Charles Spurgeon Schools
A new educational Trust
From the Founders of The Fulham Boys School
Our aim is to set up, and work with, many more schools across the country: secondary and primary, single sex and mixed, private and state. Schools who join our family must buy into our vision. We think it is an exciting vision and believe passionately in it. It has six key facets:
Our pledge, and unflinching resolve, is to build some of the best schools in this country. Like FBS, they will be established on three pillars: Built upon the Christian faith; nurture enterprise - personal, social and business; and be geared towards bringing out the best in every boy and girl: transforming their lives, irrespective of their postcode, culture, colour of their skin, how much their parents have in the bank or any particular need or characteristic they may have.
All our schools will be cooperatives, at the heart of their localities: pupils, parents, staff, local governors and the wider community. Everyone will be expected to buy in and invest - giving their time, sharing their talents, even their money - and be accountable to each other. Our schools will be more than just schools.
We offer and share the things we do well and believe in with others. We want to help individual teachers working outside our Trust who share our vision and ethos, as well as schools who need our support.
In time, as we grow, we aim to provide an accredited teacher training programme.
In line with our Christian ethos and our commitment to social enterprise, we want to train and support teachers and schools with a similar ethos to ours in other countries. This will also provide exciting career opportunities and experiences for our staff.
We speak up and speak out about our distinctive approach to education. We believe passionately in our ethos and are determined for it to change, influence and impact education nationally.
2. Christian ethos
All our schools will be built upon the Christian Faith and cohere around four core convictions.
Every child is a person made in God’s image and our schools will recognise and respect their inherent dignity, value and worth. Each child is unique and our goal will be to serve each child, regardless of background or ability, by creating the right conditions for their healthy development into adulthood.
God’s world is a rich tapestry and it is a tragedy when children emerge from education devoid of intellectual interests. So, our schools will seek to cultivate every child’s innate curiosity with a rich diet of ideas around the key areas: the knowledge of God; the knowledge of man (history, culture, languages, etc.) and the knowledge of the natural world (science).
If feeding the mind is the first educational objective, training the will is the second. Christianity understands the brokenness of human nature and so the need for discipline. People with good habits find the basic routines of life less burdensome because they have learned the art of self-management. Our schools will emphasise, for example, good study habits, concentration skills, and personal qualities like truthfulness, self-discipline and service of others. Christians also recognise that perfect character is not something we can achieve, we know we need a Saviour who brings forgiveness, and, in acknowledging this, we are also recognising the source of the forgiveness and grace that we want children to embody as a vital part of healthy character.
Humanity was created by God to be in relationship with Him and our schools will seek to help pupils understand what this means, and how it is possible, through;
- Regular school assemblies. With corporate singing, explanation of the Bible and the claims of Jesus Christ. Pupils will be exposed to the core beliefs of Christianity.
- Open discussion and debate: considering other religions, ideas or values, from a Christian perspective. All of our young people - including those of other religions, no religion, atheists - will be encouraged to question and think, to thrash out big issues, perhaps disagree strongly, then shake hands, play sport, have lunch and laugh together later.
- Emphasising the importance of service to others and finding practical ways to express this in school life.
In primary schools, the Christian faith , including characteristics such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and gentleness will be modelled to children by the teachers and staff.
As well as stating what we mean by schools built upon the Christian Faith, it is important to state what it does not mean.
No one will be excluded on grounds of faith; all our schools will be open to all. We are seeking to provide a service
to the whole community because we believe all children will benefit from what we offer, whatever their religious convictions. Parents will, however, need to accept the Christian ethos as defined here.
Due to our respect for human dignity, the approach at all our schools will never be ‘heavy-handed’. No child will be pressured to adopt the Christian faith. We believe children need to be given space to evaluate and appropriate life’s biggest ideas at their own pace.our Trust will have access to our Enterprise Award, which we are currently working on being approved by universities, industry, professions and businesses. It is an excellent way of showcasing young people's personal, creative, physical, emotional, moral, spiritual and enterprising qualities, alongside their intellectual intelligences. A young person's worth and value is so much more than GCSEs and A Levels.
In primary schools children will be encouraged to take part in projects benefiting their local community, or fund-raising for charity.
Schools need to nurture a spirit of enterprise, not as something to ‘do’ but as part of what they are. To succeed in an unknown future, young people need a can-do attitude, resilience, understanding how to solve problems, to work as a team, and the know how to improve their performance, be game changers and push boundaries.
These essential skills are hard to quantify, assess and evidence. They are soft skills that need toughening up in our education system. Being part of our family of schools means we can support schools in writing and delivering programmes of study that develop these skills in each subject, embed them in everything pupils do in school and become recognised for their worth outside it. Schools in our Trust will have access to our Enterprise Award, which we are currently working on being approved by universities, industry, professions and businesses. It is an excellent way of showcasing young people’s personal, creative, physical, emotional, moral, spiritual and enterprising qualities, alongside their intellectual intelligences. A young person’s worth and value is so much more than GCSEs and A Levels.
In primary schools children will be encouraged to take part in projects benefiting their local community, or fundraising for charity
Strong Central Leadership
We will provide all schools in our Trust with strong leadership; we will take the ‘noise’ away so that school leaders and teachers can focus on their core business.
The three pillars the Trust is built upon will run through every school in our family, but not all schools in the Trust will look the same. Each school will embrace our ethos but implement it to meet the needs of their local area. You cannot take a cookie-cutter approach - pick up a school in Fulham, drop it in Darlington and expect it to work. Strong local leadership demands outstanding local governors with a love and understanding of their community to take the tried and tested 'product' and acclimatise it; to dress the Trust's vision, ethos, standards and provision in local clothes.
Career Progression and Training
Being part of the Trust provides exciting professional development opportunities: sharing expertise more widely, extending the influence of the most successful teachers and leaders, providing wider scope for promotion, for leading on subjects across many other schools, for influencing hundreds of teachers and inspiring thousands of pupils – all the while reducing workloads by sharing resources. We will provide training and coaching for leaders and aspiring leaders on leading and manage effectively.
Help and Support
Half termly meetings will allow headteachers to share where they are feeling the pressure or struggling to meet demands. We can then work together to identify what the best solutions or support structures would look like to overcome challenges and achieve the best possible outcomes. As well as the Trust leaders meeting with headteachers individually, we want to provide opportunities for headteachers to meet together to help and support each other.
We believe that young people need to have the highest standards of attendance and punctuality, uniform and appearance, and behaviour and attitude. We have an unswerving commitment to strict discipline and firm boundaries. When Ofsted visited The Fulham Boys School they reported that ‘Behaviour in lessons is exemplary’, the behaviour of pupils ‘outstanding’ and that ‘boys live and breathe good manners and courtesy’. We want to help schools reach the same high standards by enforcing them in the following five ways:
Insisting on the highest standards of uniform, attendance, punctuality, manners and conduct and taking a no-nonsense approach to bullying and all other forms of anti-social behaviour.
- Consistently. Schools have to uphold these standards lesson in lesson out, day in day out, week in week out; ensuring that nothing gets missed or is allowed to slip.
- Proactively. All schools should appoint a team of staff who are committed to the safety and happiness of their pupils and will show this commitment by being there for them at break and lunchtimes; as they arrive at school in the mornings and by ensuring they go home safely at the end of the school day.
- Pastorally. Growing up in today’s world isn’t always easy and pupils, some in particular, face real pressures and difficulties. We must get to know them - over lunch every day, in clubs, in lessons, on school trips; building their confidence and creating an environment where they feel able to share their worries and concerns and trust us to help them sort them out. Furthermore, by getting to know our pupils, we will pick up on issues and sense when things just aren’t right.
- Positively. Pupils in all our schools will observe and be taught Christian values â€“ kindness, fairness, honesty, unselfishness, self-control and being a good neighbour. Our hope is that our pupils will adopt these values and model them in their own lives.
6. Curriculum and assessment
Subject areas need curriculum maps with a clear rationale for which topics covered and when they are covered. The curriculum should flow clearly through the key stages. In each subject, pupils should know and understand why they are studying the topic they are studying and how the curriculum builds year on year. A-level students should be able to see how GCSEs prepared them for their studies; GCSEs students should be able to see how KS3 prepared them for their studies, and so on down through the other key stages. Pupils should also be able to see the connection and make links between subjects. In the real world, the subjects we teach are not in departments or compartmentalised, and the real world is what we are preparing our young people for.
Our Trust will help schools write these curriculum maps and the programmes of studies to go with them. Schools will be able to share resources.
Assessment experts will take a lead on developing and adapting effective assessment in their area so that our schools are always at the forefront of developments in national assessment strategy. Schools will be able to moderate work, check each other’s standards and pupil progress with other schools in the Trust. Our family will include both primary and secondary schools which means there is a real opportunity to ensure a slick transition for pupils, avoiding the Year 6/7 dip. Education needs to be viewed as continuous, not starting again at 11.
7. Teaching and learning
Teaching and Learning should be at the heart of every school. One of the benefits of joining our family is that fewer things get in the way of this.
We want to help our schools recruit, retain and develop the best teachers. Teachers who have excellent subject knowledge and can impart it in an interesting way. Teachers who can make young people think and question. Teachers who can create independent learners who know what they need to do to improve and can help those around them do the same. Teachers who can teach around their subject as well as teach to it and can bring their subject to life. Teachers who understand that for all pupils to succeed, they must teach to the top and then scaffold the learning for the rest of the class; teachers need to ask in every lesson, ‘are the most able pupil in front of me being really challenged and stretched?’.
We want to help all teachers in all our schools meet these expectations and for the quality of teaching to be consistently good or better. To achieve this, we will:
- Set clear teaching and learning expectations that everyone knows and understands
- Identify where the strengths and weaknesses are within each school and across the MAT so teachers and departments can give and receive the help they need.
- Provide coaching to develop senior leaders, department heads and teachers at all stages, on constructive feedback principles.
- Work with schools in creating an open-door culture where every department and teacher is open to feedback, actively seeks it out and is regularly engaged in high level pedagogical discussion
8. Central services
The Trust will support schools by providing:
Non-Educational Services (outlined in more detail below):
- Finance and Procurement
- HR Administration
- Policies and Risk Assessments
- PR, Marketing and Communication
- Development Planning
- Self Evaluation
- Staff Handbook
- Curriculum Mapping
- Programmes of Study
- Teaching and Learning
- Christian Ethos
- Co Curricular
We will work closely with schools to understand what their needs are in each of these areas and then provide the relevant services.
9. Finance & back office services
We recognise that day to day finance and procurement operations, HR administration and compliance is a significant resource drain both at an operational level and in senior leadership time. We will remove the majority of this burden from individual schools and undertake a range of activities at our central function.
Therefore, it is our aim to remove the majority of this burden from individual schools and undertake a range of activities at our central function.
HR & Payroll Administration
School leaders need to be confident that their HR administration and HR support for staff is undertaken efficiently. To enable this, the Trust will provide a suite of HR policies which can be adapted to individual settings enabling effective staff management. We also provide template contracts for employees and undertake administrative activities such as issuing offer letters and contracts, DBS, referencing and other employment checks as well as data management in line with legal frameworks such as GDPR. In addition, we’ll make sure that statutory information such as the annual workforce census is completed.
Through our payroll service provider, we will ensure that staff are paid on time each month and that all HMRC and pension returns are completed.
Finance & Procurement Services
In challenging times, robust financial management is key to ensuring that the maximum possible funding reaches the pupils and teachers in school.
To this end, we provide comprehensive services in budgeting and management reporting to give school leaders and governors confidence that school development plan priorities are costed and are deliverable.
In addition, we ensure that purchase orders are issued in a timely manner and that invoices are processed efficiently, authorised in line with relevant delegations and paid on time.
We will ensure that contracts for ICT or energy provision, for example, are completed on time in line with regulations and meet value for money tests.
Compliance and Risk Management
The Department for Education, and other regulatory bodies, place ever increasing attention to compliance in schools, including financial compliance and regulation, health and safety, risk management and mitigation. Our central services will ensure that risk assessments are in place, health and safety legislation is adhered to and that school leaders and governors receive up to date guidance on risk management where appropriate.
We will complete all of the relevant financial returns to the DfE and other bodies as required.
PR, Marketing and Communication: All schools – new and old - face a continuing marketing challenge to present their best face to the staff, the pupils and the parents they want to recruit, and to the local and wider communities they exist to serve. Our experienced team will be able to advise on effective proactive and reactive external communication, and help ensure internal communication aligns with school objectives. Critically, the central team will be able to advise on strategy if local media issues flare up.
10. Cost of Service
By pooling resources into central functions we anticipate we can deliver key services efficiently at a lower cost for any school within the our Trust - so ensuring that more resources are available for front line teaching and support roles as well as educational resources. This may be achieved by a reduction in headcount in our partner schools. Schools wishing to join our Trust will need to consider the financial implications of any redundancies from their current staff body.
Schools joining from local authority control should also consider funding elements currently retained by the local authority when assessing the cost effectiveness of joining a Multi Academy Trust.
The cost of our services is 4-5% of GAG funding. We recognise that different schools in our family will have different needs and may therefore require more or less support than others.
We also know that, for schools which are currently under-subscribed, affordability may be an issue. Our aim is to work with our future partners and the transition to a final top slice percentage may take place over an extended period.
Through the application of our Christian values, mutual respect, supportive pastoral care and inspirational teaching, we will help every pupil to find their unique talent and realise it, for the benefit of all.
For further information, please contact us on
020 7381 7100
or by e-mail on