Schools Supporting Schools

N HodgesSwale Academies Trust has been working with The North School, Ashford since early 2014, after a request for leadership support by Kent County Council.

“The Swale Academies Trust has brought highly effective leadership to the school. Rapid improvements have been made to all aspects of school life.”  The North School, Ofsted report June 2015.

Derek Trimmer, Executive Headteacher for Secondary provision works in supporting the North Schools leadership team. “I feel really strongly that every child has the same right to a world class education, to work in a system where they have the same access to things, whether you go to a grammar school or not. That’s why we are really careful that we don”t make excuses.”

He states, it is about “changing the culture”. According to senior staff the new approaches were borne out of a “sharing” approach to education.

Mrs Hodges and Mr TrimmerNicki Hodges, Headteacher, has bought in many new initiatives to the school. A key aspect being the celebration of top-performing students in each year group. Student’s performance is displayed through the main corridors and highlighted in assemblies. Students now think it is “cool to know that they are doing well.”

One pupil told the Ashford Herald “People did not like it too much at first, it was a confidence thing but when we realised why they were doing it, and that we could see how we were doing and be part of it, a lot of us started to like it.”

The North School will soon formally join Swale Academies Trust, which already support several Primary and Secondary schools in Kent. Derek Trimmer insists the academy system brings benefits. “When you are a stand-alone school you can feel quite competitive- you don’t share in the same way.”