Why Join Us?
There are countless benefits for a school within the PLT family, including increased availability of resources and better purchasing power, however, the reasons for joining us extend far beyond this. Here, we will highlight the benefits of joining our Trust and community.
1. Raising aspiration is at the heart of what we do
Our Vision is of a high achieving and locally-focused Trust with academies in all phases of education. With an understanding of the proud and vibrant communities we serve and a rigorous culture of high aspirations and strong academic performance, our focus is on creating opportunities that are transformational, improving the life chances of all our young people. We want to empower your school to do the same, providing support, resources and knowledge.
Across all our academies, we promote aspiration, including for children facing disadvantages and children with SEND, operating with fair access. This is aided by effective central leadership teams, strong school leadership, teaching, and evidence-based curriculum design and implementation. We work quickly to improve standards within our schools, aiding previously under performing schools, and maintaining strongly performing schools.
2. Retain your identity
We want our schools and colleges to be true to themselves. Although clearly associated with the Trust, each retains their own unique identity. This is because we firmly believe that every school and college is different and so, although supported by the Trust, they retain the unique feel that students, parents and staff know and love. We are a community of schools, staff and students that promotes and celebrates our diversity. Through diversity and inclusion, we can promote wider perspectives, new ways of thinking and most importantly, innovate. We serve a diverse community of varying backgrounds, cultures, and experiences; it is important that we reflect this.
3. A voice in the PLT community
We do not have grand expansion plans; we are keen to grow, but only at the right time and with schools and colleges that share our outlook on and approach to education. As such, your voice will always be heard as part of PLT, you will be a collaborator and a valued member of our Trust, at all levels. With collaboration at the heart of everything we do, this is the case now and it always will be. Your voice and say will be just as important as when you joined us, no matter the size of our Trust.
4. Covering all the bases
Between our schools and colleges, the Trust encompasses all age ranges, from early years to 18. We believe that having the opportunity to work with young people at all ages and stages of their education provides some opportunities not available elsewhere to shape and develop education to the benefit of students' futures. Working across the phases also brings a range of benefits for staff, from unique CPD opportunities through to career progression. We have experience and knowledge at all levels and welcome you to join our community of multi-phase academies, offering your unique perspective and input.
5. Fantastic facilities
From the famous clock tower and amazing outdoor areas at Werneth Primary and the enviable sports facilities at Hathershaw College, to the superb Regional Science Centre and Duncan Lawton Building at OSFC, PLT's presence can be found across Oldham's landscape. As a Trust, we prioritise access for members to our sector-leading resources and facilities.
We have invested heavily in resources to offer the best learning and working environment, empowering our academies, students and staff to deliver exceptional results.
6. Leaders in technology
Thanks to our commitment to utilising technology to enhance teaching and learning, in June 2020 we were selected as one of just 43 providers nationally to lead the EdTech Demonstrator Programme. This was developed by the DfE to ensure schools and colleges across England could access free, expert advice on educational technology. Although the national EdTech Demonstrator programme has now ended, we have a team of staff with expertise in this area, who can support your school in using technology to support learning and reduce workload.
We have innovated with the Google Education platform at OSFC, which is proud to be the first sixth form college in the North of England to be recognised with the prestigious Google Reference College status, and one of only three sixth form colleges in the UK. 'Google Reference status' is awarded for the outstanding use of technology to drive positive learning outcomes and recognises the College's use of G Suite for Education in innovative ways. This new status means that OSFC will act as a reference point for other education providers, sharing best practice and offering advice and guidance.
7. Evidence-led school improvement
As a Research School, we are an accredited member of the EEF's Research Schools Network, which leads the way in the use of evidence-based practice. Through the network we have access to innovative thinking in a way that bridges the gap between theory and the classroom. We have a range of Specialist Leaders in Education and Evidence Leads in Education via the Research School who can provide support, and we also buy into an external improvement partner service via 811, who provide termly school improvement visits and ad hoe reviews as appropriate. They also support Headteacher/Principal professional reviews.
The process for applying to become a Research School was rightly very rigorous, involving an application, presentation, interview, lesson visits and discussions with teaching staff across the college. We are naturally delighted to have been successful and look forward to sharing the benefits of collaboration across the Research School Network with you.
8. Experts in teaching and learning development
Based on our extensive expertise we formed the Advantage Teaching School, which provided highly regarded professional development and school to school support to hundreds of staff both locally and nationally. Our success in this area also led to our Trust becoming a key partner in the East Manchester Teaching School Hub, with the creation of the new model of Hubs coming into effect from 2021
Louise Astbury, our Trust Professional Development Director, leads across the Trust on the full range of professional development support, aligned to individual school/college improvement plans. She provides or sources bespoke support and training aligned to each school or college's plans, ensuring staff have access to evidence-informed best practice and all the benefits associated with our work through the Research School, Teaching School Hub, Science Learning Partnership and EdTech Demonstrator.
As Oldham moves from being an Opportunity Area to a Priority Education Investment Area, we are delighted that we can support our schools and community in the next stage of their educational development. We are looking forward
9. Gold standard central services package
The following central support services are in place across the Trust:
Estates and Health & Safety: including software to log issues and report on H&S, a Trust approach to ensuring compliance and a cross-site team approach to providing site cover if needed.
IT Services: technician support from the Trust central team and scope for joint procurement.
Human Resources and Payroll: our qualified specialist HR team provides responsive support, covering recruitment and contracts, absence management, support with staffing issues, etc.
Finance: strong and effective financial management, prioritising the use of resources, including the estate, ensures the delivery of the best educational experience to our students. A centralised system with orders, invoices and month end procedures handled by the central team. Budgets continue to operate at school/college level, but with the advantages of scope for central procurement and centralisation of some costs.
Cleaning: we have centralised our cleaning contract, to provide savings on cost and some flexibility in delivery.
Catering: a central catering contract to provide for events and daily food services.
Marketing & Design: we have a Trust Marketing Manager to provide support with internal and external communications and promotion, including press coverage, materials for prospective pupils' parents, social media support and so on. As part of the Marketing team, we have website support and a design/reprographics officer who can produce a range of resources in-house. We also have access to external contract, providing expertise in this area as needed.
Governance: we have a full time Lead Governance Professional who is on hand to provide support, advice and guidance on all aspects of governance. Our team of clerks provide support to LGB meetings and assist with election processes and inducting newly appointed governors. Both governors and Trustees have access to a comprehensive training and development programme and a wide range of resources, including our Trust Governor Handbook. They also have membership to The National Governance Association, Confederation of School Trusts and National College.