The Beckfoot Trust is an organisation that links a group of local Bradford schools together so that they can collectively improve the life chances for young people within their schools.
Our aim is to create a group of truly remarkable schools each with a genuine comprehensive intake. They will be wonderful places for young people to learn and grow up in. They will be noted for their highly professional, happy and valued staff who work tirelessly to create a learning environment that celebrates achievement in all its forms. Who prepares young people for life in work and in society, and who secure academic outcomes that place each of our schools within the top 20% of ‘similar schools’ nationally. In short we want to make a difference. We want to create something special.
The hub school is Beckfoot, an outstanding 11-18 comprehensive situated in Bingley. Our group include a mix of primary, secondary and special schools all within close proximity to one another. We love the cross phase nature of our Trust. It allows us a better chance of ensuring that the learning journey a young person goes on from 2 to 19 can be seamless and consistent. Our special schools allow us a better understanding of how to maximise inclusion opportunities for all our learners regardless of starting point or disability.
The Trust never approaches schools to join us. Every member school has actively sought out the Trust. For us to accept them into the group, they have to be Bradford based, co-educational, not faith based or selective in any form. We accept the school into the Trust if we are confident that they clearly relate strongly to the values and aspirations of the Trust. If we are sure that they want to be challenged to improve because they share the same level of ‘absurd aspiration’ as we do to improve life chances for young people. Finally we need to be sure that they recognise that it is easier to improve their school if they work in partnership rather than stand as an island alone. They also need to be commercially viable so as not to weaken other schools within the group.
Finally, we have a very firm view as to how to create a remarkable school. Whilst we want all of our schools to retain their individual identity, and have the freedom to shape their culture (we don’t want clones), we do know that the same systematic approach across all Beckfoot Trust schools to key school improvement strategies allows us all to improve quickly. Some of these strategies include a focus on:
- how to effectively lead and manage teams to maximise their effectiveness
- the nature of assessing learning progress and the impact of teaching
- the suitability of the curriculum experience for each learner from the age of 2 to 19
- how to secure excellent attendance and positive behaviour.
Equally we have the same systematic approach to our commercial operation including finance, HR and legal compliance including safeguarding. The Trust Board of Directors ensures that all aspects of the Trust’s work are scrutinised to measure impact and equally ensure that we stay true to our values. Each of our school’s has its own Local School Committee who focus on ensuring that parents, students and staff are happy with their school.
The Trust is supported by our very own Teaching School that allows us a co-ordinated strategy across our schools for recruiting the very best teacher trainees, offering high quality professional development and leadership training, and effective school to school support.
To conclude, the Trust has already had significant impact and will improve further. We are not interested in the status quo. We want to secure maximum positive impact in all of our schools quickly. That way every young adult can be well placed to maximise their potential once they leave education.