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Town End Academy awarded the Basic Skills Charter Mark

In Town End Academy by Gary Robinson

WISE Academies is delighted that Town End Academy has been successful in securing the basic skills charter mark for another three years.

The assessor was especially impressed by consistency of approach, range of intervention which supports the ‘whole child’, the huge focus the academy has on basic skills and the amazing impact seen in books, displays, feedback from pupils and in the data.

Basic skills of numeracy and literacy are a key part of our curriculum and are essential for academic success. The assessment process reasserted the importance of Basic Skills and how they underpin all aspects of our teaching and learning.   Excellence in the teaching and learning experiences we offer is a continuing feature of Town End Academy.

Well done to everyone involved.

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Zoe Carr is named in New Year’s Honours List

In WISE Academies by Gary Robinson

The New Year’s Honours List was published on 29th December 2017 and we are proud to announce that Zoe Carr (CEO of WISE Academies) has been awarded an O.B.E. for her services to education.

Zoe has served as CEO of WISE Academies since 2013. She is also a long serving member of the Regional School Commissioner’s Head Teacher Board.

Everyone at WISE Academies would like to congratulate Zoe and say how thoroughly well deserved this honour is.

Speaking about receiving the O.B.E. Mrs Carr said ““I am extremely proud to serve as CEO of WISE Academies and it is a privilege to be in receipt of such a prestigious award. It is a huge personal accolade to be recognised at this level.

I firmly believe that this honour is testament to the dedicated team of staff within WISE Academies who work tirelessly to provide an excellent education to every child within our Trust and also to support others in the sector. To be awarded the Order of the British Empire is fantastic recognition of what we have achieved to date.”

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Prudhoe West Academy brings festive joy to the Metro Centre

In Prudhoe West Academy by Gary Robinson

All of our academies have talented pupils and Prudhoe West Academy is justifiably proud of its choir.   Have a look at this link to the Prudhoe West children performing a happy Christmas song at the Metro Centre.  Their performance has already proved a real hit on social media with many thousands of views.   It also received positive coverage in the local press which can be seen here.

Happy Christmas from all at WISE Academies and a massive well done to all at Prudhoe West Academy.

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Making the Grade

In WISE Academies by Gary Robinson

Zoe Carr, CEO of WISE Academies, has a passion for high quality education and is driven by improving outcomes for children.  In addition to leading a successful and growing Multi Academy Trust and her work with the Regional School Commissioner, we are delighted to announce that Zoe has now been accredited as an Ofsted inspector.

As an experienced CEO, Zoe has extensive experience of working in settings that are deemed to be ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’.  She has also transformed settings judged to be ‘inadequate’ and made them into thriving academies through the sharing of best practice and ensuring better outcomes for all.

Zoe has high expectations of academies within the Trust and working as an Ofsted inspector will further strengthen her school improvement insight.  Her work with the Regional School Commissioner’s Head Teacher Board means that Zoe has significant experience of working to regulatory frameworks.

Zoe is delighted to have successfully completed the Ofsted accreditation process and taken part in the intensive Ofsted training.  She has already used this experience to further strengthen strategic and operational planning within her own Trust.  Zoe’s rigorous approach to data analysis, performance management and leadership development means that she is well placed to support the wider education sector through her work with Ofsted.

Congratulations to Zoe on achieving the high standards necessary to serve as an Ofsted inspector.

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WISE impresses Sir David Carter!

In Bexhill Academy, WISE Academies by Gary Robinson

As you will see elsewhere on our news page, we were privileged to receive a visit from Sir David Carter (National School Commissioner) earlier in the autumn term. He visited Bexhill Academy and saw for himself how we are making improvements to our learning environments and the delivery of best practice to maximise outcomes for pupils.

This week, Sir David has written an article for the TES in which he specifically names WISE Academies and Bexhill. Here is an extract from this important article: –

“In my role as national schools commissioner, I am seeing more and more examples of this working in practice. The very best practice enables schools to thrive in a long-term, sustainable and strategic way. The improvement in outcomes for disadvantaged learners has to be central to this, and the trusts that succeed do so by building the strategy across all of their schools. A strong example that I have seen recently on a visit to the North regional schools commissioner region was Bexhill Academy in Sunderland, part of WISE Academies. In an area of socio-economic disadvantage, in 2014 the school’s pupil outcomes at key stage 2 were 22 percentage points below national average. By 2016 outcomes had improved to the extent that Bexhill was 11 percentage points above the national average for reading, writing and mathematics combined for all pupils.

Part of this continuous improvement has been as a result of stronger leadership and governance. At Bexhill, both the chair and CEO joined the local academy board to provide stronger oversight and challenge. The trust also appointed a strong principal, and the CEO supported the trust’s teaching practice through introducing peer-to-peer support from other leaders in the trust. Sharing teaching and leadership capacity between schools where staff were deployed to work in more than one was also a factor in seeing outcomes improve quickly, as the modelling of trust practice became embedded in the work of the school.

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We know that more needs to be done, and over the past year my team and I have been working to understand how we can best support trusts to continue to build their capacity to deliver school improvement. No one school or trust is the same and some areas of the country experience greater challenges, as identified by the education secretary’s opportunity areas. We need to challenge ourselves and the system to think about how we can work together to tackle this, improve outcomes for pupils despite these barriers, and then share what works widely.”

You can read the full article here


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Town End Teaching School Builds on its Success

In Town End Academy by Gary Robinson

The Town End Teaching School Alliance has been in existence since 2012. As it moves forward, we are building on the success of the Teaching School encouraging greater participation. Town End Teaching School is a fantastic facility which focuses on offering school-to-school support, workforce development and initial teacher training activities.

The Teaching School benefits from a range of strategic partnerships and is able to offer a range of training opportunities. One example is the Teaching School’s involvement in the Education Endowment Fund’s project following a successful bid. This would include research around effective literacy, early years elements, speech & language, reading comprehension and writing. There was a successful launch event on 21st September 2017 aimed at Headteachers and literacy leads. This is being organised in conjunction with Durham University.

Initial Teacher Training (ITT) activities are also a central part of the Teaching School. This is organised in partnership with the University of Northumbria. The ITT programme offered schools an opportunity to host a student teacher for four days per week and they would receive a grant for hosting them. It is therefore a great opportunity for schools and the Teaching School has seen very high success rates in the ITT programme.

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By working together we can achieve so much more

In Bexhill Academy, WISE Academies by Gary Robinson

Lord Theodore Agnew was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System on 28 September 2017. propose the best drugs on the market. I can say that from my own observations! I’ve been suffering from depression, anxiety and sleeping problems for years. I forgot what ordinary life is. Till I was prescribed “Ativan” to lower and reduce the symptoms. The dosage was 0.5 mg to sleep well. It really helps!

Lord Agnew spoke at the 2017 North Academies Conference at the end of October 2017. This was the first academies conference he had attended since being appointed minister. He expressed his enthusiasm about the work being done to drive up standards and thanked MATs and sponsors that are taking on struggling schools into their trusts and turning them around. WISE Academies was proud to have been mentioned in this speech.

An extract from Lord Agnew’s speech is set out below: –

“At its best, the MAT model has the potential to be the most powerful vehicle for improving schools quickly. Great examples of rapid school improvement here in the North include Zoe Carr of WISE Academies”………

“In Zoe’s case, Bexhill Academy’s primary pupil outcomes have increased year on year over the last four years, from 22 percentage points below the national average to 11 percentage points above the national average. I am challenging all the RSCs to give me many more examples like this.”

Lord Agnew concluded his speech by saying “By working together we can achieve so much more. And ultimately, this helps every young person to realise their full potential.”

The full speech can be found here


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The Northumberland Hub Grows!

In WISE Academies by Gary Robinson

Work is underway to enable a third Northumberland based school to join WISE Academies.

Shaftoe Trust Primary School in Haydon Bridge will become our third academy in Northumberland when it joins the Multi-Academy Trust in early 2018 (following on from Adderlane Academy and Prudhoe West Academy).  The Headteacher of Shaftoe Trust Primary School, Gill Woodward, is already enjoying working with leaders from elsewhere in the Trust.

We all feel that WISE Academies is a really good match for this school and there is no doubt that the school leaders are very keen to join us and they see clearly the benefits of working as part of our MAT.



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Helping Schools to Flourish

In Uncategorised by Gary Robinson

We are delighted to report that Zoe Carr, Chief Executive Officer of WISE Academies, has been re-elected to serve as a member of the North Headteacher Board.  There are just 32 HTB members across the entire country and they will play a crucial role overseeing the schools system in England over the next three years.


Headteacher Boards are made up of Headteachers and senior leaders from academies, who advise regional school commissioners on key decisions including who runs academies, what happens to struggling academies and non-academies, and which free-school applications are approved.  There are just three positions available on each of the eight national Headteacher Boards, all of which were contested by a ballot.


The government said the election of local headteachers brings expertise to decisions about schools in each region.  National schools commissioner Sir David Carter said: “Over the last three years, the expertise of Headteacher Boards has been so important in helping to create a self-managing and ever-improving education system.” Sir David added that “I know from personal experience how much Headteacher Boards help inform decisions, and I’m looking forward to working with the newly-elected members to help make our school system even better.”


The system of HTBs and regional schools commissioners was introduced in 2014, and Zoe has been a part of the North area HTB since its inception.  She is therefore delighted to have been re-elected to serve for a further three years.


Zoe says It has been my privilege to serve on the HTB for the last three years. As a primary practitioner, I have provided a strong voice, representing our sector with its distinctive characteristics and unique context. Through working in a trust that was established in 2011 and now spans three LAs, whilst serving highly deprived communities, I have gained a great deal of first-hand experience of finding solutions to the many and complex challenges that MATs face. The journey has had many ups and downs and I believe that this honest insight is fundamental to effective decision-making. I lead a highly performing MAT where combined KS2 outcomes consistently exceed national standards and disadvantaged pupils thrive. During my HTB term of office, I have shown strong commitment to collaborative working across the academies’ sector, which is central to the success of a MAT led self-improving system. Should I be re-elected to the HTB, significant experiences that I could offer include: leading a teaching school, working as an NLE, supporting the sector with effective financial efficiency on behalf of ESFA, training as an OFSTED inspector. My passion is to continue to influence future strategy for the benefit of our next generation.”


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National Recognition for Bexhill Academy!

In Bexhill Academy, WISE Academies by Gary Robinson

On 15th September 2017 we were privileged to receive a visit from Sir David Carter, National School Commissioner, to Bexhill Academy in Sunderland. Sir David’s visit coincided with the completion of the major refurbishment work that had been carried out in the Early Years & Foundation Stage provision at Bexhill Academy and he was hugely impressed by what he had seen. Writing on his twitter page after the visit, Sir David wrote that it had been an “inspiring visit” to Bexhill Academy and added that he had seen “some fantastic teaching & learning in challenging context that shows it can be done”.

Also accompanying Sir David during the visit was Jan Renou, Regional School Commissioner for the North.

Later Sir David contacted Paul Martindale, Headteacher of Bexhill Academy to compliment the academy on the work that was being done at Bexhill Academy. Sir David wrote “It was inspirational to see such strong teaching in all of the classrooms we visited and to see such strong relationships between teachers and children.”

Sir David added that “there is much talk about the impact of social mobility in current education policy. Education has a key role to play in this and the impact of the work of the WISE trust and the leaders at Bexhill Academy in particular is evidence of how effective our strongest schools can be in achieving high performance in challenging areas.”

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Also present at the visit were two of the Trustees of WISE Academies (Margaret Stephenson and Natalie Fountain) and Sir David Carter made special mention of them writing “I was also pleased to see how well informed members of the board are and how well they are holding the school to account for building upon the progress seen. The no excuses culture was very evident throughout the visit.”

WISE Academies is justifiably proud of what has been achieved at Bexhill Academy, and delighted at this national recognition from Sir David Carter.