Benefits of joining our MAT

The Bridge MAT is a unique multi-academy trust currently consisting of four special schools, one primary school, a Training and Development Service and an Outreach Service. 

We are an ambitious family of schools that embraces the individuality of everyone – children and adults. We acknowledge that learning can look different for different pupils and staff and we look to change our approach to meet the needs of the individual. We are committed to getting learning right for everyone. We’re always looking for new and better ways of doing things – everything is about doing the best for our children and young people.

We believe that learning for both children and adults in the Trust is greater together as a group of schools in partnership. We can learn more together and make better provision together rather than schools operating separately.

We are looking for the Trust to develop into a multi-hub Trust with a centralised support team. Each school within the Trust will be innovative, creative, evidence informed, and an outstanding centre of learning where all pupils and adults achieve amazing outcomes. All of the schools in the Trust will share with each other, and outside will learn from others, for the benefit of the pupils and staff.

Our Trust values are referred to as the 5 Ps. These are pride, passion, positivity, professionalism and partnership. Each school has additional values which describe aspirational behaviours appropriate for that individual school community.

Core messages about the Trust as a whole

Whenever looking at new ways of doing things we consider the impact this will have on the children. We plan the education we deliver taking into account each child’s strengths and use these as a starting point to build upon. We know that teachers and teaching assistants are key to pupils receiving the best possible education. We develop all our staff through a thorough programme of staff development.

We want to learn from others and we encourage staff to engage with research. This is supported by our Training & Development Service. As a part of this commitment and desire to learn from others we actively engage in school improvement networks both within Islington and across London, for example all of our schools are part of the Challenge Partners network. We also purchase membership of the Chartered College of Teaching for all our staff.

We work hard to integrate the service we provide so that we work seamlessly alongside other agencies, such as health, CAMHS and social care professionals.

We are committed to engaging positively with our pupils and this is one of our values. We are presently working with Windesheim University in the Netherlands to introduce Positive Behaviour Support to all of our schools.

As a Trust we do not stand still. We want to continue improving what we do, so that we can improve the offer to our pupils. Each of our schools continually looks at how it can further develop.

 

What we can offer
  • A model which supports staff to provide high quality teaching and learning
  • Curricular design which is matched to local contexts and individual needs
  • Positive Behaviour Support implemented across all the schools
  • Excellent problem solving in new or difficult situations
  • Experience of opening new schools and turning around failing schools
  • Evidence informing our practice
  • Support to create new evidence bases when they don’t currently exist
  • A systematic approach to leadership development
  • A systematic approach to leadership development
  • Opportunities for all staff to experience a range of schools in the Trust
  • Well thought out and centralised recruitment processes
  • Coaching and mentoring to develop all staff
  • A carefully planned and tracked CPD offer
  • Access to apprentice teaching assistants
  • Access to The Bridge PGCE programme teachers
  • Clear schemes of delegation and support for governance
  • Centralised services, systems, structures and financial control
Why The Bridge MAT

We are still learning. We became a Multi Academy Trust with more than one school in May 2017. We are not the finished article and we want schools that join us to be part of forming and shaping who we are as a Trust. There are some key principles we are wedded to which have been outlined above. We assume that if schools wish to join us they agree with these principles. However, we are still developing and we would like the schools that join us to influence that development pathway.

Hard or soft partnership?

A soft partnership allows a school to ‘try before they buy’ with our Trust. In some situations this works well as it allows us to get to know each other and work together prior to a firm commitment. It would be difficult to provide central service functions to a school that has not joined the Trust as there is a significant investment in on-boarding with systems and procedures. However, certain functions could be supported on an individually agreed basis.

A soft partnership does allow for a school to work with our school improvement functions. The models of leadership and staff development can be shared. Coaching and mentoring for all staff (or some) can be implemented. Schools can access our apprenticeship programme and PGCE programme. Staff can visit other schools within the Trust and secondments can be arranged if appropriate.

A non-exhaustive list of activities a school may wish to get involved in are:

  • Regular 1:1 meetings with the CEO
  • A review of leadership structure and activities
  • Training and support in setting up a formal coaching and mentoring model
  • Support with curriculum design
  • Join our implementation hub for Positive Behaviour Support
  • An introduction to Challenge Partners
  • A tracked CPD offer linked to performance management
  • Peer support to develop teaching and learning
  • Access to apprentice TAs
  • Access to The Bridge PGCE programme teachers
  • Support to undertake research projects
  • Access to Headteacher meetings sharing best practice

These will need to be funded but this is not a commercial proposition, these activities would be provided at cost.

A hard partnership involves a school converting to become an academy and formally joining The Bridge MAT. This would enable the school to benefit from all the school improvement functions as well as the economies of scale of accessing our centralised business functions. The governance structure would also change with governors of the school being able to focus on the quality of teaching and learning being provided.