trust
@MrDaveBaker @olympustrust www.olympustrust.co.uk