What is Excalibur?
Schools that are no longer under Local Authority control are called academies. Very few work alone. Most academies are part of a group of schools that are part of a Multi Academy Trust (a MAT), such as Excalibur.
Why have academies and MATs?
‘Since 2002, the academy programme has been a central part of the education system and of successive governments’ plans for raising educational standards.’ (Multi-academy trusts: benefits, challenges and functions, Ofsted 2019).
Currently over half of all pupils in England attend an academy.
Although MATs have taken on a number of the functions previously performed by local authorities (LAs), it is an over-simplification to see them as merely a replacement for the Local Authority. Their legal role is quite different. The MAT has responsibility for the governance of its schools which may include delegating specific powers to local governing bodies (LGBs). This makes MATs far more pivotal to their academies than LAs are to maintained schools.
The development of the academy programme was developed in order to build capacity for school improvement and to achieve the greater efficiencies of scale. Excalibur has furthered this vision in order to provide opportunities for curriculum development, continual professional development for teachers (CPD) and teacher training through its Teaching School Alliance.
The school on conversion does not lose its foundation status. Lambourn is still a Church of England school. Staff, governors and the Trust, work with the diocese to support and further develop the school’s Christian distinctiveness.
Excalibur: a family of schools achieving excellence and empowering individuality
‘The best MATs are driven by a strong and shared central ethos that informs what schools in the MAT do’ (Amanda Spielman, Ofsted, 2019).
Excalibur’s vision is to provide an excellent education empowering individuals to thrive and grow within a caring, aspirational and outward looking culture. We believe in investing in our staff to ensure we attract and retain talented, dedicated people who are committed to changing children’s lives for the better.
We offer staff opportunities for promotion, learning and leadership across all levels. Through mutual school to school support as well as through our accountability practices, we work with leaders on their continuous practice of self-reflection and school improvement, providing challenge, support and expertise. Leaders are provided with effective back-office support and economies of scale, so they can focus on an excellent education for the pupils we serve.
How does Lambourn fit into this?
In line with our vision that we should ‘empower individuals’, each school is encouraged to develop its individuality. Principals (head teachers) are encouraged to lead their school with creativity and passion.
The Local Governing Body works alongside the Principal, the school staff and the Trust, helping the school to achieve excellence, helping the school realise the aspirations of the pupils, their families and the local community.
Nicky Edmondson Anne Normington
CEO, Excalibur Academies Trust Head of Primary Education, Excalibur