Executive Headteacher Matt Whitehead explains why welcoming St Elisabeth’s, Reddish, into the fold benefits every aspect of every school in the Trust.
There was an apt line in one of our schools’ excellent reports this year – and rather wonderfully it came from one of our children. The school “welcomes everyone… to be together, to be as one,” she said. So as we welcome St Elisabeth’s in Reddish into the St James & Emmanuel Academy Trust, we’re proud to be supporting and helping them on this part of their journey. We have, in many ways, gained a new member of the family.
It’s a school I have a particularly fond attachment to as I worked there myself in the early 1990s. So when we were approached by the Diocese to help the school regain its confidence, I was personally delighted, but
also confident that the enormous amount of good practice across the Trust would mean that four schools rather than three could work closely together to ensure that teachers feel valued and supported, and that the children in each of our schools can fulfil their potential.
I wasn’t surprised that the Diocese came to us for help, because the experience of our work with St Wilfrid’s in Northenden has been so positive. After some incredibly hard work by staff, children and parents, we were delighted that an Ofsted inspection earlier this year found St Wilfrid’s to be a Good school in all areas. We have succeeded “through a rigorous programme of improvement… in raising standards”, in just three years – an impressively quick turnaround.
There have been other inspections too, with both Didsbury and West Didsbury rated as excellent in their Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) reports. While these are all fantastic results,
it’s just as important to us that all the schools have children who are inspired and enthused in their learning – we’re proud of our broad, balanced curriculum designed to meet the individual needs of each child.
Across all the schools you will find children taking responsibility for their learning, their environment, their beliefs and their wellbeing. We listen to them and encourage them to take on and lead initiatives they feel strongly about, be that the eco group at St Wilfrid’s, the Forest School sessions at West Didsbury, the school council at St Elisabeth’s or the ethos group at Didsbury.
Of course, all these ideas then percolate throughout all our schools, which are full of inspiring, enthusing stories. As the child at Didsbury said, to share them together is a real privilege.