Letter to Staff, Parents & Governors 2018
Dear Maritime Staff, Parents, Carers, & Governors,
It’s that point in the year when as a Trust we take stock of the year that was, what we got wrong and how we fixed it, celebrate what we’re proud of and plan ahead for our priorities for the coming school year.
It was our second year as a Trust – at this point last year we were three schools. By the end of autumn term, we were seven. Growth is essential to our survival – both financially and for driving school improvement forward. We’ve spent a lot of time learning from other Trusts in order to ensure that we are able to achieve balanced, sustainable growth and that all of our schools gain value as we grow. This year was focused on integrating the new schools into our ways of working and high expectations, and establishing how we will work across both Greenwich and Medway.
We do a lot of partnership work between our schools and have developed networks between our headteachers, school business managers, teaching and non-teaching staff. We’ve had brilliant joint projects for children, for instance between Greenacres and Featherby Juniors, and the Year 6 writing day held for a number of our schools at Greenacres.
Our collaborative model continued to be successful as evidenced by our year 6 SATs results – as a Trust our schools averaged well over 70% Reading/Writing/Maths combined – with the national average at 64%. All of our schools were above national – including Featherby Juniors which after having gone into Special Measures last year before joining Maritime, has seen an amazing increase and is now above the national average. We are so proud of all of our schools, and this is an achievement to celebrate. BUT – as Trustees we make it crystal clear that SATs are not our focus – excellent results keep the wolves from the door (Department for Education, etc), but what matters to us is that children are having memorable experiences and building the life skills that will help them down the line – a SATs test tells you nothing about what a child is capable of or just how awesome they are.
What we are truly proud of, and what we know is behind the sustained turnaround our schools have experienced, is our entrepreneurial curriculum, with our student-led Big Outcomes. We want to give kids the opportunity to be leaders, to build resilience and confidence as they progress through school towards their adulthood. If you had the opportunity to attend any of this year’s big outcomes at Millennium (MFest), Greenacres
(GLF), Timbercroft (Aspiration week) or Brooklands (Out of the World), then you have seen just what we mean. We are very excited to announce a Trust-wide Big Outcome day on Friday 7 June 2019 at Featherby Infants & Juniors in Gillingham – all of our Maritime students will be showcasing their very own inventions at the Maritime Inventors of the Future Expo, and you’re all invited! (More info to follow next year).
We are always looking for ways to innovate and improve, and we know our particular style of school improvement is truly unique. We will be delivering this in greater depth next year through our newly created Educational Partnerships Lead. Our EPL, the outgoing head from Brooklands, will be facilitating projects, collaboration, and school improvement teams across the Trust and running our training programme for staff. We are very proud of this new model we have created based on what we know works, and we can’t wait to hit the ground running with it in September. We want to build on our strong reputation for educational excellence and really showcase what we do with our curriculum.
Two areas in particular that we will be focusing on are, offering more opportunities for sport competitions between the schools next year. We will also be focusing on our computing provision across the Trust next year.
We are proud of the Special Needs provision we have across the Trust, including our Designated Special Provision units in Millennium and Greenacres (which has the only primary Language Impairment Unit in Greenwich), and Timbercroft is now one of the few schools in the country to achieve the status of Flagship School for Inclusion! We want to really build on this over the next year and will be focusing on SEND, as well as mental health across the Trust for children and staff alike.
It’s important to us that staff love working for Maritime, ‘get’ our vision and mindset (all on our website!), and are able to secure excellent collaborative training opportunities and career progression across our schools. It’s our brilliant staff who are on the ground every day delivering an exceptional school experience to our students. We want people who are a great fit for Maritime. We have a well-established culture at Trust level that’s built around trust, collaboration, supportiveness, creativity & innovation, resilience, learning from mistakes, adaptability – and a sense of humour. We spent a lot of time thinking this through this year, and next year we will focus on filtering this throughout the organisation in order to ensure that Maritime is self-sustaining and resilient.
As with our approach to most things, we want governance to be innovative, highly strategic, and focused on excellence. We know team dynamic is key, as is the mindset, motivations, and skills of individuals. We have a strong trust board, and some excellent governors who not only support their schools brilliantly, but have also really gotten the bigger picture of how we work together as a Trust to the benefit of every school. Where governance has been poor and detrimental to a school, we have been addressing that. Governance is a major focus of the Trust next year.
If you’ve seen much about schools in the news this year, it’s probably been about how stretched finances are due to continued government cuts. We are proud to have sound financial management in Maritime, establishing strong reserves, securing value for money and financial efficiencies, and making sure that if a pound is spent it’s spent to improve our schools. We will have to fight for this financial security as it gets increasingly tough in the next few years – but we know we are in a better position than most schools across the country.
We are responsible for 2200 children, 325 staff, £13 million of public money, and 7 school estates. No surprise it’s been a very busy year, we’ve had a huge learning curve as we’ve grown, and we’ve dealt with a number of unexpected challenges. But we also did what we do – relentlessly focused on what was right for our schools in order to secure great outcomes for every child.
We love Maritime, and we are so proud of all of our students and staff. Hope you all have a brilliant summer.
Tiffany Beck Nick Osborne
Chair of Trustees Chief Executive