New Church led schools trust aims to work for excellence in education in Reading

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A PARTNERSHIP between an ‘outstanding’ Church school and its neighbour that had previously been judged by Ofsted as failing led to the formation of a new Multi Academy Trust.

When New Town Primary School in Reading was placed in special measures by Ofsted, the local authority asked for support from St John’s CE Primary School, which is nearby. Angharad Brackstone, the Headteacher of St John’s, became Executive Headteacher of both schools. She led a joint staff-team which has worked to see St John’s remain outstanding while New Town is now out of special measures and is continuing to improve. The leadership of New Town school was judged good at its recent inspection.

The success of the partnership has spearheaded the launch of the brand new Royal County of Berkshire Schools Trust. The new trust, with strong links to the Diocese of Oxford, (the Church of England for Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire) launches today.

It is based on the successful model of the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) which launched in 2012 and now boasts 18 schools. Like them, RCBST will help schools pool resources to provide the best possible education to pupils. It will also continue to secure some support services from Reading Borough Council and to draw on the expertise and experience at the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education which is responsible for more than 284 Church schools serving a total of 60,000 pupils.

Anne Davey, Diocesan Director of Education, said: “We were delighted to see the success of the joint working between these two schools in Reading. We hope this is the start of another successful Multi Academy Trust that will help us to offer an excellent, inclusive education to more children of all faiths and none.”

David Langshaw, Chair of Governors, said: “This is really good news for both schools as it allows us to continue working together to provide a great education for the children in our neighbourhood. Our partnership has shown that we work very well together and we are looking forward to continuing with this work.”

Angharad said: “Becoming part of RCBST is great news for our community. It will enable our schools to go from strength to strength allowing the partnership between New Town and St John’s to continue to develop and flourish.”