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Letter to parents and carers of Pathways School

30th November 2018

To: Parents and Carers of students at Pathways School

Dear Parent/Carer

As a result of the Ofsted inspection in March 2018 when Pathways School was judged as requiring “significant improvement”, the Department of Education (DfE) has recently issued its Governing Body with a Directed Academy Order that names Horizons Specialist Academy Trust (HSAT) as the designated sponsor. Under the Education and Adoption Act 2016, the DfE has new powers of intervention to support schools like Pathways, which require significant additional leadership capacity and support to bring about more rapid and sustained improvement. It is anticipated that Pathways School would officially join Horizons Specialist Academy Trust on the 1st April 2019.The Local Authority and Governing Body are fully supportive of this approach.

HSAT is a locally-based multi-academy trust, with nationally recognised expertise in supporting a range of special educational needs, which provides access to significant expertise and benefits to Pathways. Our Trust currently comprises: Abbey Hill Academy (a special school for pupils and students aged 11-16); Abbey Hill Academy Sixth Form (a post-16 provision), Westlands Academy (a special school for pupils aged 11 -16, Hollis Academy (a special school for pupils aged 11-16); and Green Gates Academy (a special school for pupils aged 5-11).We are delighted that the DfE and the Local Authority have recognised our experience and expertise, and we look forward to welcoming Pathways School into our family of academies, so that students and staff can experience the full range of benefits we are able to offer.

Our sole aim – and the reason why we are established as a multi-academy trust – is to expand opportunities for pupils with special educational needs and “to do more and to do it better” by supporting the development of the full potential of each and every student. The curriculum on offer:

  1. provides bespoke pathways to establish key skills in literacy and numeracy as well as providing opportunities for the further and future learning necessary for adult life and the fullest possible involvement in the local community.
  2. is broad - in order to ensure that it is tailored to the individual needs of each student.
  3. emphasises Accreditation as a means of recognising achievement – Entry Level, GCSEs, and other appropriate qualifications.
  4. prepares pupils for life, lifelong learning, and participation in employment within their local communities.To achieve this, the development of independence skills, social skills, and participation in work experience and other vocational activities are essential elements.

As a Trust, we will achieve similar outcomes for the learning community at Pathways as a result of the tested strength of our internal structures and mechanisms:

  1. We have a strong governance structure – within which the Board communicates its direction and vision through the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  2. The CEO is held accountable for all aspects of the Trust, including standards.
  3. The CEO holds the Executive Principal and the Principals of each Academy to account for its performance.
  4. The Principals in turn are supported through cross-cutting services such as staff personnel, finance, facilities management and IT support – all to a high standard.
  5. Collaboration of leadership across the Academies provides support as well as opportunities for professional development. We will also share training expertise across our Academies.
  6. Staff can develop the curriculum cooperatively and collaboratively with colleagues – thereby removing any isolated subject responsibility. “No member of staff left alone” is a guiding principle.
  7. The provision of valuable, enjoyable experiences for students is the inevitable result of this strong collaboration and working together – in particular in ensuring that all pupils are safe.
  8. Finally, we encourage and ensure that our school communities work with parents. We will support parents/carers to support their children and young people and offer a range of opportunities for parents to keep up-to-date with new developments – including training to support the use of iPads and the completion of homework.

Our aim is to improve the learning experience for each and every pupil by ensuring that everyone at Pathways School can progress to the best of his or her individual ability: academically, socially and emotionally. We will do this by addressing the needs identified by Ofsted and by listening to your feedback. Our priorities will be to improve:

  1. the quality of teaching and learning so that it is consistently good and leads to improved outcomes in pupils’ reading, writing and numeracy skills.
  2. the behaviour and personal development, and welfare of pupils, including attendance.
  3. the effectiveness of leadership and governance so that rapid and sustained improvement to teaching and outcomes for pupils can be secured.

We want to ensure that Pathways is a good school that, together with the other academies in our family of schools:

  1. provides high quality educational and learning experiences which develop:
  • confident individuals who are positive about who they are and what they can achieve
  • successful, enthusiastic and motivated learners
  • positive participants in their local and wider communities
  1. has staff who are excellent practitioners
  2. has a parent group which is confident in the education being provided and enjoys their own experience of the school community.
  3. is recognised by Ofsted as being a provision of genuine quality.

I will write to you again within the next few weeks to invite you to engage with this process of academy conversion and ask any questions you may have through a range of “drop-in” sessions, at which we can also share more details of our plans for the school. We are also especially keen to listen to your views.

I look forward to meeting with you in due course and welcoming you and your children and young people into HSAT’s family of academies. If you do have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to contact my Personal Assistant, Alison Ascough – alison.ascough@horizonstrust.org.uk.

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Horne CBE

Chief Executive

Horizons Specialist Academy Trust

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