CHILDREN and staff are to take learning to another level after joining one of the region’s most successful education trusts.
Thorntree Academy, Middlesbrough, is the latest school to join the Extol Multi Academy Trust, which is renowned for its outstanding teaching and professional development.
Based in Hartlepool, the trust currently oversees the governance of the town’s Eldon Grove Academy, a National Support School, New Silksworth Infant and Junior Academies in Sunderland, as well as being an approved DfE sponsor for other schools.
The trust is headed by chief executive Julie Deville, a National Leader for Education and a recognised turnaround specialist for under-performing schools.
The move is expected to accelerate the current rise in fortunes of Thorntree Academy which in the past three years has tripled levels of attainment among its more than 300 pupils, who are aged from three to 11.
As well as being able to tap into the expertise offered by Extol, Thorntree Academy staff will be sharing their considerable experience of teaching a high concentration of pupil premium classes and special educational needs, which is reflected in them being recognised as a Centre of Excellence for Inclusion.
Deputy Head Nerys Thornton and Assistant Head Mike Foster have been identified to speak at a national conference in Birmingham on how to support all pupils to achieve and learn together.
Madame Deville said: “We are investing in everything needed to provide children with the very best environment in which to learn, thrive and celebrate achievement.”
The move is the latest step in a school improvement programme that linked Madame Deville with Thorntree in 2019.
Headteacher Wendy Nelson said: “Our governors took the process of academisation very seriously and considered a number of trusts but liked Extol for its moral drive, ethics and inclusive ethos.
“It is so refreshing to work with people who recognise the difficulties we have faced in the past and who appreciate the direction we are now travelling.”
All staff are receiving continuous professional development which is said to be having a major impact on learning at Thorntree.
Madame Deville said: “Staff remain our best resource so we are investing in them. We are talent spotting, supporting them in their continued professional development and ultimately this will benefit pupils.”
Mrs Nelson added: “This is a really exciting development. We have been on a challenging journey but we are now working with like-minded people, who share the same values, aims and ambitions for our children.”