North Kent academy chain recognised as one of the UK's best
PUBLISHED: 11:50 13 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:43 14 October 2016
A new Ofsted report highlights high standards among multi-academy trusts
An academy chain with seven schools in North Kent has been recognised as one of the strongest-performing multi-academy trusts in the country.
Ofsted chief inspector for schools Sir Michael Wilshaw has commended Leigh Academies Trust (LAT) as a ‘very good’ organisation “providing a high-quality education for all their pupils”.
In an Ofsted report the trust was said to display strong, authoritative and visible leadership; ambition to transform educational achievements for pupils, including the most able; and excellent governance.
It was also praised for provision of high-quality personal, social and cultural experiences for every pupil and investment in staff development to improve teaching and leadership.
In particular, the report highlighted the work the trust has done to ensure that pupils better suited to a technical or vocational pathway into employment are well catered for through The Leigh UTC.
Steve Leahy, Leigh UTC headteacher, said: “I am really proud that we have been acknowledged. There has been some negativity about performance but we have bucked the trend and been able to achieve some outstanding results.
“What we try and do is inspire pupils and provide an environment where they can thrive. We work with a couple of hundred businesses now and we have a lot of people coming in. They provide a wealth of experience and focus the students on what they can achieve.
“Often they are from families where no one has been to university so it is not on their radar. We have aspirations for all our students.”
Next year, the school will open an Inspiration Academy, which will offer a STEM-based curriculum for pupils from the age of 11.
LAT chief executive Simon Beamish added: “We are a very local multi-academy trust, so we are able to do a lot of sharing, collaboration and teamwork.
“We employ really strong leaders and leadership teams, and that is crucial to our success.
“Our pupils are often from underprivileged background and feel they have been told at the age of 11 that they have failed.
“We do a lot of work to build self-esteem and ambition, and we have really strong links with businesses – especially at the UTC.
“There is a big national agenda to provide a more rigorous academic education to all pupils, which is the right thing to do, but when you look at what our economy needs it is more engineers, more people with vocational skills, more computer scientists, and more people with an awareness of new technology. Our academies are delivering on that.”