Red Oaks Primary School is a successful school in its own right, so why would we want to be part of a Multi Academy Trust and why did we choose The Park Academies Trust?
We chose to become part of a MAT because we realised the value in collaborative working. It was vital to us that we chose a Trust that shared the same ethos and it was a bonus that one of the schools was part of the learning campus – just next door! Geography is helpful as it means meetings, training and shared resources are easy to arrange. We were also keen to develop a model where primary and secondary education flowed seamlessly.
During consultation with parents and staff, it became evident very early on that a continuous offer of education was appealing. Most (although not all) of our children transition to Abbey Park and the schools within the Trust understand the value of developing a curriculum that builds on the primary input without repetition to allow continued progression in Year 7; we were keen to develop an approach with joined up thinking!
Transition however is more than just work between year 6 (end of primary) and year 7 (first year of secondary). The schools have worked together to develop a multitude of curriculum projects for all year groups. This may include subject leaders from both phases using their subject and age specialisms to put on special events or lead projects, subject leaders can share and moderate work and best practice or share specialist resources. There are also many opportunities for our children to use the facilities such as science labs, cookery rooms and sports halls. In addition, we have been fortunate to benefit from specialist teaching such as spanish and science in key year groups. This exposure enables children at the top end of primary school to become familiar with a secondary environment on a regular basis and it prepares them for the journey ahead. We hope that experience of specialist teaching and resources will raise aspirations and eliminate fears that secondary school is a frightening place! Working together has allowed many conversations about what it is to be secondary ready and how we can support children and teachers with this.
The schools in the MAT have planned meetings across the year for collaborative working and planning and the leadership teams across the schools meet in advance to drive this forward. With a change of emphasis from Ofsted and a new inspection framework that focuses on curriculum, there is no better time to be working together.