Our Growth Philosophy
We are a LOCAL TRUST for LOCAL CHILDREN.
We are looking to grow when it is right for our Trust, our Schools, our Pupils and when it is a good fit with a potential joining school.
Trustees have agreed a growth strategy which states "FIVE SCHOOLS IN FIVE YEARS."
We do not want to "take over" any school that is not open to partnership working.
We will not accept any school within our Trust that cannot sign up to our values of RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY & EQUALITY.
We welcome partnership working with schools inside and outside of our Trust.
Our Growth Plan
Context and Vision
The Galaxy Trust (TGT) was founded in 2016 after the successful federation of Oakfield and Temple Hill Community Primary Schools. Situated in Dartford, Kent, it was recognised that a new, local Trust was needed to provide high quality provision for local children and young people.
TGT now comprises four high-performing academies: Fleetdown Primary Academy, Oakfield Primary Academy, Temple Hill Primary Academy and West Hill Primary Academy, which work collaboratively to ensure that our pupils and families receive the best possible care and learning opportunities that we can provide.
Through our values of Respect, Responsibility and Equality, pupils in TGT thrive in a caring and supportive environment that recognises the uniqueness of each of the families, and the experience they bring with them into school. High standards of academic learning are matched with the ambition to develop well-rounded, lifelong learners, who can take full advantage of the opportunities we provide which go beyond the classroom.
The values that we promote in the Trust define who we are. It is vital that as well as teaching the core skills of reading, writing and maths to a high academic standard, we also prepare our pupils to be good citizens in the world in which they currently live, and the wider world that is awaiting them as they approach adulthood.
Short- to Mid-Term Growth Strategy
In December 2020, Fleetdown Primary School, Dartford, was approved to join TGT. The school has not been inspected by Ofsted since 2014 and has recently been experiencing significant challenges. Schools such as Fleetdown that are joining our trust can expect to benefit from:
• A strong school improvement team and proven track record for school improvement; traditionally, our trust has supported vulnerable schools and all of our schools are now rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, as well as achieving above-average pupil outcomes
• A strong business team and sound financial management
• Staff and pupil friendly environments
• Good staff retention and opportunities for staff to undertake research and development
• Inter-school collaboration and strong governance, both at Trust Board and Local Governing Board (LGB) level.
We are looking to grow when it is right for our Trust, our schools, our pupils and when it is a good fit with a potential joining school. We are currently also engaging with other small MATs in the area and would consider merging with SATs or small MATs, provided they are willing to take on the ethos of our values-led trust. We are open to schools at all levels, from Inadequate to Outstanding, and of all phases, including primary and secondary, selective and non-selective and faith and community schools.
Our intention in the short-term is to continue to build capacity, develop positive relationships with potential partners and ensure TGT’s offer is clearly articulated on the trust’s website to maximise engagement and promote the Trust’s reputation across the local area.
Trust Capacity Fund Support
Trust Capacity Funding (TCaF) will support TGT to put the structure in place for future expansion of the trust, to ensure that schools can join efficiently and receive support effectively for the benefit of all the pupils. Specifically, the funding will be used in the following areas:
Leadership Capacity: Capacity from the central team will be increased to drive research and innovation to continue to improve outcomes for pupils and support the outstanding school improvement work TGT has put in place so far. The trust is currently undertaking research into blended learning provision and into the effect of air quality on learning. TCaF will allow us to develop this research further by releasing capacity for our staff to focus on how the outcomes of this research can be implemented to positively impact on pupils’ learning. These areas are particularly pertinent in the ongoing pandemic, and we will ensure our research informs our blended learning offer to meet the needs of all pupils, so that they can continue to work effectively remotely if necessary.
Furthermore, some of this additional capacity will be directed towards delivering on our Pledges, a promise from TGT that we will try even harder to ensure that equality of provision and equality of opportunity is achieved. These are particularly aimed at five protected groups in our schools: Looked After and Previously Looked After Children (LAC and PLAC), Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) pupils and families, pupils living in different family types, pupils with SEND and pupils in receipt of the pupil premium grant or eligible for free school meals. An additional trust accountant and member of the finance team will also be appointed to support the existing team as the trust grows.
IT and Systems: The trust currently has 3 IT technicians who carry out operational work on the trust’s existing systems and will employ a Network Manager to oversee the overall strategy, growth and quality of infrastructure and to integrate a management system that encompasses all aspects of the trust’s work. Additionally, the schools within the trust currently use different safeguarding software; funding from TCaF will provide us with the capacity to harmonise these so that effective and efficient safeguarding systems are in place in preparation for future growth.
CPD: The Trust’s executive team have been trained in executive coaching, and TCaF will ensure that the trust can roll this out in its existing schools and joining schools, to upskill internally and secure value for money by mitigating the need for external training.
HR: The Trust appointed a part-time Head of HR in April and is now looking to employ a qualified HR Director to develop long-term strategy, including a switch to in-house payroll systems.
Communications: All external communication and social media will updated to incorporate the Trust’s blended learning offer and the Trust’s website will be reviewed to ensure strong messaging for potential joining schools. To deliver this work, an additional member of the communication team will be appointed.
Estates: TGT will work with an external consultant to develop an overarching estates strategy to be implemented as it grows beyond 3000 pupils.
SEND: A SEND Lead will be appointed from January 2021 to work within the school improvement team. SEND is a priority area for the trust and the new SEND Lead will be employed on a part-time basis to support TGT’s overall SEND strategy and the SEND provision at Fleetdown Primary School.
Pledges Strategy: As outlined above, TGT’s Pledges Strategy sets out commitments to support disadvantaged pupils. TCaF will cover the costs of completing a parent/staff/pupil consultation and producing a gap analysis to construct a plan to target disadvantaged groups.
The Trust’s intention is to continue to grow at a sustainable pace through developing an attractive offer for schools across Dartford. Ultimately, TGT is a local trust for local pupils. TGT will grow at a realistic rate to ensure that current trust schools continue to excel, and new schools become highly successful. Over the next five years, we intend to double in size, to become a MAT of around eight primary and secondary schools in Dartford and the surrounding area.
The Trust has identified the following within the Kent local authority and within 20-miles of its base (Oakfield Community Primary School):
Number of underperforming primary academies:
Number of underperforming secondary academies:
Number of maintained primary schools:
Number of underperforming maintained primary schools:
Number of maintained secondary schools:
Number of underperforming maintained secondary schools:
Number of special schools:
Number of SATs
These numbers constitute the opportunities for growth that the trust has whilst remaining a local trust. The trust has considered its routes for growth as part of its development strategy. It is TGT’s intention to grow in the following ways:
- New schools: Seeking out opportunities to establish and operate new schools in Dartford and potentially its neighbouring LAs, through the central Free Schools Programme and local authority competitions.
- Conversions: TGT are intending to attract strong primary and secondary academies that are deemed successful and are aligned to our vision and ethos. These converting institutions would need to add capacity, expertise and positively impact the performance of the trust to be accepted.
- Sponsorship: The Trust will continue to achieve growth through work with sponsored schools to include offering support and leadership to individual institutions or a cluster of schools, for example within underperforming trusts
- Merging with SATs or small MATs: As already mentioned, the Trust has identified a number of underperforming SATs in the area and is engaging with other small MATs; we would consider merging in order to provide support and expertise.
The Trust will ensure that any school joining us shares TGT’s ethos and vision of providing a ‘galaxy-class’ experience for pupils, a partnership where parents and carers are cherished, and exceptional opportunities for staff development. Furthermore, the Trust does not intend to grow at the cost of its ability to support its existing academies effectively at any given point. Before a school joins TGT, the trust will undertake rigorous due diligence activities to gain a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development, focusing on such aspects as the quality of education, students’ behaviour and attitudes and personal development, and leadership and management. The process of a school joining TGT is summarised in the flowchart below:
All schools joining the Trust will benefit from our capacity and capability with particular reference to our current diligent financial management, outstanding leadership, pedagogical expertise and a strong educational vision. In particular, TGT will offer central trust oversight and support for strong governance, and a strong operational backbone to manage a more effective use of school funding, and so achieve value for money.
We do not intend to "take over" any school that is not open to partnership working. Our trust values of Respect, Responsibility and Equality are non-negotiable and run like blood through the veins of each school. Whilst it is, of course, important for each school to be defined using their own values and vision, it is also a prerequisite for any school joining our trust that they will fully endorse and adopt these three key values as above. We will also welcome partnership working with schools outside of our trust.
More generally, the Trust will continue to grow and develop, providing excellent education to its pupils, whilst providing staff with a supportive and fulfilling workplace that enables them to excel.