The Birmingham Diocesan Multi-Academy Trust (BDMAT) recognises that the future for schools lies in formal collaborations; schools working together, in partnership, to offer life in all its fullness for the young people who attend them. Church schools have a very distinctive purpose: Education is taught in an environment where there is a set of values and ways of behaving that stem from and express the Christian foundation of the school. Our schools are about providing an education within a Christian framework for children of the local community of any faith or none; Our Trust seeks to provide a place where church schools and non-church schools who support our philosophy can continue to provide high quality education, knowing that their distinctive ethos will be protected into the future.
Our mission is:
To provide high quality education within a Christian framework that allows all pupils to reach their full potential through experiencing a broad and balanced curriculum whilst ensuring staff have a good life / work balance and are fulfilled in their roles.
Our BDMAT values were revised in consultation with stakeholders in the autumn term 2020. As a result, our revised values are:
- Hope – we have hope that there can always be a positive outcome
- Honesty – we are honest with all inside and outside our organisation, whilst being sensitive to how we deliver these messages
- Integrity – we have strong principles rooted in our Christian mission that lead our actions and decisions
- Helpfulness – we work in co-operation and partnership with all staff and stakeholders
- Respect – we respect all those that we come across
- Dignity and compassion – we treat all those within and outside our organisation with dignity, irrespective of the circumstances, and we show everyone compassion for the difficulties that they are experiencing
- Wisdom – The decisions we take are wise and are based on informed discussions and evidence and aimed at ensuring we achieve the best outcomes for all without forsaking our values
‘Deeply Christian, Serving the Common Good’ is inspired, as we are within BDMAT by scripture, in particular John 10:10 where Jesus declares “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. The words of Jesus act as a guide for our vision, which is encompassed in our three guiding principles:
Life in its fullness for all
As stated, BDMAT is committed to the declaration of Jesus, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. It is our mission to ensure that we act as God’s servants in ensuring that this vision of Jesus can be delivered. We think we can best achieve this through creating inspiring curricula which is specific to each school – our schools cover a large geographical area and serve such contrasting communities that it would be inappropriate to have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ curriculum across our settings. What we have established though, are curriculum networks for curriculum leads to attend in order that they can share best practice and help support one another.
We accept the importance of literacy and numeracy as these subjects can unlock all aspects of education and open-up opportunities for all; one of the greatest Christian duties on us is to make sure that each child has the opportunity to achieve in these subject areas. Poor literacy and numeracy skills are the greatest barrier to social justice, especially for the most vulnerable pupils.
Whilst a key focus of the trust will always be on the promotion and improvement of literacy and numeracy it will not be at the expense of the child experiencing a wide range of subjects and activities in our schools, both in the primary and secondary sectors. Pupils therefore should have plenty of opportunities to learn about the world through the humanity subjects; they should experience the arts as both artists and as audiences; and be introduced to a wide range of sports. These opportunities in the primary and secondary stages are of particular importance as they encourage children to become ‘rounded – individuals’ and give them experiences that they might wish to develop in the future for either employment or social reasons.
As an organisation with Christian values at its core, we wish all to know who Jesus is and the key aspects of Christian teaching. Many of our staff and pupils have a faith other than the Christian faith, some may have no faith. Our schools serve all and all are welcome. We therefore provide an education within a Christian framework that we feel will be appropriate to those with faith or none equally. A key aspect of our work is to develop pupils’ spirituality, be this linked to Christianity or otherwise.
Our commitment to ensuring ‘life in its fullness’ extends beyond our pupils and is integral to ensuring a life/work balance for our staff. We will examine ways to reduce workload through collaboration and support. and will put in place a ‘life / work ‘balance charter to ensure all leaders are committed to this agenda.
Success for all
In the current world of education, ‘success’ is often measured by literacy and maths attainment alone at the end of key stages. At BDMAT we are committed to the holistic development of each child and we therefore see success in a much broader context. We want our pupils to experience a range of subjects and experiences in order that they have the opportunity to achieve within these. As previously stated, this approach should not be at the expense of aiming high academically for all pupils – especially those who are vulnerable. Therefore, we expect all of our schools to aim for FFT (Fischer Family Trust) 50 targets this is in line with national attainment) as a minimum but also to set aspirational targets of FFT 20 (aiming for performance in the top 20% of all pupils nationally).
Success for pupils is likely to be secured if staff are also ‘succeeding’ in their roles. Performance management and development reviews will be undertaken with all staff on an annual basis with at least one mid-point review. Leaders across the MAT, both at a central and school level should be demonstrable in their praise for staff. Staff should also be encouraged and supported to improve their skills and knowledge etc through appropriate CPD – each member of staff should have an opportunity for an individual CPD plan for the year that clearly helps them to succeed and improve.
Positive well-being for all
Two-year old children who start in our school nurseries in September 2019 will leave compulsory education in 2035 and therefore we have a responsibility to educate them in preparation for what society is likely to be in the future. As a result, pupils will need to be supported to be resilient and be capable of being able to transfer skills. They will also need strategies to ensure that they look after their health – both physical and mental. Therefore, each school should have a comprehensive personal, social and health education programme, incorporating a Relationships and Sex programme that meets current recommendations from the Department for Education and the guidance issued by the Church of England through ‘Valuing All God’s Children’ and subsequent advice. The majority of staff who have direct contact with pupils should have mental health training and be aware of the symptoms of mental health; pupils and their families can then be supported or signposted to the relevant professional support.
The well-being of staff is also important to the Trust and we will therefore ensure that we have appropriate occupational health services to support any staff who require this. We will also establish access to a counselling service for any staff who require this, either for professional or personal issues. The executive and headteachers will all receive training on identifying stress in themselves and their staff and provide guidance on how best to support staff.
Our priorities 2019 – 2024
With the above mission, vision and values in mind and reflecting on the current position of our schools, directors have set the following priorities, which will be measured through our strategic aims and KPIs:
- get a full and exciting curriculum
- achieve better than average attainment
- achieve better than average progress
- have attendance above that seen nationally
- who are disadvantaged, have an excellent start to their education
- embody the Christian vision and values of BDMAT
- are judged as good or better by Ofsted and SIAMS
- are exemplary at safeguarding our pupils
- have high parental satisfaction
- love working for us
- have higher than sector attendance
- are lifelong learners
Our directors and governors:
- feel supported in their roles
- have a demonstrable impact on improving the outcomes and opportunities for pupils
- love volunteering for us