Questions & Answers
Q: How do Step academies communicate with parents to keep us up to date with changes to curriculum/house points/children's progress?
A: Every STEP academy has an Academy Committee which provides support and challenge to academy leadership teams as the academy implements policies and improvement plan priorities. This includes ensuring parents are kept abreast of performance and changes through newsletters, website announcements and parents evenings. We will build on the good practice in place at Peacehaven Heights Primary to ensure parents remain a core part of the school community. All STEP schools have curriculum meetings for parents in every year group at the beginning of each year and that knowledge organisers are shared with parents at the start of all new elements of study.
Q: How do Step academies propose they will keep the individuality of both Peacehaven Heights Primary School and the children? Until recently this has been the superb beach school which has just been taken away, how do they propose to continue to nurture the children’s individuality and well-being after they’ve had such a tough year and make Peacehaven Heights brilliant again?
A: STEP’s mission is to improve the life chances of all children. This relies on a united partnership of excellent academies where empowered leaders place our learners at the heart of everything and all are supported to be successful. These rely on our core values of: Passion; Urgency; Positivity; Aspiration; and Commitment. We have worked closely with the school for some time and understand what is needed going forward to ensure all pupils have a high-quality education. STEP has a reputation for and track record of delivering the highest quality , well-evidenced and research-based education at primary level. We know that Peacehaven Heights is well regarded by parents and carers and that parents and carers want their children to be happy in their learning. STEP’s Teaching School Alliance has been supporting the school for some time but there is still some way to go before educational performance is at a level where all children are able to succeed, especially when moving to secondary school. It is imperative that there is a continued focus on learning but equally, a broad and balanced curriculum will provide for the nurture and well-being of pupils. Coming out of the pandemic, the school is already looking to resume more outdoor activities and trips that support and enrich the curriculum. We will keep parents informed of new initiatives. We are also mindful of children’s wellbeing; our strategies on behaviour and attendance are already demonstrating that children feel safer at playtime and during class time and this contributes significantly to individual children being able to develop their own characteristics and feel supported in school. We also recognise that close working with parents is essential and now that Covid restrictions have been modified, we want parents to feel they are able to visit the school and speak to staff and senior leaders about any issues and suggestions to improve our offer. Core to this is our intention to put in place a parent teacher association (PTA) to help forge close links between the school and the community
Q: How many staff are current and/or ex STEP academy? Has school policies been changed to STEP ones?
A: There are no staff who are ex-STEP. Miss Kilgarriff is a STEP employee and we do have two members of staff who have been seconded from STEP to provide additional expertise and capacity to support our SEND provision and our school improvement strategies. We have not adopted STEP policies, we have used ESCC model policies and if we have not had those quite a lot have come from The Key and then been adapted. The behaviour policy originates from High Cliff but it is not a STEP wide approach.
Q: After reading the consultation letter, I wonder if you can help provide me with some clarity and justification for some of the statements made, to help reassure me and other parents of the commitment and decision the IEB has made.
Abby Kilgarriff - to be appointed as a permanent headteacher,
I believe Abby is currently also stated as the head teacher for High cliff academy, will the appointment as head teacher be a full-time position ?
or will this continue to be a split role ?
A: Yes, the appointment will be full time. It is not currently a split role.
Q: The school requires strong stability in leadership, Will step academy/ IEB be able to show full commitment and complete focus by ensuring Abby can remain at Peacehaven heights for a minimum time frame ? What is their proposed time frame ?
A: Abby’s appointment will be subject to the usual time limits for resignation; however, Abby has indicated her commitment to securing the best future for Peacehaven Heights.
Academy committee - advised this will consist of staff, parents and local community
Q: How many people will this involve ?
A: At the meeting, the response provided was a maximum of 12 and a minimum of 8. The Trust subsequently provided the correct figures of a maximum of 10 and a minimum of 6
Q: What are the proportions of each representative type ?
A: The minimum membership for each Academy Committee would be: 1 Academy Leader; 1 Staff Governor; 2 Parent Governors; and 2 Co-opted Governors.
The maximum membership for each Academy Committee would be: 2 Academy Leaders; 2 Staff Governors; 2 Parent Governors; and 4 Co-opted Governors
Q: How will the committee be appointed ?
A: Parents and staff by election. Co-opted members by the Trust
Q: How can step academy ensure the views of the committee will be listened to ?
A: The Trust Board will receive regular recommendations and reports from the Academy Committee
Q: I understand that there is no requirement to have a committee
What commitment can step guarantee for the duration that the committee will be in place?
A: The committees are a permanent part of governance at all STEP academies
Q: Is there evidence of this at the local Newhaven Step academies ?
A: Yes, there are committees in place
Staff are responding very positively to the support and professional development from step academy they are receiving.
Q: A staff survey last year showed that a large proportion of teachers would leave the school if it was academised, have any recent anonymous staff surveys been completed to justify this statement ?
A: The staff survey was completed in 2019.
No anonymous surveys have been completed recently. However, in recent meetings the staff have stated that they are very positive about the current leadership and changes being made.
Telscombe has seen a large proportion of teachers leave due to academisation,
Q: What do Step propose to do to help keep its current staff ?
A: STEP have a strong record for retaining staff. There are a range of professional development and promotion opportunities for STEP staff and this has led to staff wanting to stay part of STEP
Q: What incentives and professional development support do step provide for its teachers ?
A: STEP invest a significant resource in professional development for staff and this is well-received.
Q: What resources are regularly shared between schools ? Can you provide any examples of where shared resources have been beneficial between the 2 Newhaven schools currently under step academy ?
A: Resources have been shared in relation to the teaching of reading, curriculum planning across the whole curriculum, managing behaviour and SEND provision.
Q: Will the Telscombe pool be kept as a shared resource so that the local community and both schools can benefit ?
A: We understand that the Telscombe Cliffs pool has been closed for some time due to health and safety reasons
Q: Aim of step At all times is to Improve the experience for children in the classroom ?
We have only seen the removal of beach school, birthday attire, inequality of reading books if forms are not signed, abrupt communication style,
What plans do step have to improve the experience for children?
What will be Steps focus to achieve this in 2022 ?
A: STEP will want to take some time understanding how the experience of children can be improved and will want to engage parents in the consideration of this
Step will respect the traditions and identities of the school
I feel that Part of the tradition and identity of the school was due to our location and being so close to the beach. I felt that beach school was an amazing benefit to bring in the local community and respect for the sea to the forefront of children’s learning.
Q: What do Step academy feel are the traditions and identities of Peacehaven Heights ?
A: This is, again, something that STEP would want to involve parents in. Certainly, STEP would want to maintain the focus on the care of pupils and enabling them to enjoy their learning.