Our Trust – How does LGAT support Pilgrim Academy?
Pilgrim Academy is part of the Lincolnshire Gateway Academies Trust, which is made up of seven academies in Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.
The Trust was formed in 2012 based around Waltham Toll Bar Academy, a high performing large secondary school that had already sponsored a failing school, Cleethorpes Academy, in 2010.
The Trust has grown since 2012, adding Reynolds Academy in 2013, Somercotes Academy in 2015, Theddlethorpe Academy in 2016, Pilgrim Academy in April 2017 and Louth Academy in September 2017. The Trust therefore has 4 secondaries, one with a sixth form and 3 primaries with approximately 5,000 students in total.
Since joining the Trust, Pilgrim Academy has been on quite a journey. We have made significant changes over the last few years and have explored and adapted all areas to ensure we are providing the best possible education for our pupils.
Please have a look at some of the images and information below to gain a flavour, as to how we work closely with and are fully supported by our Trust.
LGAT invests heavily in CPD, supporting staff with whole Trust training packages, alongside training for individuals and bespoke support for each academy. For example, at Pilgrim Academy, CPD has included:
- A Curriculum Development Seminar in November 2022, led by renowned educationalist, Chris Quigley, which was open to all staff and leaders across the Trust. In additional, local leaders from 18 regional schools attended, part of our drive to work collaboratively with colleagues in the area.
- In February 2023, ISHA (Improvement in Schools through Handwriting and Art) provided all staff with training to develop excellent handwriting and high-quality presentation. The training supported staff with providing a range of teaching strategies, appropriate teaching language and ways forward for implementing consistency of handwriting across the school.
- In April 2023, all staff took part in a full days' INSET led by Paul Carney which supported staff with the delivery of Art & Design. The session was a hands-on day with lots of activities planned, focusing on areas such as art skills; drawing; painting, craft and sculpture.
The Trust employs specialists such as electricians, painters, joiners and fabricators. This ensures that any on-site projects can be completed quickly and efficiently and can be co-ordinated by the central team to support each academy's wishes.
This is not just for large-scale projects but for smaller works such as ensuring areas can be regularly updated and painted to ensure the children have a fantastic learning environment at each academy.
This team makes a massive difference as you can see from some of the recent projects below at Pilgrim Academy.
Pilgrim Academy Projects
Over the last 18 months, there has been significant development and investment in upgrading and changing some of the facilities at Pilgrim Academy. This has been supported by the Trust, through the team mentioned above, alongside the centralised Estates and Facilities team.
Some examples include:
- New Sensory Room, 'The Space Station' to support our children with additional needs. This is a fantastic space to support individuals and groups through interventions – it is particularly focused on supporting children with SEMH needs and is used by external agencies when they visit.
- Our Library is a wonderful environment and is used by all children on a weekly basis. They love the images on the wall and the fantastic layout to ensure they can read in a comfortable and welcoming space.
- Our wildlife and garden have ensured a significant shift to outdoor learning, supporting the curriculum and well-being. The children love the opportunity to go outside, as well as make use of our new outdoor classroom.
- Our reception and nursery area has been extended during 2023, resulting in more space available for children in Early Years.
Supporting the Curriculum - Resources
There has been significant development of the curriculum over the last few years with the leadership team reviewing every aspect of how we design and deliver a fantastic curriculum for our children. This has necessitated significant support and investment from the Trust, in terms of training, as outlined, but also in terms of resources, both physical and through various software packages.
- Design & Technology has been a big focus this year. We have purchased a wide range of great resources which have aided the subject to flourish. These have included ovens being installed, as well as a variety of cooking equipment purchased; woodwork equipment such as benches, saws and drills bought and even Lego purchased for a pneumatics topic!
- Another area of focus has been Music and we have recently purchased class set of glockenspiels as well as the on-line programme from Kapow to support our teaching. In this lesson, Year 3 children have been using the new glockenspiels to learn Pentatonic Melodies! Everybody then took it in turns to perform to their class mates and had great fun.
- There has been significant investment in books, both hard copy for the library and through systems such as Bug Club and Reading Plus which has supported our drive to instil a love of reading, as well improve standards and outcomes.
Supporting the Curriculum – Enrichment
One of our key drivers is to inspire our children through our curriculum, which is supported through enrichment activities, in terms of through visits and inviting groups and speakers into Pilgrim Academy, which is financially supported by the Trust. A few recent examples include the following:
- In January 2023, Image Musical Theatre performed an interactive production of Wind in the Willows to all children in the academy. The children enjoyed finding out about the different characters in the play and their roles in the story. Some of the children were chosen to wear costumes and were shown how to act out their parts during the play.
- During the same month, Sunita Patel from The Indian Experience visited Pilgrim to teach the students about Indian culture. Sunita instructed the children on various dances including Bollywood, Indian folk dances of the Gurba and Ras-Dandiya and the Bhangra. In addition, she taught them about traditional dress and artwork.
- In November 2022, Portals from the Past delivered a workshop on the Ancient Greeks to year 5/6 students. They solved Greek puzzles, played traditional Greek games, took part in re-enacting battles, and hosted their own Olympic Games.
The Wider Team
- Every Principal works closely with the CEO and the central Trust team on matters such as HR, Finance and IT.
- Fortnightly meetings are in place for all leaders but crucially, support and advice is a phone call away which provides fantastic provision for the individual academies.
- Their leadership ensures that the support is there, when needed, allowing the senior teams and the principals to mainly focus on educational matters.
- This also supports the administration team within each school and certain services are conducted by the central team, balanced by ensuring that each principal has their own autonomy to make decisions that are right for their individual academy.
- The crucial element for each school is the local nature of our Trust. For example, if an IT technician is needed for an emergency, they can be on the premises within half an hour; if we have an educational visit that requires 2 minibuses, our custodians will move the buses across sites, easing pressure on SLT and greatly reducing transport costs.
One of the key strengths of our Trust is that we work closely together and offer constant support and advice to each other, sharing ideas and good practice. The Primary Academy principals meet weekly but speak to each other regularly – we all learn from each other and this is filtered down through our senior leaders and wider staff.
Below are some examples:
- We have made some significant changes over the last 2/3 years which we have worked on very closely together. For example, in areas such curriculum design; assessment and feedback and planning requirements.
- In addition, we have worked closely on developing policies such as attendance, safeguarding and uniform – not only does this help reduce workload but ensures that we all ensure that as a team, we are meeting statutory expectations.
- Our teams also work closely across Pilgrim, Reynolds and Theddlethorpe Academies. For example, the English leaders have jointly produced a progression document and long-term plans for Reading and our PSHE leads have recently worked on updating our PHSE policy.
- We try and organise for our subject leaders to meet at least termly and as far as we can, half-termly. This allows them to share good practice; training ideas; recent subject developments as well as discuss any areas of future development.
- Sharing good practice is a massive advantage for us. For example, Pilgrim Academy recently received CPD on handwriting training – the workshop was attended by the English leads from Reynolds and Theddlethorpe – as a result, the training will now be taking place across the other two academies. Reynolds shared the fantastic impact of their Therapy dog, Ziggy – as a result, Pilgrim now has its own dog, Bella!
Independence is crucial
However, it is also very important to emphasise that each academy if different and we do not operate a 'one size, fits all' approach. Though we work closely together and have a similar ethos and share many similar practices, we pride ourselves on ensuring that everything we do is right for our own children in the context of our own academy.
- Pilgrim and Reynolds follow the Bug Club programme for Phonics, whereas Theddlethorpe adopts the Little Wandle scheme, the difference also being reflected in our wider reading schemes.
- In Music and Computing, we follow different programmes.
- Though we all use the White Rose programme in Maths as a basis for our curriculum, we all adapt the resource in different ways to suit our own pupils and needs.
- In some curriculum areas, we teach different topics. For example, in History, Theddlethorpe teach the Mayans, whereas Pilgrim and Reynolds teach Ancient Greece.
Importantly, we always share and discuss aspects such as those above together and consider what is best for our children – this often leads to one school adapting a programme later on, based on positive experiences from the other academy.
If you would like any further details, regarding our Trust, please click on the link below: