Winterbourne to join OAT
It is good to have positive news to share at the start of a new school year. We start the year with a sense of excitement about what we can achieve this year and staff were inspired and challenged during their training days before students started their term. A great deal of development and improvement work has taken place in all the schools within the Trust during the summer break, some of which you will notice immediately and other aspects which are less visible but equally important.
We are pleased to confirm that all actions were completed to enable Patchway Community School to join the Olympus Academy Trust last Friday, 1st September, as planned.
I am sure you will want to join me in welcoming them to the Olympus family of schools. It has taken a long time to get to this point but there is a lot to look forward to with funding for improvements to the buildings as well as support for students to achieve.
We are also pleased to be able to share news that the uncertainty surrounding the future for Winterbourne International Academy has been resolved in the last week.
The Department for Education has confirmed that “in principle” approval has been given for Winterbourne to join the Olympus Academy Trust.
“In principle” means that the Ridings and Olympus trustees will work with the Department for Education to plan for a smooth transfer, with the best interests of Winterbourne students and their learning community at the heart of discussions. The Olympus Academy Trust was already due to provide multi-academy trust support for Winterbourne for 2017-18 but the full transfer is now likely to take place early in 2018.
Due to our combined efforts last year, the widely reported Ridings’ Federation £1 million deficit no longer exists but there are re-structure costs associated with change. However, there was enough money in the bank to pay all commitments at the end of August and to pay back the money which was borrowed from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) last autumn and which initiated the financial notice to improve. Discussions are, therefore, underway with the ESFA about removing the financial notice to improve as soon as possible.
A massive amount of work has gone into re-structuring and managing finances which means that Winterbourne has a budget for 2017-18 which balances in-year and we believe it will be completely deficit-free very soon. This is good news for Winterbourne and for the Olympus Academy Trust as we are not in a position to fund deficits and it will give students the best possible opportunity to achieve.
There has been a calm and purposeful atmosphere in our schools this week as students and staff adjust to term-time routines again. We will share more information about our priorities for the year in the next update. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support. We look forward to working with you this academic year for another year of varied activity focused on success for our students.
With best wishes,
CEO, The Olympus Academy Trust
@MrDaveBaker @olympustrust www.olympustrust.co.uk