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  • Creating an Equal, Diverse and Inclusive Catering Offer at Brooke Weston Trust

    Published 03/10/22

    As a Trust, we take our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion very seriously. We work with our schools to ensure that they live and breathe this commitment in every aspect of their offering, not least their catering provision. Our recently appointed Head of Catering, Theresa Jackson, who has an extensive background in both private and public sector catering, explains more about her plans to ensure that menus are more equal, diverse and inclusive across the Trust.

    Why is it important that the Trust’s Catering Services reflect Equality, Diversity and Inclusion?

    School is about preparing children for the modern world and as such, school life (including meal times) should reflect the diversity of our world. EDI is more than just a policy here at Brooke Weston Trust, it’s about respecting the unique needs and perspectives of all pupils at our schools.

    Since your appointment in February 2022, what changes have you made within the Catering services to support EDI?

    I’ve been very busy, working with my team on a new menu (launching after October half-term), which I’m really excited about. It includes more themed days that are linked to the curriculum and more appealing alternatives for those with specific dietary needs or choices. I feel passionately that school menus should represent the diversity of their communities and that provisions for dietary requirements should be vibrant, well thought-through and appealing.

    How will your changes affect the catering teams within the schools?

    One of the positive consequences of the new menus is the increased amount of freshly prepared meals that we’ll be able to offer. I’m keen to ensure that alternative dietary options are no longer the ‘poor relation’ of the standard offering. For example, a vegetarian or plant-based option should be just as vibrant and flavoursome as the rest of the menu. Once our catering managers have reviewed the new menus, we will then work with pupils to sample dishes and give feedback, so that we can refine and improve before launch.

    What are your key focus areas around EDI in the coming months?

    Providing nutritional values on food items is a really important change that I’m going to be implementing. I want pupils to know what they’re eating so that they can make informed choices. Another critical area for us is the awareness of any allergens within our offerings and importantly, which pupils have specific allergies. I’ve implemented the principles of ‘Natasha’s Law’ into our everyday ways-of-working, but I’m also hoping to work with ‘The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation’ to roll out more extensive training on this topic. It’s relevant not just for our catering staff, but also our midday supervisors and any teaching staff who might be involved in lunch service. Parents of children with allergies and intolerances put their faith in us and it’s a responsibility that I take very seriously, so I’ll be continuing to work with the foundation to improve awareness and education around this topic.

    Can you give us a teaser of any upcoming Menu plans?

    We’re really excited about our themed days this year. We’ve got a theme calendar to map out the culturally significant days of the year, but it’s not just about the food, it’s about the visuals in the dining rooms too! We’ll be providing decorations for schools, to help bring the themes to life – which should really enhance the learning experience and allow children a taster of different cultures they might not be familiar with. I’m particularly excited about Chinese New Year, Eid and Diwali. I know that the pupils and staff are going to really enjoy these days too.

    Any advice for schools wanting to get more involved in the discussion?

    I’d encourage our schools to get in touch if they have any ideas to further enhance our catering services from an EDI perspective. Corby Technical for example, recently put together a themed menu, based on ‘Countries around the World’ and it was a huge success, enabling pupils to experience new cuisines and learn more about their respective cultures. We would love to hear more great ideas so that we can build them into our future menu plans for the Trust.

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  • EDI in the curriculum

    Published 30/09/22

    “All students deserve a curriculum which mirrors their own experience back to them, upon occasion — thus validating it in the public world of the school. But curriculum must also insist upon the fresh air of windows into the experience of others — who also need and deserve the public validation of the school curriculum.” – Emily Style, ‘Curriculum As Window and Mirror’

    At Brooke Weston Trust, we believe in ambition for all. We value every student equally and ensure that no one is left behind. A core part of this work has been the development and reorganisation of our primary curriculum to ensure it is more equal, diverse and inclusive. Our Director of Primary Curriculum, Carrie Norman explains the importance of this piece of work and the impact this has had on children across the Trust.

    Why is it so important that the curriculum is equal, diverse and inclusive?

    “As Emily Style wrote in her 1988 article ‘Curriculum as Window and Mirror’, we believe all children need windows and mirrors in the curriculum – windows into the lives of others to develop their empathy and understanding and mirrors in which to see themselves reflected. Both windows and mirrors help our students to grow their ambition, empathy and understanding and to find role models they can believe in and look up to.

    “When we do our deep dives, we talk to the children about the curriculum, and we take their feedback. Recently a few students told us they loved learning about Mae Jemison, the first black woman to travel into space, and Katherine Johnson, an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. spaceflights.”

    How did you go about making the curriculum more diverse?

    “Representatives from our five primary schools came together on a regular basis to build the new curriculum. Diversity was a strong theme in all our conversations, and we constantly came back to the same question – is this diverse enough? Have we got positive role models that reflect everyone in our school communities? We looked to the demographics and populations of our schools to try and ensure that we had texts and role models that allowed all our children to feel represented, seen and heard. Staff have been really supportive of the changes to the curriculum and although they’ve had to upskill themselves and learn a lot, they have really embraced this challenge.”

    How is EDI incorporated as part of the curriculum?

    “Equality, diversity and inclusion runs through our entire curriculum and isn’t something we just teach once or in one particular subject. For example, one of the key themes that came up when looking at the demographic of many of our schools was migration. This was something lots of our children have experienced themselves or feel a connection with. As a result, we’ve introduced a theme of migration throughout all subjects, looking at the benefits of migration right through the ages and in all different subject areas. Our students have really enjoyed learning about this and seeing their lived experiences reflected in their education.

    “We have also outlined 50 books that we want children to read in their particular year group and these books have been selected because they cover topics such as disability, gender and same-sex relationships. This gives our children a really broad view of the world with which they can understand the world we live in.”

    What are the plans for developing this further in the next iteration of the curriculum?

    “There’s so much more we can do, and I don’t think we have gone far enough yet. An important for this year is continuing to ensure that our curriculum is scaffolded, accessible and adapted for children with SEN and we are going to be partnering with a special school to support us with this. We are also rewriting our PSHE and RE curriculums to adapt elements of what we have and make better links to the curriculum. We will continue to keep questioning ourselves to ensure we provide a curriculum for the future, preparing children for the modern world.”

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  • Secondary schools across BWT open their doors to prospective students

    Published 28/09/22

    A series of Open Days are being held across our secondary schools for prospective pupils in Year 6 and their parents/ carers to attend and discover what opportunities our schools can offer them.

    We have five secondary schools across the Corby, Kettering and Wisbech area consisting of Brooke Weston Academy, Corby Business Academy, Corby Technical School, Kettering Science Academy and Thomas Clarkson Academy. As part of our Trust, each of our schools commit to the ‘BWT Way’ – a set of shared expectations of how our schools should be and how they should ‘feel’.

    With each of our secondary schools providing a high-quality education and passionate about giving all our students the best start in life, we hope these open evenings will allow you to see the opportunities that being a part of the Brook Weston Family can offer you and gain a real insight into the supportive and welcoming environment at one of our schools.

    The open evenings take place on:

    Corby Technical School’s Open Days were on Thursday 22nd September and Tuesday 27th September. However, you can still find out more about the school’s provision and view their online prospectus here.

    For more information on individual Open Days and to contact the school’s directly, please follow the links shown above.

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  • Staff and pupils at Gretton Primary Academy say a fond farewell to popular Headteacher

    Published 27/09/22

    Jane MacDonald, Principal at Gretton Primary Academy retired at the end of the school year after 8 years in the role.

    Jane has been a well-respected Principal at Gretton Primary Academy since 2014 after acting as Vice Principal at Oakley Vale School – both part of Brooke Weston Trust.

    During her time as Principal, Jane helped ensure all students experienced a high standard of education and had access to many exciting enrichment activities. She has been a valued member of the community and has built fond relationships with those such as the Chirpy Chicks Pre-School, Parish council and the two local churches.

    Jane Macdonald, former Principal at Gretton Primary Academy said: “I have enjoyed many successes whilst leading Gretton and this is thanks to the wonderful children and the high calibre of staff that I have worked with. 

    “I have learnt that to be a successful leader you need to surround yourself with great people and that is exactly what I have done over the years. I am proud to have worked with a very dedicated and strong team of professionals, both at the school and Trust level, who have been fantastically supportive and focused on delivering the highest quality education for the children of Gretton. I will miss all of them as I move on.”

    Julia Dickinson has been appointed as the new Associate Principal of Gretton Primary Academy for the new academic year. Ms Dickinson was previously Vice Principal at Beanfield Primary School and has worked alongside many staff members at Gretton Primary Academy during her time with Brooke Weston Trust.

    Speaking about her appointment, Julia said: "I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to take on the role as Associate Principal at Gretton and to be able to build on the success of the school under Jane's MacDonald's leadership. Gretton is a fantastic school which is very highly thought of in its community and beyond and I am looking forward to getting to know the staff, children and families I'll be working with.

    “The school's motto is "Striving to be better every day" and I am excited to work with staff and pupils at the school to build on the amazing foundations that exist and ensure the school continues to be a centre of educational excellence.”

    Despite stepping down from her role as Principal, Jane will continue to work at Brooke Weston Trust as Director of the Primary Training Hub and Chair of the Leadership Academy. She is looking forward to a part-time role and plans to spend some quality time with family and friends both at home and away.

     

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  • Introducing the new Safeguarding Officer and Designated Safeguarding Lead at Compass Primary School

    Published 26/09/22

    Callum Reilly has recently been promoted from Education Welfare Officer at Beanfield Primary School to Safeguarding Officer and Designated Safeguarding Lead at Compass Primary School in Kettering.

    We caught up with Callum to find out more about his move, and gain insight into how Brooke Weston Trust has supported his development.

    Tell us a little bit about your background in education?

    I’ve always enjoyed education right from an early age and often chose to work in schools whenever I had the chance – like doing work experience in Year 10 and working as a Student Teacher at my local music centre. When I was 18, I went to the University of Sunderland and studied Community Music which led me to work within schools and lead musical projects with staff, parents, and the local community.

    I did more of this when I moved back to Corby after university – eventually getting a role as Pupil Welfare Assistant in June 2017 at Beanfield Primary School. I progressed at Beanfield until I reached Education Welfare Officer which was my previous role. It was such a varied role and I loved it because no day, or hour, were the same! The school has an exceptional community spirit and an ethos of nurture and care.

    Tell us more about the move, how did it come up?

    I’ve always been an open person and if something comes up that I like the sound of, then I’m always one to go for it and challenge myself. When I saw the new role at Compass Primary Academy, I thought it would be a good step for me and discussed it with the Trust. At the time, I wasn’t looking to leave Beanfield but when it came up, I thought that it would be good to put myself forward.

    It took a lot of thought but when I eventually did apply and was successful in gaining the position, it was really nice to hear that everyone fully believed in me. It was sad saying goodbye to Beanfield, but I’m still so glad to be a part of the Trust and remain friends with my colleagues.

    I went through the process in Easter and was appointed shortly afterwards. That meant I had just a few weeks to do my handover and let families and children know I was going. It felt like a bit of a whirlwind, but it all seemed to fall into place! I have settled in well at Compass and everybody has been very welcoming and supportive.

    What kind of opportunities has the Trust giving you to enable your development?

    A big one for me has been completing a master’s degree with the Pen Green Research Base and University of Hertfordshire. After seeing that Pen Green in Corby was offering the qualification alongside work, I let the Principal at Beanfield know I was interested, and the rest is history! The Trust’s response was so positive, and it was great to see how keen they were for me to further develop my learning.

    In terms of other courses, qualifications, and training opportunities, there’s been loads! To name a few, I’ve done sessions on protective behaviours, safeguarding training, and counselling courses. The Trust has been fantastic at approving and providing these too and always seeks to invest in their people. I’ve found that if you see something that interests you, all you need to do is let them know and they’ll do whatever they can to support you.

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  • BWT celebrates GCSE Results Day

    Published 26/08/22

    Staff and students across Brooke Weston Trust are celebrating an outstanding set of GCSE results. This year’s cohort were the first to sit formal examinations in the last two years and have exceeded expectations with many outstanding individual achievements.

    Thomas Clarkson Academy revealed its best-ever set of GCSE results with standout performers including Jasleen Kaur who moved to the UK in Year 10. Jasleen had to learn English alongside her GCSE subjects and demonstrated phenomenal progress in her comprehension in an incredibly short space of time. Her grades included two 9s, four 8s, three 7s and a distinction.

    Some of our other highly graded students were Sofia Reeves, with seven 9s and two 8s; Sophie Tjurina with six 9s, two 8s, two Distinction*s and a six. They were joined by Aukse Janusauskaite with three 9s, three 8s and three 7s; Gvido Malinouskis who achieved one 9, four 8s, one Distinction*, two 7s, one six and a Merit while Skaiste Tlembetovaite achieved one 9, four 8s, four 7s and a Merit.

    There were also a number of students who overcame personal barriers to achieve great results with their exams.

    Lacey Barrett missed school from the spring of Year 9 to the autumn of Year 11 due to health problems, but she showed absolute determination to achieve the grades she needed to move into the academy’s sixth form.

    Scarlett Marr and Sophie O’Neill both had personal challenges but showed significant resilience and have both been accepted into the sixth form.

    Kettering Science Academy and their students were also so pleased with their outcomes. Arany Nanthakumaran achieved eight grade 9s and one grade 8; Anais Johnson attained five grade 9s, three grade 8s and one grade 7; Ayra Malak secured four grade 9s, four grade 8s and one grade 7 and Stanley Chiam obtained four grade 9s, three grade 8s and two grade 7s.

    Staff and students at Corby Business Academy were delighted with their GCSE and vocational results. Individual successes included Lewis Gibbs with three 9s, four 8s and two 6s; Amalie Lines who attained three 9s, two 8s, three 7s and a Distinction* and Bethany Wishart who achieved grades 9 - 7 across all of her subjects. They were joined by Lucy Stone and Robert Hartley who also secured two 9s and five 8s within the grades they each achieved.

    Brooke Weston Academy was incredibly proud of all 179 of their GCSE students for their hard work, determination and perseverance throughout this challenging year. The school’s top performing student was Marcus Ciobanu who achieved grade 9’s in all of his subjects. Marcus will be staying on at Brooke Weston Sixth Form to study Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Computer Science.

    Also amongst the school’s top performers were Charlotte Fletcher, Ruby Gardiner, Mia Brown and Amelia Millier who all achieved grade 8’s and 9’s in every subject. Joining them were Zahra Kahn, Ruby Markham, Matthew Starkey and Yazmine Sharif who all achieved grades 7, 8 and 9 across all subjects. All of the above students are staying on at Brooke Weston to study for their A Levels.

    After celebrating an excellent set of GCSE results, many students will be returning to Corby Technical School’s Sixth Form, some students have secured apprenticeships in finance, social media, and Engineering. Others have accepted places at various colleges to study Drama, Graphic Design, Law and Criminology, Engineering, and Game Design.

    Angela Reynolds, Principal at Corby Technical School, said: “I am so proud of each of our students today who have achieved excellent results that are thoroughly deserved. The accomplishments seen today are a real tribute to the incredible work ethic and drive shown across the year group. Celebrations were absolutely in order which I was thrilled to be a part of this morning.

    “Students have faced great obstacles over the last few years and have demonstrated resilience and perseverance throughout their studies despite the turbulence. It is always a pleasure to be part of our student’s journeys as we witness them moving on.”

    Dr Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of Brooke Weston Trust said: “We are thrilled with the accomplishments of students and staff across the Trust this year. We are passionate and unrelenting in our desire to give our students the best start in life and the outstanding results are a true testament to the incredible efforts shown in our provisions.

    “It has been a pleasure to witness the ambition and dedication shown by this year’s students. The sheer hard work and determination has been truly inspiring, and I have no doubt they will succeed in the next steps of their educational journeys.”

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  • A Level Results Day!

    Published 18/08/22

    Congratulations to our Year 13 students!

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  • Wow Day celebrates Brooke Weston Trust Catering Team

    Published 26/07/22

    On 26th July, Brooke Weston Trust catering colleagues came together for the Trust’s first annual Wow Day. This was the first time the team had met face to face for several months and provided a great chance to ensure colleagues could spend some time focused on their personal development and the development of our catering offer.

    During the day, colleagues discussed how the team could work effectively as one team, working across our ten schools. Colleagues discussed the new structure, which enables us to be more agile, effective, creative and innovative, supporting one another across different locations and enhancing our student experiences of dining at Brooke Weston Trust.

    Colleagues spoke about the high expectations and standards that characterise our offer, working within our core values and mission – ‘how’ we deliver service and food for our students and staff as well as ‘what’ we offer in terms of quality, taste and portion size.

    We spoke in-depth about Natasha's Law and the impact of allergies for our families. Several of our colleagues had recently attended a conference at the Local Authority Caterers Association. This was attended by Natasha's parents who gave a talk about what happened and why Natasha's Law was introduced. This is so important not only for the catering team to understand but also in raising awareness for staff

    Head of Catering, Theresa Jackson, said: “It was brilliant to get everyone together in person for our first Wow Day as it’s such an exciting time for Brooke Weston Trust catering. Our recent restructure has enabled us to realign our resources, develop a clear career and development path and appoint several current colleagues into new roles with ten individuals being promoted internally. We are also enhancing our apprenticeship offer with three colleagues already part of this scheme.

    “We are excited to be launching a new brand for BWT catering at the start of the Autumn term in each of our schools, following a consultation on the four final designs. This will include new uniforms. We will be piloting new menu offers which are due to be rolled out after October half term, alongside fresh sandwiches made on the premises commencing 5th September.

    “We have been focused on integrating ‘student voice’ when making decisions on what we propose within catering and will continue to do so, ensuring what we offer reflects student tastes and diversity of requirements. Themed days throughout the year linked to activities or national celebration days will also be part of our new offer.”

    The BWT Catering Team’s Wow Days will now become an annual event, recognising our amazing catering teams and their value in delivering education to our students.

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  • Peckover Primary School hosts surprise Peckfest Festival for pupils and parents

    Published 25/07/22

    More than 400 students and staff from Peckover Primary School were treated to a surprise festival on Friday 15th July – Peckfest.

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  • Over 300 students gather for Brooke Weston Trust Primary Competition Day

    Published 13/07/22

    Over 300 children from across the Brooke Weston Trust primary schools headed to Compass Primary Academy on Monday 11th July for the Trust’s first face-to-face Primary Competition Day. 

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  • Sadie has the recipe for award success at Thomas Clarkson Academy

    Published 01/06/22

    A popular caterer has been presented with an award for her phenomenal work in catering for students and staff at Thomas Clarkson Academy.

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  • Gretton Primary Academy marks The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with celebratory Rose Fair ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

    Published 01/06/22

    Gretton Primary Academy were delighted to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with the grand return of the school’s annual Rose Fair for the first time in two years.

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