Oxford Church academy trust is ‘listening’

15 March 2019

ODST

The CEO of the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust, Anne Davey, with her deputy, Ian Elkington

The CEO of the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust, Anne Davey, with her deputy, Ian Elkington

A CHURCH multi-academy trust (MAT) has been praised by OFSTED inspectors, after visits to all 33 of its schools.

The Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) was recognised for its strong values, leadership, and outcomes for children. It was the first MAT in the south-east region to undergo OFSTED’s new summary evaluation, in which a whole MAT is inspected at once.

The report, published this month, says: “The trust’s ‘common vision for the common
good’ permeates all aspects of its work”, and describes the MAT as “a listening trust”.

It says that “88 per cent of schools in the trust were judged to be good or outstanding. Of the eight outstanding schools, two have achieved their outstanding judgements since joining the trust.”

OFSTED found that: “School leaders and governors speak of their strong commitment to the trust. Typically, they describe ODST as being ‘like a family’, in which the CEO and her team display high levels of professionalism balanced with warmth, care, and respect for all.”

Another finding was: “A key principle of the trust is the freedom given to schools to design a curriculum best suited to the needs of their pupils. The trust has sensibly put in place steps to support schools as they develop their curriculum offer this year.”

The CEO of ODST, Anne Davey, said: “I am delighted OFSTED has recognised the impact that our focus on people has had on outcomes for the children in our care. This letter illustrates how our approach is highly valued by schools and communities.

“We’ve welcomed this chance to showcase our trust, having already dedicated 2018-19 to consolidating the way we work before taking on any more schools. We are already developing our practice to ensure all children make the best possible progress from their starting points, along the lines that OFSTED recommends.”

There were three recommendations from the report. The first was that trustees and officers should “provide the necessary challenge and support to schools to ensure that pupils across the trust, including those who are disadvantaged, make
progress that is in line with or better than national averages at Key stage 2”.

Second, trustees and officers should: “Sharpen accountability for pupils’ outcomes at all levels in the trust by ensuring a more consistent focus on what pupils learn and how well they achieve, including evaluating the impact of school-improvement work.”

Finally, they should: “Complement the existing informal approaches to consulting school leaders with more systematic processes for gathering and responding to their feedback and evaluations.”

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