The key aim for TTMAT is to provide academic environments where students have the opportunity to achieve their personal best and where individual talents, in all forms, can be maximised. Students enjoy conditions that enable them to be successful and confident learners who make progress. Each Academy offers a broad curriculum that includes the national curriculum and opportunities to specialise in certain fields, such as Business, Physical Education, Science and Technology. In the post-16 phase, a broad spectrum of vocational and academic options are available to suit all abilities and wide-ranging ambitions giving students the best possible conditions from which they can secure their chosen pathways to future employment.
The day to day role and autonomy of the Heads within the MAT remains unchanged and he/she continues to be the independent lead of their own Academy. The Heads are accountable to the Local Governing Board (LGB) and control their own staffing appointments and budgets with support from the TTMAT Director of Finance. It is the responsibility of the Heads to support and develop their staff and to request collaborative support from colleagues in the MAT or from Thomas Telford School, if required.
Each Academy maintains its own identity, heritage and uniqueness which are symbols of their individual success. They retain their existing names and logos and continue to serve their local communities. The Academies adopt the Thomas Telford Template through the “Memorandum of Cooperation” and provides each Academy with the flexibility to organise its curriculum provision and shape the educational conditions.This supports students to grow in to confident, articulate and responsible adults with the skills necessary to function in modern society. A special needs provision, with internal counselling support for those who are most vulnerable, operates and there is mutual cooperation, where practicable, with shared in-house referral units for hard to place students and to assist the Academies to reduce the number of permanent exclusions.
The Heads meet termly to discuss common issues and develop the group’s established innovative educational principles and to strategically prepare for future changes in the educational landscape. The Heads are currently faced with the challenges of a government imposed curriculum framework and methods of assessment which will dictate the level of scrutiny that schools and academies will face. However, the opportunities which now exist for innovation and research are at the forefront of the Heads’ current discussions and the possible changes which can be made to the educational programmes in Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Sixth Form. The individualised learning concept and schemes of work have been developed to help students in the post-16 phase experience a university style of education with students taking more control of their learning pattern. The “lost years” in Key Stage 3, provides opportunities to bring more relevance and improved engagement and motivation through an earlier options programme, if desired, and the timing of the demanding reforms in Key Stage 4 subjects affords a way in which the Academies can work closely together to develop online learning content which is shared through an “online resource centre”. Progressing the “state of the art” ICT infrastructure and equipment in the Academies within TTMAT is key to maintaining the pre-eminent position of our group in being leaders in the way we offer access to learning content.
Careers education is a key feature for the Academies and the established joint provisions which are already in place have been further expanded under TTMAT. The requirement for all secondary schools and academies to promote apprenticeship opportunities is an area of significant focus. Part of the goal is that all students within TTMAT secure a destination at the end of Year 11 or Sixth Form and that there are no NEETs.
Coordinated training days are formalised and have been further developed under the TTMAT framework providing peer support opportunities and professional development for staff. The Heads work together to establish shared arrangements and formulate joint departments, where appropriate to do so. They also actively identify and nurture those employees who are suitable for succession opportunities across the group. Further Information of the contractual arrangements for each Academy’s employees under TTMAT is provided on page 5 under “Human Resources”.
Economies of scale possibilities are routinely reviewed to secure best value for money and the practice of combining roles, where prudent to do so, is a feature. The systematic overview of policy and procedural documentation to achieve commonality is a process, which operates effectively, and ensures consistency is achieved, where practicable, and that experiences are shared.