The Lighthouse Schools Partnership

The end of this term marks an end and a new beginning for Churchill Academy & Sixth Form. March 31st is our last day as a Single Academy Trust (SAT); at one minute past midnight on 1st April 2023 the Academy will officially become part of the Lighthouse Schools Partnership Multi-Academy Trust.

A multi-academy trust is a charity that has responsibility for running a number of academies. They cannot be run for financial profit and any surplus must be reinvested in the trust. By working in partnership with each other, the schools within a trust can share staff, curriculum expertise and effective teaching practices, and work together to deliver the best outcomes for students. All schools within the trust support each other and the trust is accountable for them all.

Churchill has been an academy since August 2011, when it changed from Churchill Community Foundation School and Sixth Form Centre to Churchill Academy & Sixth Form. That change saw a wholesale shift in the school’s identity: a new logo, a new name, and a new uniform followed. This next chapter in the school’s history does not involve a change of name or identity: there will be very little visible difference on the surface. We will still be called Churchill Academy & Sixth Form; the Academy’s values and ethos will not change; we will keep the same uniform; we will have the same staff.

Behind the scenes, however, we see a great many advantages for our children, families and staff in joining a multi-academy trust. We will be able to share resources and expertise across the Lighthouse Schools Partnership. The central focus of our collaboration will be on the professional development for our staff so that we continually improve in our teaching and learning for the benefit of all our students. There will also be financial benefits in the economies of scale available to us as part of a larger organisation, as well as the opportunity for our students and staff to collaborate on projects across the trust – such as the Student Leadership Conference we attended at Gordano in February.

There will be changes to governance, as our existing Trust Board changes its status to a Local Governing Body reporting to the Lighthouse Schools Partnership Trustees. The Governors will still be responsible for school specific policies, the budget, and standards within Churchill Academy & Sixth Form, but we will be adopting many policies that are common across the Trust.

We were delighted that our local primary schools, Burrington and Wrington, joined Lighthouse in January of this year, followed by Churchill Primary in February; Blagdon Primary and St Andrew’s in Congresbury are already members. Together, we are forming the Churchill Hub of the Lighthouse Schools Partnership, sharing resources and expertise to manage our schools collaboratively. The Churchill Hub is the fourth hub of the trust, joining the Portishead, Backwell and Chew Valley hubs across North Somerset.

Since the decision to join the Lighthouse Schools Partnership was taken in the summer of 2022, we have been working closely with colleagues from across the 29 other schools in the trust. We have worked together on plans for closing the attainment and progress gap for disadvantaged students, improving assessment, provision for students with special educational needs and disabilities, curriculum development and more. We have worked across secondary schools to evaluate and learn from one another in subject-specific visits, and senior leaders from the four secondaries have also begun to develop our plans to move our collaboration forward over the coming years. The staff we have met from across the trust have been open, welcoming and exciting to work with: we look forward to our shared journey together in the future.