Vale Academy Trust

General Information

Vale Academy Trust

Induction Information for Schools joining the Vale Academy Trust from September 2014

General Information

For any school seeking to join the Vale Academy Trust from May 2014, the following information may be useful. It focuses mainly on operational issues but also makes reference to ethos and Teaching and Learning aspects of our work together. This document will continue to be updated and adapted as we work together. However, the fundamental belief of the VAT is that schools will work together and share resources so that the maximum benefit can be gained for all pupils across our schools. This also includes removing from Headteachers some of the day-to-day mundane tasks which we may currently undertake and passing these on to a central ‘back office’ team, thus allowing Headteachers to focus on Teaching and Learning, Progress and Attainment, Behaviour and Leadership.


The Vale Academy Trust was formed on 1st October 2013 when three local schools came together to work in partnership. The current members are the three founding schools,and one additional school that joined on October 1st 2014. One further school is expected to join on 1st December 2014:

Charlton Primary School
Charlton School was a 4-11 Maintained School until it converted to an academy on 1st October 2013. It currently has 345 pupils but is expanding to two form entry across the school.

Wantage C of E Primary School
Wantage C of E Primary is a 3-11 Voluntary Controlled Church of England Primary School and Nursery with 449 pupils. It also converted to an academy on 1st October 2013.

King Alfred’s Academy
King Alfred’s was a Foundation School until it converted to an academy in August 2011. It is an 11-18 school with 1850 students. It is also a Teaching School and a National Support School.

St Nicholas C of E Primary School
St Nicholas joined the Vale Academy Trust in October 2014. Currently it has 72 pupils from 4-11.

Millbrook Primary School
It is hoped that Millbrook will join the Vale Academy Trust on 2st December 2014. Currently it has 450 pupils.

The Department of Education has also approved the Academy Trust as a Sponsoring Trust.


The ethos of the Trust is very clear. It was formed by local Heads, governors, and other stakeholders within our community to ensure high quality education for children within our local community during these very turbulent and changing times. We all believe that no school should work alone and that by working together we can deliver higher standards, more opportunities for children and fantastic opportunities for staff development.
We were the first trust of its kind in the country where non C of E schools and C of E schools came together to form a local multi academy trust. As such, each academy has its own distinctive nature and ethos but underpinning this is our shared vision for high quality education for local children. The academies have agreed, therefore, to support each other in any way possible and this has already led to many exciting joint school projects which are proving beneficial, not only for the children within the Trust but for the development of the staff as well.
We are centralising key ‘back office’ services such as finance, premises and operations, HR and legal support and Digital Technology, thus leaving the Headteachers and senior staff to focus on Teaching, Learning and Progress. This has led to a number of key appointments across the academy trust which include;
• An Executive Headteacher supporting Headteacher’s within each academy and working directly with the Board of Directors on strategy and long term planning for the VAT
• Our academy improvement leader working to support Heads with data (Andrew Browne)
• An Assistant Head to oversee Inclusion/SEND across the Trust, working with SENCo’s and staff across all the academies (Will Harvey)
• A specialist KS2 intervention teacher working with key groups and supporting staff through high quality CPD. This person is supported by a number of staff from across the Trust with key skills in English and Maths.
• An Assistant Headteacher focusing on curriculum transition from KS2 to 3
• A Specialist Primary Head of Physical Education.

As with all schools, Headteachers on the ground have operational control of their academies, although many of the issues which have previously distracted us from Teaching and Learning and supporting teachers in the classrooms have been removed. The Trust is overseen by four members. The Board of Directors is made up of 16 individuals who are passionate about local education from 3-18. They include representatives of the founding schools, including Foundation Governors. This Board is responsible for key areas such as finance, staffing and pupil progress.
The day-to-day operation of each academy remains the responsibility of the Headteacher and the Local Governing Body, who work with staff locally. Both the Board and the Local Governing Bodies are supported by a number of Committees.

The Future

Our aim is to ensure that every child within the Trust has access to high quality and exciting education from 3-18 with our staff being able to focus on the really important aspects of Teaching and Learning whilst leaving the non-teaching aspects of the Trust to a dedicated specialist ‘back office’ team.
Below are the areas which are seen as ‘core’ to the VAT and which will be administered and overseen by the Academy Trust Executive Team:
• High level Teaching and Learning appointments
• Strategic Finance
• Operations
• Human Resources
• Digital Technology
As of September 2014 key staff are:
Executive Headteacher of Vale Academy Trust Simon Spiers
Charlton Headteacher Jenny de la Coze
Wantage C of E Headteacher Clare Morgan
King Alfred’s Headteacher Jo Halliday
St Nicholas C of E Headteacher Andrew Browne
Millbrook Headteacher Jane Ratcliffe
VAT Finance Director Peter Thompson
VAT Operations Director Alison Ascroft
VAT Assistant Headteacher – Inclusion Will Harvey
VAT Specialist Year 6 Intervention Teacher Hazel Pittard
VAT Specialist Literacy Teacher (p/t) Kate Wigley
VAT Specialist Numeracy Teacher (p/t) Katie Allinson
VAT Digital Technology Teaching and Learning Lead James Pitts
VAT Project Lead – Digital Technology Tim Cave
VAT Head of Primary PE Luce Carter
Peer Reviewer (Responsible Officer) Mike Lawes

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