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Chief Executive Officer - James Cook Learning Trust  

Welcome

Dear Applicant,

Thank you very much for taking an interest in the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at James Cook Learning Trust (JCLT). We are pleased to be able to invite applications for what we believe to be one of the most exciting and significant education leadership roles in Teesside. We hope that you will find the information provided to be a useful introduction to our Trust and schools and that you will take the opportunity to apply for the post.

The James Cook Learning Trust was established in September 2018 and currently comprises 4 primary schools based in the south of Middlesbrough. The Trust is founded on the deeply held belief that each child has the right to experience excellence every day and we have a common aim to provide the very best educational experiences to the children we serve.

The role of CEO is to provide strategic leadership and direction to all JCLT schools, and the children, young people and families in the communities they serve, and to further develop and articulate the vision and ethos of the Trust. The CEO will be directly accountable to the Board of Trustees for the collective performance and development of the JCLT as an organisation, and, working with Headteachers and Local Governing Bodies, for that of the individual schools within it.

We are seeking to appoint an individual who has a clear understanding of, and appetite for, a high level of accountability and will confidently lead the Trust by building on its many strengths, while also taking it into the next phase of its development. The pupils, staff, parents, trustees, governors and our local community are proud of our Trust where pupils are happy, well-behaved and enjoy learning. All our schools have a good track record of success, and deliver positive outcomes for all pupils regardless of background or ability.

We are looking for an astute education professional with strong leadership and team development skills, along with the ambition, drive and purpose to make a positive impact on the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. The successful candidate will deliver our vision to further improve and develop the Trust. In a changing educational environment, we are offering a unique opportunity to executively lead our Trust, developing its potential and building on our strengths, successes and achievements.

We strongly recommend that you visit us so that we can talk with you about this unique and career-defining opportunity and you will have a chance to see what we have to offer. Such a visit is not part of the selection process, and whether or not applicants have visited will not influence the final outcome.

If you would like the opportunity to visit, please email Rachel Wales, Resourcing Business Partner, who has been engaged to support us with recruitment to this key role (rachel.wales@northyorks.gov.uk). For an informal, confidential conversation about the role please call Rachel on 01609 532597 / 07973 692529.

We would like to thank you again for your interest in the post.  If you are a senior leader excited by these opportunities, we look forward to receiving your application.

 

Alan Cockerill
Chair of Trustees

The James Cook Learning Trust was established in September 2018 and currently comprises 4 primary schools based in the well-established suburbs of South Middlesbrough. The Trust is founded on the deeply held belief that each child has the right to experience excellence every day and we have a common aim to provide the very best educational experiences to the children we serve.

The Trust has a total pupil roll of 1306 across four primary schools:

Captain Cook Primary: NOR: 471 (Boy/Girl ratio (%) 51/49)
Lingfield Primary: NOR: 255 (Boy/Girl ratio (%) 47/53)
Marton Manor Primary: NOR: 253 (Boy/Girl ratio (%) 51/49)
The Avenue Primary: NOR: 327 (Boy/Girl ratio (%) 50/50)

All schools are current rated “good” by Ofsted and are all vibrant, distinctive and different, all of which put pupils at the heart of everything they do, and where each individual school is valued and supported in its own character and context. We work together and strive hard to develop each child’s academic, personal, social, moral, spiritual and physical development.

Three of our schools are substantially full, however, one has spare capacity and the land for future expansion if required. The majority of pupils come from the South Middlesbrough suburbs of Marton and Nunthorpe, bounded to the south by Ladgate lane and to the east by a railway line which is the border with Redcar and Cleveland. To the west our pupils come from some areas in the eastern part of Coulby Newham, however, all schools receive pupils from out of catchment. Pupil diversity is widening and the proportion of pupils in receipt of Pupil Premium is increasing steadily over time.

All our schools in the Trust are within close proximity, enabling us to build a strong local partnership, greater community cohesion, and to engage in shared activities across all of our schools, benefiting pupils as well as staff. These will include shared approaches to curriculum planning, teaching and learning and opportunities to share specialist roles across more than one school. The majority of our schools have pre and after school facilities and all have a nursery provision.

The way in which our Trust and schools are organised and run, as well as the relationship between the staff, pupils and parents/carers is based on the ethos “Discovering, learning and achieving together” that pervades every aspect of School life. The emphasis is wholeheartedly on educating the whole child in readiness for life beyond school.

The Trust is a developing family of schools who work together in pursuit of the Trust’s key objectives:

Vision
James Cook Learning Trust is committed to providing excellence, we aspire for our academies to be outstanding in all that they do. We want our schools to be well led and staffed by valued teams who provide excellent teaching and care. We believe that by working collaboratively we will enhance the quality of education in our schools and ensure that every child has the skills, knowledge and understanding to be successful as they continue their learning journey.

Mission

  • Through excellent partnership with our parents and carers, home and school we will work together to develop well rounded, young people who are keen to learn, understand the need to care for others and to contribute positively to their communities.
  • Our academies are exciting places to learn, they are well-resourced and managed through a clear framework of sustainability.
  • Our academies are outward facing, we work with others to develop and share our expertise across Middlesbrough and beyond.

Values

  • We make a positive difference to the lives of our children and families.
  • We value and respect the diversity of our schools and wider community.
  • We help and support each other in times of challenge.
  • We understand that every decision made is in the best interest of all the children across our schools and Middlesbrough.
  • We believe that everybody has the right to succeed with the appropriate support.

This ethos and culture has not come about by accident; it is largely due to the example provided by our current leader and staff and is something we are determined to see continue and flourish.

We are members of Middlesbrough Schools Teaching Alliance and all members benefit from collaborative support to improve learning outcomes for pupils and continued professional development (CPD) of teachers and potential teachers. We also work collaboratively with local primary schools under the 'South Cluster', which provides opportunities for schools to share resources and provide shared events and experiences for children.

Network groups are in place in areas such as assessment, subject specialisms, SENCo and key stages and are working effectively with a focus on sharing best practice, assessing the impact of new requirements and developments, and developing consistent approaches across the Trust. In order to achieve this, we work in partnership with Schools Direct via York St John University and attend School Management Forums and Primary Heads Forums.

As a Trust we have employed a Lead Practitioner on a part time basis and they are also the lead for the Middlesbrough English Hub. This has allowed the Trust to take a leading role in English curriculum development and CPD not only across the Trust but the town as a whole. We are also part of the Archimedes Maths Hub , which brings together mathematics education professionals in a collaborative national network, to develop and spread excellent practice, for the benefit of all pupils.

We work collaboratively with Nunthorpe Secondary Partnership by sharing learning opportunities and also work in partnership with Middlesbrough Sports , with the aim to increase and improve the quality of Physical Education, school sport and physical activity opportunities.

Each school has its own school development plan to address specific development needs and these plans are considered at Local Governing Body level.

The below information provides you with top level 2018/2019 consolidated outcomes across the Trust:

Key Stage 2

% Pupils at expected or above

  • Consolidated outcomes for the Trust are above the national
  • Reading outcomes in three out of the four schools are above the national
  • Maths outcomes in three out of the four schools are above the national
  • Writing outcomes in three out of the four schools are above national
  • GPS outcomes in three of the four schools are above national

% Pupils above expected

  • Reading outcomes in two out of four schools are above the national
  • Writing outcomes in one out of the four schools are above national
  • Maths outcomes in 3 out of the four schools are above the national
  • GPS outcomes in two out of the four schools are above the national

Summary and next steps
As a Trust we need to ensure as many pupils as possible reach the expected standard. This is particularly the case with the number of pupils reaching the higher standard, with writing outcomes requiring the greatest improvement. Work has already started on the development and implementation of a Trust English Curriculum, which sets out very clearly what the expectations are for each year group. Alongside the introduction of curriculum materials, we continually engage in Trust wide moderation exercises and have year group specific CPD planned to increase teacher subject knowledge.

Schools across the Trust are working with the regional Maths Hub based at Carmel in Darlington. This work is already impacting on the delivery of maths across the trust. Maths leads from the four schools have recently completed a calculations policy and have now begun to draft an agreed curriculum.

Key Stage 1

% Pupils at expected or above

  • Consolidated outcomes across the Trust are above the national average.
  • Reading and writing outcomes for three out of the four schools are above the national average.
  • Maths Outcomes for two out of the four schools are above the national average.

% Pupils above the expected

  • Reading outcomes for one out of the four schools are above the national average.
  • Writing outcomes for two out of the four schools are above the national average.
  • Maths outcomes for one out of the four schools are above the national average.

Summary and Next Steps
The work highlighted above for Key Stage 2 is also relevant for Key Stage One. Particular emphasis needs to be placed on the number of pupils being assessed at being above the expected standard. Maths at Key Stage 1 is the area with greatest need. Again, the implementation of the calculations policy and the creation of a Trust wide Maths curriculum with associated CPD will support this area of development.

Phonics

  • Consolidated Trust outcomes for phonics are above the national average.
  • Phonic outcomes in three out of the four trust schools are above the national average.

EYFS GLD

  • Consolidated Trust GLD outcomes are in line with the national average.
  • One out of the four school’s outcomes are above the national average.

Summary and Next Steps
As a Trust we are experiencing an increase in the number of pupils who arrive either in Nursery or at the start of Reception with barriers to learning. These vary from language difficulties, specific learning needs to social and emotional problems.

The Trust now has an active Early Years network who meet regularly to share good practice and to discuss current issues. We are holding our second EYFS CPD event since conversion which is being led by Early Excellence, a recognised national provider of Early Years support and CPD. The Early Years leaders have met to discuss changes to assessment procedures to ensure as much time as possible is spent on teaching/pupil interactions and planning stage appropriate activities.

Further details of progress and attainment for each school within the Trust can be accessed here .

The Trust Development plan has four main priorities;

Vision: Future strategic growth and direction of the JCLT will be driven by the overriding values and principles set out in the JCLT Vision statement.

Academy Improvement: Schools within the Trust will continue to improve compared to national outcomes and similar schools, with evidence of areas of excellent practice emerging as the Trust becomes more established.

Leadership and Governance: Evaluation and audits of practice show that the Governance Framework is robust, provides clarity about governance roles at all levels, and enables accountability through strong support and challenge.

Financial Strength: The Trust will be financially sound, with balanced budgets and strong reserves which are matched to improvement strategies and future growth.

Through these four priorities we expect the following outcomes:

  • Our schools will be outward facing, with strong links to other schools and organisations which make a demonstrable impact on the quality of teaching and learning.
  • Schools within the Trust will continue to improve compared to national outcomes and similar schools, with evidence of areas of excellent practice emerging as the Trust becomes more established.
  • Best practice is championed and results in excellent outcomes for our pupils.
  • Partnerships within the MAT are strengthened, focusing on teaching and learning, utilising growing expertise from existing and new schools.
  • Evaluation and audits of practice show that the Governance Framework is robust, provides clarity about governance roles at all levels, and enables accountability through strong support and challenge.
  • Financial stability is maintained, with balanced budgets and strong reserves which are matched to improvement strategies and future growth.
  • Numbers on roll across the Trust will increase.
  • Economies of scale are achieved through a strong drive on efficiencies and best value for money with services and resources.

Trust Strengths

  • Cross school collaboration is a real strength of the Trust, with Head Teachers across the four schools working closely together for the benefit of every child. Aspect and subject specific peer reviews have taken place across the Trust, as well as an external SEN review conducted by the LA.
  • Working groups across the Trust have strong relationships and meet to cover the following areas; Maths Improvement, English Improvement, Safeguarding, Administration, SENCo Group, EYFS Group, Year Group Sharing Good Practice Meetings and Moderation.
  • External Audit reported that the Trust’s systems and process are sound. Areas requiring attention are not a significant risk to the reputation or the day-to-day running of the Trust and are what would be expected after the first year of operation.
  • Financially the Trust is in a secure position. The impact of recent funding announcements has yet to be confirmed, however, early indications suggest that each of the four schools within the Trust will be better off under the new national funding formula.
  • The addition of a leading practitioner across the Trust on a part time basis has added to school improvement capacity, and this is something that is continually being developed.

Future considerations

  • Growth of the MAT.
  • Providing room for a growing local population with continued increase in pupil numbers at The Avenue (where there is natural capacity).
  • Continued development of a central team.
  • Continued development of a school improvement offer.
  • Potential future sponsorship of a school requiring support.
  • Continuing good financial governance especially in the medium term.
  • Maintenance of 50-year-old building fabric.

As with all MATs and schools, budgets are constrained, however, the JCLT is not currently in deficit. The 2018/19 total expenditure was £5.6m with net book assets of £13.37m and the 2018/19 revenue reserves were £526,000, with a projection of this increasing to £618,000 by the end of 2019/20.

The funding position for 2020/21 is very positive, given the commitment from the Government for increased funding 2020 – 2022, with 2020/21 revenue outturn predicted to be £95k.

The 3 year look ahead was last calculated early in 2019 and showed a deterioration over time, indicating that economies would have to be made by 2022/23. These figures did not take the improved funding into account. A positive effect is expected from this promise of funding, however, the 3-year forecast will have to be recalculated when funding is clearer.

The Board of Trustees work closely with the Chief Executive Officer and Headteachers to ensure costs are controlled but also enable agility of spending when necessary to maximise use of the resources that become available. Governors have a good understanding of the finances of each individual school and would take the necessary steps to address any future budget issues.

The Trust has a total of 143 members of staff and each school is led by a Headteacher. The Trust has a temporary CEO in post and has recently appointed a Chief Financial and Operations Officer (CFOO) who took up post in January 2020. At present, these two roles make up the central team. The temporary CEO is also the Headteacher of Lingfield Primary School. An interim Head of School has been in post at Lingfield since conversion and the other schools within the Trust each have their own Headteacher in place.

The Executive Head Teacher Group comprises the Head Teacher or other agreed delegate of each Academy in the Trust, and is led by the CEO supported by a recently appointed CFOO. Headteachers are firmly committed to and engaged in Trust business; the regular meeting of the Executive Head Teacher Group is invaluable as an opportunity to raise and contribute to key issues. Relationships between Head Teachers of schools in the Trust are collaboratively strong and there is a high degree of mutual trust.

The Trust’s central team has recently been strengthened with the appointment of a Chief Financial Operating Office (CFOO). The central services team brings a great depth of knowledge, experience and skill to the Trust and works closely with Headteachers, School Business Managers and Governing Bodies across the Trust schools. Currently all school Local Governing Bodies have one Trustee who is a member, ensuring the relationship between schools and the Trust continue to remain collaboratively strong.

Relationships with parents and carers, staff and the wider community are fostered first and foremost through the schools in the Trust. Strong relationships are in place with parents and carers and their engagement in support of achievement of high educational standards is strong. Each school works hard to maintain a positive relationship with parents and carers and makes use of digital communication systems, as well as publishing their own school websites.

Most of our schools have an active PTA, whilst other choose to carry out fund raising independently. Each school within the Trust works hard to be at the heart of the local community it serves, with all schools participating in and hosting events in their local community. Activities include, fund raising events for both school and local/national charities, Christmas and summer performances and links to local churches.

The Trust has good links with the Local Authority and engages with them to support the work of the Trust, however, as time goes by, with the decreasing LA service provision, the Trust now uses independent suppliers for HR and Finance provision. The Trust still uses the LA Governor support and training service, and staff act as LA Moderators for Early Years, KS1 and KS2. The Trust also supports LA initiatives, including SEN reviews.

Trustees ensure that the Trust meets its statutory functions and its charitable objectives. They hold the CEO and each school to account through the various committees and local governing bodies.

Teesside
Teesside is a region around Middlesbrough on the River Tees in North East England which includes the towns of Billingham, Redcar, Stockton-on-Tees and Thornaby and is a centre for heavy industry, primarily steelmaking and chemical manufacture (historically British Steel and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI)). In recent years, however, heavy industry has been replaced increasingly by advanced technology , science development and service sector providers .

Teesport is based on the River Tees and is currently the third largest port in the United Kingdom, and amongst the ten biggest in Western Europe. This port handles over 56 million tonnes of goods per annum which are mainly associated with the local petrochemical, chemical and steel processing industries.

Teesside continues to be used locally to refer to the entire urban area. It boasts a successful University (Teesside University), which is a public university, with its main campus in Middlesbrough. A large retail and leisure park, known as ‘Teesside Park’ is a popular choice for local residents, offering a wide range of shops and leisure facilities including a cinema, bowling venue and numerous restaurants to cater for all tastes.

Teesside also has a serving airport known as Teesside International Airport and offers good connectivity for business and commercial destinations.

Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough is a large post-industrial town in Teesside and is the perfect base for exploring - there really is something for everyone!

Middlesbrough offers a supreme lifestyle, with a vibrant centre teeming with coffee shops, bustling bars, and lively restaurants. There is a wide range of activities to enjoy throughout the year, including the regionally significant Orange Pip street market, and music, art, and drama at numerous museums and cultural venues.

If the great outdoors is more your thing, there is plenty of outdoor adventures to consider, with the natural beauty of the North Yorkshire Moors and the rugged north east coastline only a stone’s throw away. Just a short drive from Middlesbrough’s centre is the iconic landmark Roseberry Topping, which was recently included in the 25 best walks in Britain.

Middlesbrough is ideally positioned with excellent transport links to many other major UK cities.

North Yorkshire
Within the county of North Yorkshire are the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Pennines and a stunning coastline around Scarborough and Whitby. The area hosted the opening stages of the Tour de France in 2014, and due to its success has created the Tour de Yorkshire with global recognition. There are ruined castles and abbeys, serene gardens, unique breweries, thrilling rides and industrial heritage. Something for everyone!

For outdoor enthusiasts North Yorkshire has plenty to offer. From the hard gritstone of Almscliff and Brimham Rocks to the limestone of Malham, Gordale and Kilnsey, climbing venues are in abundance. Within 2 hours’ drive, the Yorkshire Dales is a premier area for caving, while for mountain biking there are the bridleways of the Dales and North York Moors as well as the renowned trail centre at Dalby Forest. Further afield, the Lake District and the fells, crags and coast of Northumberland are all easily accessible for days and weekends away.

There are a small number of sailing clubs on reservoirs around the county and fantastic, if chilly, surf sport venues, outdoor swimming and sea kayaking on the east coast.

While the county is rightly known for its wide open spaces, it also incorporates attractive market towns including Knaresborough, Ripon, Malton, Helmsley, Northallerton and Skipton, the traditional seaside towns of Whitby and Scarborough, as well as the ancient city of York, the most visited city outside of London. With a wide range of shopping, leisure and cultural facilities including the Northern Ballet and Helmsley Art Centre, as well as excellent schools, universities, road and rail links, there really is everything to offer you and your family as a place to work, live and enjoy.

Travelling further afield we have convenient connectivity, with close proximity to metropolitan cities of Leeds and Newcastle and a journey time of under two hours by rail from York to London. We border the Lake District, Lancashire, County Durham, and Yorkshire and Humber regions with all they have to offer.

The Role

The James Cook Learning Trust, Middlesbrough

Post: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

FTE: 0.6

Number on Roll: 1306

Commencing: September 2020

Salary: Competitive salary depending on experience

What would you do with this rare opportunity to shape the direction of our Trust?

We are looking for an experienced senior leader to influence, motivate and build on our Trust’s vision, ethos and values.

Set in the town of Middlesbrough, James Cook Learning Trust was established in 2018 and has a thriving community of over 1300 pupils in 4 primary schools, aged 3 – 11. Our pupil population is drawn from the South Middlesbrough suburbs of Marton and Nunthorpe, and to the west from the eastern part of Coulby Newham, however, all schools receive pupils from out of the catchment area.

We are well-respected and known for our high standards, exemplary pupil behaviour and a fully inclusive model of education; enabling all children to fulfil their full potential whatever their starting points. Our trusts ethos and core values of “discovering, learning and achieving together” support this model and are lived out in the daily work of the Trust and its associated schools.

We are looking for an exceptional leader with a clear picture of outstanding practice, and a track record which demonstrates the ability to provide strategic leadership and direction to all schools in the Trust, and further develop and articulate the vision and ethos of the Trust. You will be directly accountable to the Board of Trustees for the collective performance and development of the Trust as an organisation and, working collaboratively with Headteachers and local Governing Bodies, for that of the individual schools within it.

You will act as an ambassador for the Trust and your role as an education professional in a highly respected organisation will require you to engage effectively across the education network locally.

As schools in the Trust include pupils from 3 to 11, we are looking for a leader who has an understanding and passion of the various phases of their learning journeys, from pre-school to primary education and training and employment. Our schools are all vibrant and distinctive, so we are also looking for a leader who will challenge, support and encourage each of them to flourish individually as well as helping them be strong members of a successful, values-led partnership.

Our Opportunity
To succeed, you must have held a senior position in a good performing school and/or have worked within or led a MAT or other more complex educational organisation. A strong communicator, your ability to forge and promote positive relationships with all staff, pupils, parents and carers will be key to your success. We want our schools to be well led and staffed by valued teams who provide excellent teaching and care and we believe that by working collaboratively we will enhance the quality of education in our schools and ensure that every child has the skills, knowledge and understanding to be successful as they continue their learning journey.

This position represents a genuine opportunity to make a significant impact in our Trust, centred on providing excellence, we aspire for our academies to be outstanding in all that they do. You will need a real desire to achieve and the presence, ambition and expertise to deliver strong, clear leadership and vision.

Financially astute, you will also build partnerships, while delivering an outstanding educational provision that is sustainable for the long term. In addition, you will promote our ethos and high expectations, while engaging positively and respectfully with our parent/carer/family community, ensuring we meet the needs of our pupils whilst promoting excellence.

You will lead highly committed, talented, experienced and loyal staff and have strong relationships with other Headteachers, Department for Education, the wider education community and across the Middlesbrough Teaching Alliance.

In return, we can offer you:

  • A high level of support from staff and colleagues within the James Cook Learning Trust
  • Friendly and caring schools where all stakeholders work together for the benefit of the children.
  • Motivated, dedicated staff and a committed, active and supportive Trust Board.
  • Good schools which support pupils to aspire to the very best, with a broad and balanced curriculum offer, collaborative learning and a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
  • An opportunity to help shape the future of our Trust and continued professional development.

The James Cook Learning Trust (JCLT) has an incredibly bright outlook and presents a unique professional development opportunity for the right candidate. For an informal, confidential conversation about the role, please call Rachel Wales who is supporting this recruitment process on behalf of the JCLT and can be contacted at North Yorkshire County Council on 01609 532597 / 07973 692529.

We strongly recommend that you visit us so we can share with you why we are so proud of our Trust, allowing you the opportunity to see what we have to offer. If you would like the opportunity to visit, please email rachel.wales@northyorks.gov.uk

Key dates:
Trust Visits: Tuesday 25 February, Thursday 5 March & Tuesday 10 March
Application Closing Date: Midnight, Sunday 15 March
Shortlisting: Wednesday 18 March
Interviews: Monday 30 & Tuesday 31 March

Supporting Documents
Person Specification
Job Description

When applying please take into account the following:

Supporting Information
The supporting information section of your application should clearly evidence your ability to meet the requirements we have outlined in the person specification. This will be used to shortlist applicants for this role and therefore it is imperative that you provide evidence as requested.

References
When completing your application, please provide two employment references.