If you're thinking of joining us, we'd love to hear from you. You and your staff are welcome to join some of our high quality training sessions,
visit our schools or central offices and talk to our members of staff/governors or senior leaders about what life is like in Bridge Schools Trust.
From the moment you decide to join us, we have the people in place to guide you through every step of the transition as well as supporting your school to flourish in every sense
Steph Bass is our lead for academy conversions and would already have played a role in getting to know you and your colleagues. She will liaise with your governing body, Cornwall Council, DfE and solicitors to ensure the process of joining us as smooth as possible. In her wider role, Steph looks at how Bridge Schools can continue to develop business opportunities that reduce costs and drive up efficiency to provide better opportunities for all our children at Bridge Schools. Whether you are looking to change your catering provider, open a nursery or extend your current age range, Steph can support you with managing these projects.
We understand that each school is on a different improvement journey and therefore provide tailor made packages of support. Whether they relate to the school's culture, expectations of pupils, leadership, governance, attendance, behaviour, teaching and learning, assessment or variability in performance, we can assist you in identifying the specific next steps needed to move your school forward. You are then able to access a wealth of training opportunities and support to achieve your aspirational goals. Please see our page on Personal Professional Training Opportunities for more detail.
All aspects of budget management, procurement and finance functions is managed centrally for the trust - leaving you free to focus on teaching and learning. The team is led by our Chief Finance Officer who is a chartered accountant with an MBA. On joining the trust, a budget meeting will be set up following the due diligence exercise to agree the academy budget for the remainder of the financial year. Financial years run alongside academic years in academies i.e., September to 31st August unlike other institutions which run April to 31st March. Budgeting rounds will begin in March.
Our HR team has a wealth of knowledge and can guide you through all your HR requirements.
Each month they process the payroll for your school, this will include staff absence, overtime, casual payments, supply and mileage claims. Any approved contract variations will also be processed centrally. All personal information such as absence, training, any change of personal details or bank details will be actioned and updated centrally in Arbor. Secure processes are in place to comply with data protection.
In terms of recruitment, they will advertise vacancies, collate application information and invite to interview. They communicate to candidates not selected for interview and send out a letter of appointment to the successful applicant, along with a new starter form for them to complete. DBS checks, references and, if applicable, Teacher checks will be completed at the Central Office and the results communicated to the Executive Heads, Headteacher/Head of School.
Each month they supply the latest monthly staff report (EM06) to the school.
They are able to assist/advise with all HR matters such as: long term absence, occupational health referrals, capability, disciplinary and grievance matters.
Within our HR team, we have Data Protection Officer who will support schools to ensure that sound policies, procedures and systems are in place so that Bridge Schools is able to demonstrate compliance with GDPR.
Upon conversion the Bridge Schools Premises team will begin to work with you to manage the running of your buildings both from a legal compliance and a planned and reactive maintenance basis. A full building fabric and services Condition Report will be undertaken for your site so that maintenance and capital investment can be prioritised and where appropriate, funding applied for
Using our pre-accredited suppliers and contractors and, where beneficial your existing suppliers, we will manage all aspects of mandatory and best practice compliance. Work practices will be aligned with the Trust's existing policies, procedures and safe systems of work.
A telephone helpdesk is in place for all Premises, Health and Safety and incident reporting with an online system being developed using Parago Asset and Facilities Management software. This will be monitored by both the central team and a dedicated, reactive caretaking service. As soon as the system goes live we shall provide you with more details regarding access to the online reporting log and training availability.
The four Bridge Schools minibuses are also available through a centrally managed booking service.
In addition to the core package, the Premises Team can offer a minor capital works procurement and management service as well as having access to a first class bid writing and major capital works management service.
Our IT Services team provides a critical central function to ensure a consolidated and consistent approach across the Trust for our Information, Communication and Technology platforms, maintaining and continually developing robust, safeguarded and secure services for all schools and the central office – always at best fit and best value.
This means the schools can concentrate on teaching and learning outcomes, safe in the knowledge that IT will not let them down.
This includes: (for all IT hardware, software, systems, services)
Essentially, we translate the tech to teach so you don't have to.
As a Trust, we invested in John Hattie's Visible Learning Programme during a period of growth and used it as the vehicle to bring us together into a cohesive and effective learning community with shared values and a shared commitment to ensuring the highest expectations for our learners. As a result, practitioners are able to learn from each other's successes, with a common understanding of high quality education, tailoring what has been learned in one school, and making it relevant for another school.
Visible Learning has provided a shared language for staff underpinning their understanding of how children learn most effectively. In addition, the programme has supported us to shift our focus away from what we teach to what children learn, reflecting together on pedagogy and research.
As a learning community, we all embrace the 10 Mindframes of Visible Learning:
As well as embodying our values, our children:
We aim to deliver an outstanding curriculum that is:
Teachers and other adults create a positive climate for learning in which pupils are interested and engaged. Teaching strategies, together with support and intervention, match individual needs.
Teachers, pupils and parents are aware of our high expectations and have equal ambition to reach them. The organisation of teaching and learning ensures children have a rich and varied experience which enthuses, motivates and engages them in their learning.
Teachers inspire the pupils to learn through their energy, enthusiasm, the creative use of resources and the creation of wonderfully inviting learning environments both indoors and outdoors. Teachers are skilled at making learning interesting, using their knowledge of the pupils to plan lessons that closely meet individual learning needs. Skilled and well-planned questioning is used to probe the pupils' thinking by requiring detailed answers.
From the Trust Visible Learning Programme schools have developed approaches to teaching the children the skills of being a successful learner.
The curriculum offers real experiences that include trips, visitors, outdoor learning and practical elements to engage children in a concept learning approach. Concepts have been developed and applied across the range of subjects - requiring a cross-curricular skills approach. The children enjoy and are motivated by this approach. The emphasis throughout is on a broad and balanced 'language-rich' curriculum, delivered in an innovative and engaging manner, with English and Mathematics at its core. At every opportunity pupils are challenged, questioned and encouraged to think. Teamed with memorable experiences and a stimulating learning environment, we aim to nurture a life-long love of learning.
Bridge Schools Trust values each and every member of staff and as such we provide a comprehensive package of opportunities of support everyone on their personal journey to improvement. We publish a half termly training offer (see example below)
Aims of our Personal Professional Training offer:
As well as half termly meetings focusing on English, maths, EYFS, SEN and safeguarding, we have strong practitioners identified across the Trust in all curricular subjects who can provide high quality school to school support.
As well as training sessions which are available to all, we also provide packages of training for specific groups of practitioners such as:
Trust Schools are also supported by Pupil Premium and Safeguarding audits.
At Bridge Schools Trust, we are committed to supporting our children, their families and our staff to lead healthy lives. This not only includes being physically active but also mentally well.
All our schools have an active PE programme which incorporates at least 2 hours of PE per week and encourages a minimum of 30 minutes of being physically active each day. Alongside this, children learn about mental wellness through our PSHE programme.
Each of our schools have a Wellbeing Champion who has been trained to support others and signpost services and support. We also have a healthcare package which all staff can access. It has many health benefits such as part payment for treatments including physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, eye care, plus financial discounts and rewards when purchasing from certain retailers and access to a 24-hour counsellor.
Removing unnecessary workload for our teachers allows them to focus on teaching and their own professional development which in turn leads to better outcomes for our children. Our policies aim to reduce staff workload, which is why they are regularly reviewed.
At Bridge Schools Trust, we recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of all pupils. We endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are protected, respected and valued. All our staff are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and follow our procedures to ensure that our children receive effective and timely support.
Our trust has adopted a common Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy that develops procedures and good practice within our schools and the central team. This refers to the latest review of Keeping Children Safe in Education and Working Together to Safeguard Children.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined in KCSIE 2020 as: protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children's mental and physical health or development; ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Child protection refers to the processes undertaken to protect children who have been identified as suffering, or being at risk of suffering significant harm.
Children in Need refers to a child who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable level of health and development, or whose health and development is likely to be significantly or further impaired, without the provision of services, or a child who is disabled. Local authorities are required to provide services for children in need for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting their welfare.
Our trust works together collaboratively to share good practice, learn lessons, keep abreast of local and national concerns and to act as a supportive network for each other. Staff receive regular training and supervision to ensure that everyone is suitably equipped to be responsible for safeguarding our children. We regularly connect with Our Safeguarding Children Partnership (OSCP) and other professional organisations.
We will always ensure that our concerns about our children are discussed with the parents/carers first unless we have reason to believe that this is not in the child's best interests. We act on the voice of the child.
We aim to prevent all unsuitable people working with children and young people in our school, through our centralised safer recruitment and other safeguarding practices. Where there are concerns in relation to any adult within our schools, we act swiftly and follow due process.
© 2021 Bridge Schools trust is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Registration number 7736425. It is an exempt charity.