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Monthly Newsletter May 2017

I wrote last month about the good news that we had been allocated funding for building improvements across Olympus Academy Trust school sites. Some of that work has started and more is planned over the coming weeks and through the summer holidays. In addition, Patchway Community College has finally been awarded money for roof and heating system replacements and refurbishment. They have been allocated over £4 million which includes funding from local developers to provide a floodlit AstroTurf facility and other sports facility improvements too. This is a long overdue investment in their school community and is very welcome.

Our trustees have now approved Patchway Community College to join Olympus at the start of the next school year.

Once the general election is out of the way, the Department for Education will hopefully give us the go-ahead to proceed. We look forward to working with them to develop educational provision for Patchway students.

We have been providing support for Winterbourne International Academy (part of The Ridings’ Federation of Academies) since January and, although the Department for Education has not yet made a decision about the long-term future, we are in the process of agreeing arrangements for continuing that support for 2017-18 in conjunction with Castle School Education Trust. One aspect of the support will be to align Winterbourne’s post 16 provision, at least in part, with ours so that learners from Winterbourne, Abbeywood and Bradley Stoke schools will have access to a wider range of courses.

With funding a significant challenge for all local secondary schools it is important that we pool our resources and expertise to deliver the best provision for young people.

Our financial challenges have not gone away but we are closer to resolving how we will manage the cuts in each school in the Trust now. We have managed some changes by not replacing staff as they leave, by agreeing to changes in working hours and, in some cases, changes in roles that staff do. However, we have still needed to make some roles redundant which is a horrible process to go through and one we hope we do not have to repeat again. Whilst any redundancy is unwelcome we do not anticipate this to impact more than 1.5% of our total workforce. We will share details of staff changes in each school between now and the end of the school year.

We now face the uncertainty of not knowing the impact of a change of government on our funding but hope that public pressure will ensure better levels of funding for education. We are grateful for the support of a number of parent groups who have dedicated their time and resources to raising awareness on behalf of all schools affected.

It is hard to believe that Key Stage 2 SATs are already over, GCSEs have started and AS and A levels are also getting underway. I am sure you will join me in wishing the best of luck to all our students who are doing exams and assessments in this busy period.

Thank you in anticipation of your continued support.

With best wishes,

Dave Baker

CEO, The Olympus Academy Trust

@MrDaveBaker         @olympustrust