As an academy sponsor our job first and foremost is to ensure that all schools within our group are Outstanding or rapidly improving. It is our view that this can only be achieved when partnership is purposeful, committed and intimate. We have resisted expansion which is too rapid because we recognise the true extent of the challenge in transforming underperforming schools and in ensuring that new schools are brilliant places in which to learn from the point of opening.

The highest performing school in the Leeds LA regarding the progress of all childrenIt took us a long time, six years in fact, to establish our first Outstanding school. In 2003 Morley High School (now The Morley Academy) was viewed by all external stakeholders including parents as an underperforming school. It was at the time judged as a “Satisfactory” school by Ofsted and this judgement was repeated in the school’s inspection of 2006. Though we were disappointed with that overall judgement we were pleased that inspectors noted the good standards of behaviour, teaching and leadership and the outstanding curriculum and this gave us the confidence to push forward with renewed vigour in our direction of travel. In 2009 all of us were delighted that Morley High School was judged to be an Outstanding school. Equally pleasing was the fact that its successor school, The Morley Academy, was also judged to be Outstanding in every category in 2013. Despite all that we have been engaged in as a trust since 2009 we remain very proud of all that The Morley Academy represents and it comes as no surprise to anyone who spends time within the academy to learn that, for example, it remains as one of the highest performing schools in the country regarding the progress of all children.

The intervention brought stability and rapid improvement to the schoolIn 2007 Morley High School and its Head teacher John Townsley led a key intervention in Rodillian School which was at that point in crisis. In partnership with Morley’s then Deputy Head teacher Anne McAvan the intervention brought stability and rapid improvement to the school. In 2008 the school was given an Inadequate judgement by Ofsted; in 2009 it was judged to be Satisfactory with Good leadership. With the appointment of a very strong Head teacher in 2008 Rodillian has gone from strength to strength and is currently classified as a Good school with Outstanding leadership and behaviour. We are proud to have played a key role in setting the foundation stones in place for this transformational recovery.

In 2009 Morley High School became involved for the first time in the formal sponsorship of a school, Farnley Park High School in west Leeds. At the point of that intervention the school was also in very challenging waters with examination outcomes in key stages 4 and 5 which were among the poorest in the country. We are proud to have overseen the deep rooted transformation of the Inadequate Farnley Park High School into the Outstanding Farnley Academy. It is our understanding that the movement from Inadequate to Outstanding which took three years in total is the most rapid for any secondary school in the country. As with The Morley Academy, The Farnley Academy continues to perform at the very highest level and its 2016 examination outcomes identify it as one of the highest performing schools in the country.

The movement from Inadequate to Outstanding which took three years in total is the most rapid for any secondary school in the country

In September 2016 Hillcrest Academy in Chapeltown was inspected for the first time since its conversion to academy status in January 2014. At its previous inspection in 2013 the predecessor school was rated as Inadequate. All of us are immensely proud that Hillcrest Academy was judged by the inspection team to be Outstanding. All areas of the school were judged by the inspection team to be of the very highest standard, including the Early Years and Foundation Stage which was also judged to be Outstanding. This is an amazing result for the community of Chapeltown. For too many years people have looked down on Hillcrest as a failing school. We can now enjoy many years of the wider community across Leeds and further afield looking up to Hillcrest Academy as a beacon of excellence.

We are also proud that for the second time the trust has overseen the transformation of an underperforming school to the very highest rating in only three years. The report, which is a most impressive read, can be found at https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk.

Our latest trust centred challenge in the secondary phase in centred around Bruntcliffe Academy, formerly Bruntcliffe High School. Bruntcliffe became a part of The GORSE Academies Trust in September 2015 so it is still at an early point in its journey. What we can say is that 2016 examination outcomes are the best in the school’s history and that at its next inspection which is likely to take place in 2018, the school will secure at least a Good judgement.

Wealth of expertise and experience in the development of Outstanding schoolsRyecroft Primary School, now Ryecroft Academy in the Farnley area of Leeds, also joined our trust in May 2014. At the most recent inspection of 2013 the predecessor school was judged to be Inadequate. We are confident that we will be able to show clear improvement in the school’s performance over the last two years, and an exciting vision for the future. In addition Morley Newlands Primary School joined the trust in March 2015 becoming as it did Morley Newlands Academy. Again it is too early to be able to articulate in any detail the impact of our work but we are confident that Morley Newlands Academy will become an Outstanding school over the next few years. Of great importance in the development of excellence in our primary phase schools has been the appointment of Mark Randall to the position of Director of Primary Education for the trust. Mark brings with him a wealth of expertise and experience in the development of Outstanding schools and his impact, as can be seen from the inspection of Hillcrest Academy, is most significant.