Following Laurence Jackson School’s Ofsted inspection in February 2019, the Department for Education believe that the best way for the School to make rapid and sustained improvement is by becoming a sponsored academy. Vision Academy Learning Trust are delighted to have been designated the sponsors for Laurence Jackson School. The school will therefore become a sponsored Academy on 1 January 2020, as part of the Vision Academy Learning Trust, led by Egglescliffe School located in Stockton.
Vision Academy Learning Trust is very keen to work with parents and carers, as we work with Laurence Jackson School to transform the quality of education into an outstanding school worthy of the children entrusted to our care. Education is about developing the whole person and ensuring that every aspect of a child’s schooling provides them with challenge, affirmation and opportunities to celebrate. It is about shaping the futures and fulfilling the dreams of our young people; and I hope that you will support both the Trust and the school as we work together to realise this ambition for Laurence Jackson School.
We are looking forward to demonstrating how joining the Vision Academy Learning Trust will help to shape a strong and positive future for Laurence Jackson School, and how working in collaboration with the other schools within the Trust will provide benefits to children and families across all of our schools, including Laurence Jackson School. Representatives from Vision Academy Learning Trust will hold a meeting at 4pm on Monday 21 October 2019, at Laurence Jackson School. We are keen to meet parents and members of the local community to offer an overview of the Trust, our school improvement and how working together with Laurence Jackson we can bring benefits for the school and the children.
We have set out in this letter some of the ways the partnership will work to help every child succeed.
What is an academy?
Academies are publicly funded, self-governing schools for children of all abilities. Academy status gives schools freedom to be innovative and creative with the curriculum, timetabling, staffing and governance. All Academies will be inspected by Ofsted, and comply with the same rules as other schools on special educational needs, exclusions and admissions.
About Vision Academy Learning Trust
Vision Academy Learning Trust was established on 1 August 2015 by Egglescliffe School, which is currently judged to be Outstanding by Ofsted. In recent years, Egglescliffe School has attained results above those nationally in terms of GCSE results.
The Vision Academy Learning Trust Board of Directors is ultimately responsible for the schools within the partnership and accountable to the Department for Education providing visionary strategic leadership, a focus on continuous improvement, high quality governance and a strong inclusive ethos with a caring and supportive culture. The Trust’s Schools include Egglescliffe School, Chandlers Ridge Academy, Junction Farm Primary School, The Links Primary School and Whinstone Primary School.
The CEO and Head Teacher of Egglescliffe School is also a National Leader for Education and has strong links with the National College for Teaching and Leadership and has supported a number of schools in their improvement journey.
This is an exciting time for all the schools involved and we are eagerly anticipating the opportunities that will be opened up as result of being part of the Trust.
Our Vision, Values and Ethos
The Trust’s aim is to build upon the existing strengths of the partnership with Laurence Jackson School and to offer “outstanding” education provision so that every child succeeds and reaches their potential.
As a Trust we value close working support and relations with parents and carers.
What are the main benefits for schools within the Vision Academy Learning Trust?
- Access to top quality staff, including an “outstanding” Trust leadership team who are sharply focussed on securing excellence.
- Moderation of standards across the partnership of schools to ensure the highest quality provision.
- Greater control over finances and the money due to schools.
- Educational benefits for students as a result of additional freedoms available to academies in terms of the curriculum we offer, and how we prioritise resources.
- The opportunity to work in close and formalised partnership with other schools and share expertise and services that will benefit all our students and staff.
- Sharing resources and expertise, allows us to target funding towards improving front line teaching and learning.
- Joining up provision to remove barriers to learning.
- Develop our own solutions collaboratively.
“Our aim is to inspire the imaginations of our students and to support them to develop in ways which stand them in good stead for their future lives and responsibilities as individuals, employees and citizens”.
The Vision Academy Learning Trust Board will provide strong and effective governance to all of the schools in the Trust including Laurence Jackson School. We intend to work with the Department for Education and our advisers to ensure that governance supports our ambition that Laurence Jackson School becomes an outstanding school.
Will admissions arrangements change?
There no current plans to change the admissions criteria.
When would the school change to become an Academy?
We are aiming for 1st January 2020.
What does it mean for staff at the school?
All staff have the right to transfer their employment under TUPE legislation from their current employer, the Governing Body, to Vision Academy Learning Trust. We will keep staff updated and offering reassurance that terms and conditions will remain in line with nationally and locally agreed pay and conditions as approved nationally.
How will it affect my child’s education?
Vision Academy Learning Trust, as sponsor, is tasked with ensuring that every student at Laurence Jackson School achieves his or her full potential. It is our intention to review the curriculum and introduce any key changes necessary to the curriculum from September 2020 in order to improve the educational experience for every child. We are also wholly committed to improving the quality of teaching and learning and providing staff with the best professional development.
Will there be any curriculum changes?
The Vision Academy Learning Trust Team and the staff at Laurence Jackson School will work together to develop a curriculum that will be fit for purpose and be broad and balanced so that all children can have a clear pathway to success. It is vital that the curriculum provides personalised opportunities and supports rapid improvement.
Will the school continue to have a Specialism?
Specialisms are no longer recognised by the Department of Education as all key curriculum areas are valued in their own right and all children should be able to access a balanced programme of study. However, we recognise the important influence of sport and sports college status at Laurence Jackson School and will continue to support, value and develop this aspect of the school.
What will happen to the uniform?
There will be no changes to the uniform.
Will the name of the school change?
The school will continue to be known as Laurence Jackson School.
Will the times of the school day and holidays change?
There are no plans to change the times of the school day or the term dates. Any future changes would be subject to extensive consultation with parents and carers.
Vision Academy Learning Trust and the Laurence Jackson teams will be talking to the students about the exciting opportunities on offer as a result of joining Vision Academy Learning Trust.
Chief Executive Officer
Vision Academy Learning Trust
On Wednesday 9th October our school sports presentation evening took place. The evening was once again a fantastic occasion, celebrating the past year of sporting success at LJS. Our Guest speaker was former Middlesbrough FC midfielder Neil Maddison, who gave us a great insight into his career as a professional footballer during a Q&A with Mr Tyzack.
A vast number of awards were presented on the evening with the following highlights:
Team of the Year – U14 Girls football team – County Cup finalists
Chris Allinson memorial trophy for outstanding sporting performance – Katherine B
Sports Person of the Year – Archie L
17 students in Y10 visited the head offices of Venator to take part in a STEM event which focused on the companies manufacturing of titanium oxide. Students took part in construction challenges, had a virtual tour of the science labs and met with industry experts who explained the processes behind the product. Staff shared routes into employment and their experiences in the chemical manufacturing industry.
Mrs Crawford had the pleasure of accompanying Mr Wyke and 7 Y11 girls (pictured above) last week to see them receive their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award. To complete this award Jess C, Isobel J, Georgina L, Bem J, Qin Y, Lois M and Millie W had to satisfy criteria for four ‘sections’ – Voluntary, Skill, Physical and their Expedition. They spent at least 6 months volunteering and a minimum of 6 months on either Physical or Skills and then 3 months on the other.
The girls completed the expedition element of their award during the summer term of the last academic year. They walked from Laurence Jackson School to their campsite in Kildale. They walked a total of 15.5 km before setting up camp and cooking an evening meal for themselves. On day 2, the group cooked breakfast before breaking camp and starting their walk from Commondale to their next destination of Lawnsgate Farm in Lealholm (16.2 km). They again pitched camp, cooked an evening meal and entertained themselves by doing gymnastic activities. On day 3, the group cooked breakfast and had their tents packed away ahead of schedule. The girls set off to complete a further gruelling 11.2km to their finish line. The girls arrived at their finish with smiling faces and aching feet to a round of applause from Laurence Jackson School staff and parents.
During the Award ceremony last week, the girls presented a ‘Blog’ to show case the highlights from their expedition. It was a real honour to see the girls do this. A wide range of special guests at the ceremony commented on the quality of the girls’ ‘Blog’ and presentation skills. Considering all the efforts invested by these girls, sustained over such a time period and seeing them deliver such a quality piece of work has inspired Mrs Crawford to include a new ‘Special Recognition’ feature of Laurence Jackson’s Achievement Points Reward System. This new feature is worth 25 positive points and will be awarded to students who showcase excellence; reviewed and decided by Senior members of staff.
Mrs Crawford would like to thank Mr Wyke and his team of staff for their hard work and support in ensuring students have such a brilliant opportunity to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award and to say ‘Well Done’ again to the girls who really are a credit to themselves, their families and the school.
Congratulations to our six Year 8 students who took part at the Great North City Games.
All of the LJS students who took part ran exceptionally well in the 100m and qualified for the semi-final heats.
From there Erin L, qualified for the 100m B race final which took place on Saturday in front of a huge crowd on Stockton High Street, where she finished in 2nd Place.
Well done to all the students who took part!
We are proud of the achievements of our hard-working Year 11 students who are celebrating their exam success. We are particularly pleased with the number of our students who attained the highest grades, with 54% of all entries achieving Grade 5 or above and delighted that 139 Grade 8s and 9s were awarded to LJS students across a range of subjects; 60 of these were Grade 9s. Special mention goes to Charlotte Bennett and Emily Earl who achieved Grades 8/9 in all their subjects.
In the following subjects more than 20% of students achieved a Grade 7 or above: Art, Biology, Child Development, Chemistry, Engineering, French, German, History, ICT, Physics, RE, GCSE PE, Music, Spanish and Physics and we are thrilled that our students now have choices open to them to pursue education and training.
70% of all Grades achieved were Grade 4 or above and 63% of students achieved a Grade 4 or above in both English and Maths.
It should also be remembered that exam results, important as they are, only represent part of the picture. As well as performing so well academically, students in the class of 2019 have contributed to our school in many other ways; being active members of our school community and excelling in PE and Performing Arts. Not every achievement is measured through exam success and we will look forward watching our Class of 2019 students go on to every success in the future in all kinds of different ways.
If you have any books you wish to donate to LJS library please feel free to bring them along and they will be added to our stock.
The following authors are especially well-liked: Roald Dahl, Jeff Kinney, Michael Morpurgo and Jaqueline Wilson. Series of books such as Harry Potter, Skulduggery Pleasant and The Wimpy Kid are particularly popular and will be useful additions to the library.
Books should be suitable for ages 9-16 and all contributions will be gratefully received.
Thank you for your help
Mrs C Nowell – Literacy Co-ordinator
KS3 Assessment - Further Guidance for Parents/Carers
This information is for parent/carers seeking additional information (to the information I have sent to parent/carers regarding Progress Check 3). Over the last academic year, our time as a staff team working on 'Curriculum and Assessment' has been informed by researching current educational thinking, together with a full review of existing processes in school and then a comparison with Ofsted’s key documentation on features of outstanding assessment.
All of this work and these thought processes have helped inform our understanding about how to most effectively assess the progress that students are making at Key Stage 3. This is important to us not least because Key Stage 3 needs to build on successes students have achieved at Key Stage 2 and to allow them to develop the skills that they need to be academically successful at Key Stage 4.
Our thinking has been particularly influenced by Rosenshine, Christodoulou and Sherrington. Below, you will find links to some relevant articles. These articles will give you an insight into the nature of this educational research.
https://learningspy.co.uk/assessment/how-do-we-know-pupils-are-marking-progress-part-1-the-problem-with-flightpaths/ (links to part 2, 3 and 4 of this series of articles are hyperlinked once you access this link at the end of ‘part 1’)
Please sign the info off from Mrs Juckes (Headteacher)
Laurence Jackson School Summer Production 2019 – Little Shop of Horrors
This year a strong cast of students took part in a fantastic production full of energy and brilliant performances. Little Shop of Horrors, the rock musical comedy about a talking/singing Venus flytrap which eats its unsuspecting victims played to packed houses and impressed audiences over two nights.
Read more and take a look at the photos in our Music Department blog! - CLICK HERE
Many thanks to all parents who attended the information meeting regarding the latest OFSTED report and also those that have responded to the school with both questions regarding the process and support for the school and staff.
Mrs Juckes (Head Teacher) and Alan Ankers (chair of Governors) recently met with Simon Clarke MP and Local councillors to discuss the Ofsted report and the actions taken by the school so far. Simon has put a video about his visit to the school on his social media which can be found on his Facebook page.
I am also providing this short update on the Rapid Improvement Board (RIB) actions, so far.
These have consisted of the following:
- Local Authority statement of actions has now been through the Council chambers and agreed. It has been submitted to OFSTED and subsequently approved by OFSTED. This was a combined piece of work between the Mrs Juckes (HT) , the Interim CEO and National Leader in Education (NLE) . This document forms the foundation of the school improvement plan.
- Mrs Juckes has, along with the NLE, produced the school action plan which underpins the LA statement of actions. This document has also been submitted to Ofsted and approved as an annex to the LA statement of action.
- The Maths action plan has been presented to the RIB and a number of key actions have been implemented. The RIB chair has carried out learning walks in maths and a maths book scrutiny by RIB members has taken place. There is a new marking policy in Maths to underpin the improvement required in maths books. It is also part of a whole school marking policy
- As part of our involvement with the One Vision initiative an independent SEND review has taken place and the report has been submitted to the RIB for their action.
- The LA are looking to appoint a National Leader for Governance (NLG) to strengthen the Governance arrangements of the RIB. This should help in keeping a real focus on change and challenge. More on this when I receive more information.
- The Academisation Order has been received, we have been allocated a project officer by the RSC and the necessary document required has been submitted. The Headteacher Board is scheduled to sit in July to make a decision as to the best MAT solution for the school. If all goes according to plan we should be informed of the successful Trust shortly afterwards. (However, this timeline is subject to change).
In the meantime the RIB will continue to meet regularly and the Governing body will continue to support the RIB with:
Safeguarding, Statutory Policy arrangements/checks, Student Voice
and Standing Committees such as Pupil Disciplinary, Complaints, etc
Earlier in the year we announced plans to extend half price rail fares to 16 and 17-year-olds through a new railcard. The new railcard will be launched towards the end of August, ready for the new academic year. We know that many local authorities already deliver discount schemes for young people, and this new railcard is designed to complement those existing schemes. Given the ongoing engagement many of you have with train operating companies on those local products and offers, we wanted to ensure that you were well informed about the new railcard, and the Q&A below should provide some useful information:
- Who will be eligible for the new Railcard?
The new railcard can be purchased by all 16 and 17 year olds.
- How much will the railcard cost?
It will cost £30 per year.
- How long will the railcard be valid?
The railcard will be valid for one year or until the holder’s 18th birthday, whichever is earliest.
- Which services can the railcard be used on?
The railcard will be valid on services provided by DfT-franchised train operating companies. Conversations with devolved administrations about acceptance of the railcard on franchises they manage are ongoing.
- Can the railcard be used for season tickets?
Yes – the railcard will be valid on singles, returns and season tickets. It is designed to enable 16 and 17 year olds to access the same half price child fares that they could access until they were 16.
- How does this railcard differ from the existing 16-25 Railcard?
This railcard will provide a different level of discount to the existing 16-25 railcard, which is aimed at leisure travel. The 16-25 railcard has a minimum fare of £12 for journeys starting between 4.30am and 10am on week days and is therefore less useful for travel to and from education or training. There will be few restrictions associated with the 16-17 railcard, with railcard-holders eligible for half price fares, including on season tickets, and with no minimum fares.
- Why have you introduced this new railcard?
Young people are required to stay in education or training until their 18th birthday, but they only have access to half price child rail fares until their 16th birthday. This new railcard is designed to bridge that gap and provide an additional support for young people.
Congratulations to the staff and 32 students who walked from Castleton to Broadgate Farm, Westerdale, for their Duke of Edinburgh practice camp over the weekend.
On arrival students pitched their tents and cooked an evening meal for themselves.
The following day students broke camp after breakfast and walked back to Castleton following a different route. All of the students preformed excellent under challenging wet conditions but kept their spirits up and finished with a smile on their faces.
This walk and camp has given the student confidence and will stand them in good stead for their final expedition taking place the weekend of 15th June.