Neville Coles – Executive Principal
 
Dear Parents and Carers, 
 
I like to write a short update to parents / carers at the start or end of each term – 6 per year. This is placed on our Facebook accounts and placed on all websites for all schools within The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT). Recently, we have received some very good news with regard to capital funding – please see below. We are also predicting some very good outcomes this summer for our children. Two new primary schools have joined the Trust and student numbers are strong. We are doing well. We continue to focus on improving facilities and getting excellent results for all students and families who are part of our Trust.
As you will be aware, our Trustees formally agreed for St Anne’s and Castle Batch primary schools to join The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT) back In February – both schools are in WSM. I am pleased to say that on April 1st both Castle Batch and St Anne’s became academies and formally joined our group, of now, 4 academies. Total student numbers are now at 2,387. It is planned that The King Alfred School, Highbridge (TKAS) and Pawlett Primary (nr. Bridgwater) join TPLT during 2018-19 – at that stage student numbers will be at 4,723. Clearly, staffing is now well above the 250-mark. Through having over 250 employees we have published our gender pay gap figures. We will continue to work on reducing any gender pay gap. However, I am very, very pleased to see we were well below the national average.
 
Both St Anne’s and Castle Batch are excellent primary schools. Both will bring much to the Trust and both will greatly assist with our transition programmes. A warm welcome to St Anne’s and Castle Batch schools and all parents / carers, staff, governors and children. The TPLT key aims are simply remembered by GO PLT; great Governance, great Outcomes, great People, Limited Growth and Team Building. All are equally important but, rest assured, we are absolutely focussed on outcomes for our children in our community – all 3,397 of them.
 
One of the reason why we are a MAT is to ensure that we are financially strong and can continue to provide our children with first class facilities. Some very good news, last week was the announcement of the national Condition Improvement Fund bids. This is an annual bidding process direct to central government for capital projects. The Trust received around £1,500,000 to spend on specific capital projects. I think I am right is saying that only 34% of bids were successful in this round. Well done to Martin Kerslake (our Chief Financial Officer) and all those involved with these lengthy and time-consuming bids. Clearly, we were again very successful.
 
This funding award is in addition to the current work which is ongoing at PCSA and also in addition to the WCSA new toilet project – ‘Water World’ which starts this summer. 

PCSA Kitchen Refurbishment:  £62,397.00
PCSA Block ‘A’ Water Pipe Replacement: £268,335.00
The King Alfred School Roof Replacement (Phase 1): £1,159,100.00

The only unsuccessful bid was for further improvement to the WCSA roofs – this was for £952,056.00 – this will be appealed. We are very hopeful of success. WCSA had significant funding last year for roofing.
 
So – we are very pleased. We were also very pleased to see PCSA full with new starters at 300 new Year 7s for next year (there were 370 first choice applications) and Worle increased by 9% to be at 282 in the new Year 7 – great news.
 
Predicted results in our 11-16 secondary schools for this coming August are very, very encouraging. Staff and students in all years continue to work very hard and make good progress. As you will know we have introduced a modular curriculum system and simple homework routines are in place. It is worth noting again that we are now working towards a 5-year programme of learning involving 19 Learning Cycles at 11-16 level. Principals and school teams have communicated this approach at some curriculum evenings last month. Please be aware we have added a Director of Maths (Mrs. Goddard-Lock) and a Director of Science (Miss Criddle) to work across all schools in the Trust. During T5 and 6 we will continue to work on aligning our systems and processes. This will be especially true about what happens in the classroom and with our modular approach to the delivery of the curriculum. Groups of staff are already working on bringing together a classroom model and behaviour approaches in the secondary phase. Primary and secondary staff are already working together on transition. This type of work is a big part of being part of a MAT. There is no point to this work unless we focus it strongly upon student outcomes.
 
As always, can I encourage you to follow our schools on Twitter or on Facebook. However, can I please ask you to contact schools directly by e-mail if you need further information or have particular issues to discuss with our school leaders. We pride ourselves on getting back to parents / carers very quickly. Again, thank you for your support in this matter – social media is not the place to ask for answers to specific issues. Staff contact details are on TPLT website and on the individual school websites.
 
Best wishes,
Neville Coles – Executive Principal – TPLT – Neville.coles@priorylearningtrust.org.uk – Twitter – @nevillecoles
 
Good luck with all preparations for exams 2018 – SATs, GCSEs and A levels.
 
Please do get in touch if needed.
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