Maths and English: West Sussex trust Schoolsworks secures government funding to improve core subjects

Improving maths and English will be the focus for eight schools in West Sussex as Schoolsworks multi-academy trust secures funding worth £99,000 from the government’s Trust Capacity Fund.

The money will be used to raise standards in the core subjects, primarily by recruiting and releasing staff as secondments to a number of part-time posts across the trust’s schools.

Downsbrook Primary and Whytemead Primary in Worthing, Rose Green Junior and Edward Bryant in Bognor Regis, Medmerry Primary School in Selsey, River Beach Primary in Littlehampton, Rustington Community Primary and East Preston Junior are all run by Schoolsworks.

Chris Seaton, chief executive, said: “We are delighted that we’ve been successful in this important round of funding. This money will enable us to strengthen our educational offering, which is even more important in this period of recovery and re-engagement with children following significant gaps caused by the Covid pandemic.

Schoolsworks chief executive Chris Seaton with Richard Waddington, the trust's new maths leader, and pupils at Whytemead Primary School in Worthing

“We’re also keen to boost the capacity of our central team, who work hard to provide the administrative back-up for the benefit of all schools.”

Richard Waddington, headteacher at Whytemead Primary School, has been appointed trust maths leader, a seconded key post that has been created as a result of the funding.

He will be working with headteachers and trust leaders to plan and design appropriate maths strategies for each school, monitor the implementation of these plans and lead staff training.

Richard has worked with Schoolsworks for many years, holding the post of head of school at Edward Bryant School for five years. His first staff training session focused on the Inspire Maths scheme used across all trust schools.

Shannon Lasham, class teacher at Rustington Primary, said: “Attending this Inspire session has had a positive impact upon my practice, enabling me to reflect on my own pedagogy when it comes to teaching maths, in particular the scheme structure.

“The importance of language use and following the spiral curriculum was evident during the course and it’s something I now endeavour to include in my daily teaching.

“The training was beneficial for my continuous professional development and I am confident my fellow trust colleagues left the course feeling the same way.”

Other posts being recruited include maths lead teachers and lead English teachers. These will be experienced teachers who will work on the ground to help the leaders deliver planned improvements.

The funding will also enable the appointment of a shared services administrator and additional finance manager to support the trusts’ central team, and broadband upgrades in all schools where needed, along with a new telephone system and supporting IT systems for the main offices.

The TCaF competitive grant fund helps trusts to develop their capacity to grow. It has a particular focus on supporting strong trusts and strong schools forming trusts to take on underperforming schools in areas of higher need.

At its core, the purpose is to develop capacity by adding schools and providing funding to support the central capabilities of high performing and high potential school trusts, so that they can grow more quickly and effectively to support more schools.