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SPRING 2019 | ISSUE 01



Top marks for Star


Pupil leadership in action



The next generation of cyber security experts

Meet our Head of Safeguarding


WELCOME TO STARLIGHT I wish you a very warm welcome to the first issue of Starlight, our new magazine for parents, governors and friends of the Star community. We have introduced Starlight to keep you informed about the latest news from Star Academies. Star runs a growing network of primary and secondary schools across the country. We currently operate 24 schools in five clusters - Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, the Midlands and London - and have plans to open more schools over the coming months and years. Star has a talented and dedicated team of staff, trustees and governors who are committed to delivering the very best education to young people in our schools. All our efforts are geared towards improving the life chances of the young people we teach and helping them succeed at the highest levels of education, employment and the professions. The support received by each school from our parents, partners and the local community plays a big part in achieving successful outcomes for our pupils, so we thank you for your continued support. Together we are transforming lives and making sure we deliver the very best we can for each and every one of our pupils. I am delighted to be able to share news of some of our key achievements, innovative initiatives and local community news through this termly magazine. I hope that it keeps you informed about how we are delivering our vision of nurturing today’s young people and inspiring tomorrow’s leaders.

(MUFTI) HAMID PATEL CBE Chief Executive, Star Academies



Star tops the tables

The magic of books



Star leaders of the future

Skating to success




Trust-wide news and updates


Leadership specialism in action


Stories from across Star schools


Interview with Susan Elliott, Head of Safeguarding

Future cyberists


Follow @StarAcademies on Twitter for news and updates from across the Star community. Meet our Head of Safeguarding


Star Academies named highest performing multi-academy trust in England In January 2019, the Department for Education published the performance tables of all multi-academy trusts in England based on the performance in secondary schools in summer 2018. Based on the headline measure for secondary schools, ‘Progress 8’, Star Academies achieved the highest score of any trust in England. ‘Progress 8’ is the government’s main performance measure and reflects the value that schools add to the progress of pupils compared to their peers of similar prior ability across the country. Our score of +1.42 means that pupils in the schools that contributed to this measure achieved, on average, nearly one


and a half GCSE grades higher in all their subjects than their peers of similar prior ability across the country. The tables report on schools that have been with Star for three years or more. This is an exceptional testament to the tireless work of our pupils, parents, staff and governors to achieve such impressive results. The dedication and efforts of all those involved are rightly recognised.


Secondary schools shine in national league tables The Department for Education’s national performance tables also reported the results of individual secondary schools. Star’s success in achieving the highest Progress 8 score in the country was a result of the outstanding achievements of our pupils during Key Stage 4. In the context of around 3,400 secondary schools in England, the achievements by individual Star schools are all the more impressive. Five Star secondary schools ranked in the top 70 of all schools in England with four Star schools in the top 12. 

Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School (TIGHS) in Blackburn was the top-performing secondary school in England for the third year running with a Progress 8 score of +1.90. 

Eden Girls’ School, Coventry, with its first set of results, placed 6th in England with a score of +1.36. 


Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School (TIBHS) in Blackburn placed 8th with a score of +1.35. 

Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest, with its first set of results placed 12th with a score of +1.29. 

Eden Boys’ School, Bolton, also with its first set of results, placed 70th with a score of +0.96. In addition to pupils achieving exceptional progress from their starting points, their examination results (attainment) are also very impressive. Pupils in our sponsored academies also demonstrated good progress overall, with the percentage of pupils achieving a pass of at least grade 4 in English and mathematics increasing at Highfield Leadership Academy, Bay Leadership Academy and Tong Leadership Academy. These achievements provide a strong platform for further success of year groups yet to take their examinations and reflect the wider ambitions of all our schools to transform the life chances of the pupils and communities we have the privilege to serve.




Spreading festive cheer Pupils demonstrated extraordinary enthusiasm and incredible generosity during our Annual Festive Winter Gift Programme, which saw all Star schools organise and participate in a range of charitable and volunteering opportunities to support the most vulnerable people in our communities. The annual programme offers our pupils a valuable learning opportunity, enabling them to experience first-hand the positive impact of helping those less fortunate and developing valuable leadership and planning skills, whilst benefitting local people and communities. Our schools supported more than 50 charities and community groups across the country, as well as spreading festive cheer to hospital patients and emergency service workers. The activities included: Community parties in schools and nursing homes, offering food, fun and entertainment. 

Singing to patients at local hospitals, hospices and care homes. 

A Santa dash to raise funds for St John’s Hospice in Lancaster. 

Donating hampers filled with food, toiletries, toys and gifts for charities including Blackburn Nightsafe, the Salvation Army, Bradford Nightstop, Thames Hospice, Whipps Cross Hospital, Royal Blackburn Hospital, Age Concern, St Basils homeless charity, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Royal Preston Hospital, amongst others. Donating winter clothing, including over 400 coats, to Narthex Sparkhill and Wrap Up Lancashire, and raising money for charity by wearing festive jumpers.

CELEBRATING OUR STARS Recognising and celebrating the achievements of our pupils and staff is fundamental to building a strong Star community. A new recognition scheme, Star Letters, has recently been launched to shine a spotlight on these outstanding achievements. The scheme recognises those who have exemplified our STAR values (Service, Teamwork, Ambition and Respect). The initiative will enable staff to nominate pupils and colleagues for a Star Letter – a personal letter of congratulations from the Trust’s Chief Executive.

Follow @StarAcademies on Twitter to read more about the amazing accomplishments of our pupils and staff. STARLIGHT

Spending a night sleeping outside as a way to experience, empathise with and raise money for homelessness in Birmingham. 

Star aims to foster in all pupils a desire for them to take a personal interest in helping those less fortunate than themselves. We are extremely proud of pupils’ commitment to the Festive Winter Gift Programme and the significant difference they have made during what can be a difficult and lonely time of year for many. Star wishes to express our thanks to all of our pupils, parents and staff for supporting this year’s Festive Winter Gift Programme and enabling us to reach so many worthy causes.


Premier primaries celebrate outstanding results Star’s primary schools are also flying high in the national Key Stage 2 performance tables for 2017/18. The tables are based on the performance of pupils in each school in their end-of-primary national curriculum tests, known as SATs. At Thornbury Primary Leadership Academy and Barkerend Primary Leadership Academy, both in Bradford, and The Olive School, Blackburn, 77% of pupils achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined), placing the schools in the top 25% of primary schools in England.



Thornbury and Barkerend were also in the top 1% of schools nationally for progress in maths and the top 3% for progress in reading. The Olive School, Blackburn and The Olive School, Preston were amongst an elite group of primary schools where 100% of pupils reached or exceeded the pass mark in their Year 1 phonics screening tests.

Star Pupil Council gives students a voice Star values feedback from pupils and is committed to providing opportunities for pupils to express their views. The Trust has recently introduced a new forum for pupils to provide insight and feedback to Star – the Star Pupil Council. The first meetings took place in February, with two pupils from each of our schools joining their counterparts in other primary and secondary schools. Pupils discussed a wide range of topics - from the curriculum and behaviour to careers advice and sport - as well as having the opportunity to ask members of Star’s Senior Leadership Team about the organisation. Pupils told us they would like more opportunities to collaborate and compete with pupils from other Star schools, such as in sports, arts or academic competitions.

They also shared their views on key aspects of school life, such as school meals, uniforms and extra-curricular activities. In response to the Council’s feedback, Star will work with schools to implement a calendar of leadership activities for 2019-20 to create more opportunities to bring our schools together. We look forward to the next meetings in June and working with the Star Pupil Council to continue to enhance our pupils’ education and the school experience.

Committed to paying a Living Wage Star Academies is now an accredited Living Wage Employer. This means that all Star employees receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.75 (£10.20 in London), which is significantly higher than the government’s minimum wage. Around 15% of our 1,850 employees have benefited from a pay rise as a result of our commitment to the Living Wage.




S TA R S O F T H E F U T U R E Leadership specialism in practice at Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest

A Star education is not only about academic excellence, it also aims to equip pupils to become the leaders of tomorrow through a focus on leadership. All of our schools offer a rich and diverse leadership programme that grows character and inspires charitable and social action.

The drive to inspire tomorrow’s leaders is demonstrated by a broad range of leadership opportunities at Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest, where the Star leadership specialism and our R-18 Framework is woven into the fabric of a rich, vibrant curriculum. School leaders seek relentlessly to capitalise on pupils’ skills, talents and interests in order to build their confidence to shape their own futures. As Principal Shahina Ahmad states: “Eden Girls’ School seeks to provide the foundation for nurturing strong women of tomorrow who are appropriately equipped with confidence, leadership skills, humility, tenacity and strong selfbelief.” Democracy and service are an essential part of the school’s life. A well-informed elected Pupil Council supports the Principal and her team by collecting feedback and debating ideas put forward


by the pupil body. Prefects are role model leaders, while the inspirational school magazine The Edonian is produced to a professional standard by a team of elected pupils. The quality of writing and reflection in the magazine is superb and shows pupils’ ability to adapt their communication style for different audiences and purposes. These leadership elements develop cohesion within the school, celebrate belonging and underpin a vast range of activities that empower girls as ambitious, respectful citizens and leaders. An outward-facing approach characterises the school’s success in fostering leadership through establishing positive relationships with prestigious universities, employers and charitable organisations. These enable our girls to engage in exciting challenges while developing interpersonal, problemsolving and collaborative skills. The school holds a programme of

leadership days throughout the year, comprising activities that broaden pupils’ horizons and embed the 5Cs of Communication, Collaboration, Cooperation, Competition and Creativity. Leadership days focus on application and enquiry. They support girls’ future employability, complementing their study for excellent academic qualifications with relevant ‘soft’ skills that are essential to career progression. For example, Year 7 pupils enjoyed a team-building outdoor pursuits day, while older pupils have pitched creative designs to business leaders in the style of TV programme Dragons’ Den. In partnership with businesses, the school prepares girls to succeed in jobs that have not yet been invented. The potential of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects to foster the creativity and independent thinking that will equip them as flexible solution-focused citizens has been

STAR SPOTLIGHT grasped through a fascinating range of opportunities. Researchers from centres of academic excellence including UCL and Cambridge University have worked with pupils to bring cutting-edge science to life in the classroom and explore topics such as bacterial genomics, an important aspect of the global fight against infectious disease. Some gifted pupil scientists are participating in a two-year STEM Potential programme at Imperial College London which supports progression pathways in science education. Additionally, the school was selected to pilot the Student Doctor Scheme with King’s College London. This programme places medical students in school to offer support, observe and teach lessons on health-related topics and give aspiration-raising talks. Pupils have also sampled 3D learning resources for the Science Museum’s learning team and provided feedback for their future development. Careers guidance has a high profile. Businesses have given their time generously to provide advice and mock

and awards that enrich girls’ experience and develop their thinking power: the BP STEM Challenge, Engineers Award, Maths Miniatures and the Edge Hill Maths Challenge are just some of their current projects. Aside from STEM, the school is a regular and successful participant in the national Jack Petchey “Speak Out” challenge. Civic leadership, embracing local partners, is valued just as highly. Pupils recently worked with other local schools to commemorate World War One, a project that received positive national media attention. They have discussed their concerns about youth crime with local politicians and community leaders as part of the Citizenship UK initiative to shape positive change. Girls have also performed poetry, public speaking and comedy for dignitaries and public officials. Pupils’ moral leadership is demonstrated in their success in charitable fundraising, including running a foodbank, making hampers for the homeless and lonely,

“EDEN GIRLS’ SCHOOL SEEKS TO PROVIDE THE FOUNDATION FOR NURTURING STRONG WOMEN OF TOMORROW WHO ARE APPROPRIATELY EQUIPPED WITH CONFIDENCE, LEADERSHIP SKILLS, HUMILITY, TENACITY AND STRONG SELF-BELIEF.” interviews. Eden Girls are past winners of the Mosaic challenge - a national competition requiring competitors to develop high quality business simulation. The school is an active participant in the Brilliant Club – an award-winning university access charity that works with schools and universities across Britain and seeks to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities. PhD students from Oxford University have shared their academic expertise with Eden Girls. The school seeks out relevant, highstatus national programmes, challenges

and providing toys for hospitalised children. Pupils’ artwork has been displayed by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. The school has joined Student SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) along with schools of other faith foundations. Year 8 pupils have initiated a link with a local Catholic school to deepen their knowledge and understanding of different beliefs. Some pupils are actively engaged in the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme while others are training as sports leaders. The school’s latest leadership initiative is the ‘Democracy Ambassadors’ programme through which Year 9 pupils receive training and then have to educate

“I’VE BEEN GRANTED OPPORTUNITIES TO WORK WITH PROFESSIONALS FROM LEADING FIRMS SUCH AS MORGAN STANLEY AND ERNST & YOUNG, AND HAD THE GUIDANCE TO IMPROVE MY CONFIDENCE IN SPEAKING TO AUDIENCES OF OVER 500.” as many other students as possible on the importance of democracy and participation in politics. Eden has been chosen as a centre of good practice for this work and members of the Cabinet will be visiting to see the programme in action and pupils have been invited to attend a consultation and meeting at the Cabinet Office. This development is already having a positive impact according to 14-year old pupil Mariam Abu-el Haj: “Being a Democracy Ambassador has helped me learn more about democracy, rights and responsibilities as a British Citizen. It has also taught me the importance of voting and contributing to promote politics in a diverse and fun way. I have become a confident individual who is able to articulate the importance of political participation to my fellow peers.” The full impact of the school’s multifaceted approach is captured by the reflection of the current head girl, 16-year old Badriyah Islam: “I’ve been granted opportunities to work with professionals from leading firms such as Morgan Stanley and Ernst & Young, and had the guidance to improve my confidence in speaking to audiences of over 500. The school has helped me in building my moral characteristics by allowing me to take part in community service, making an active change in the world around me. I feel prepared to become a strong leader as the school has empowered me to do so.”




Taking the first step on the career ladder Pupils at Highfield Leadership Academy have recently taken part in a series of personal and leadership development workshops to help them prepare for the next step in their education and careers. The activities culminated in a ‘World of Work Day,’ where seven of the school’s former pupils returned to the classroom for the day to share their experiences of education, training and employment. The event was spearheaded by the Future First charity, which aims to promote social mobility by connecting current pupils with successful alumni who have gone on to excel in their respective fields. Parents and pupils quizzed Highfield’s former pupils about their career journeys, which covered a breadth of roles including law, transport, performing arts, recruitment and the police force. The pupils learnt about what each of these careers entails, the skills required to be successful and the pathways the former pupils took to reach their current positions.


Year 7 pupil, Phoebe Sinclair, said: “As well as learning about different jobs and careers, it was really interesting listening to what former pupils of our school did after they left. It certainly gave me a lot to think about for my future.” National charity Young Enterprise also delivered a session on business skills to equip pupils with the confidence, knowledge and skills to succeed in the workplace. Year 10 pupils took part in their own ‘The Apprentice’style challenge, adopting the role of business leaders to learn some of the skills needed to run a successful business, including negotiation skills, sales, communication, manufacturing and business strategy. Participants each took on a specific role and spent the morning working as part of a team to negotiate with each other to trade beads. They then up-cycled the beads into jewellery and trinkets to try to sell at a profit. The school’s Career Lead, John Hooper, said: “These were great events for engaging pupils to think about their future and to continue to plan for life after school. Both events have been an excellent opportunity for our pupils to develop skills to help them when they leave school. It was great to see our pupils excel in different roles, such as selling.”

SAFER INTERNET DAY Pupils across Star schools learned how to keep themselves safe online during Safer Internet Day 2019, which promotes the safe, responsible and positive use of the internet and digital technology. The theme for this year’s Safer Internet Day was “Together for a better internet” and more than 2,100 organisations and schools across the UK got involved to help inspire a national conversation about using technology respectfully and responsibly. Star published online safety guidance for pupils and parents on school websites and pupils marked the day with workshops, guest speakers and classroom activities. At Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest, pupils created a series of video messages with internet safety tips, which were shared on the school’s Twitter page. At The Olive School, Blackburn, police officers from Lancashire Constabulary gave pupils tips on how to safeguard themselves online. Police officers also visited High Crags Primary Leadership


Academy in Shipley to deliver a series of workshops for Year 5 and 6 pupils on cyber-bullying, as well as an event for parents about supporting their children to stay safe online. Helen Ray, Principal of High Crags Primary Leadership Academy, said: “As a school we support Safer Internet Day and use it as an opportunity to assist our pupils and their parents and carers to understand and minimise any risks in order to safeguard the children.”


The magic of books Pupils and teachers alike dressed up as their favourite characters from well-known tales, and shared stories they love as part of this year’s World Book Day celebrations. Held annually on the first Thursday in March in the UK, World Book Day is a global celebration of storytelling and reading. From Mary Poppins to Gangsta Granny, our pupils and staff came together to explore the magic of books and pleasures of reading.

Dancer lands place in dream production A talented dancer, Brandon Hunter from Bay Leadership Academy in Morecambe, has beaten more than a thousand young hopefuls from around the UK to be cast in Sir Matthew Bourne’s new adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. The production runs from 13th May-12th October and will see Brandon performing in prestigious venues throughout the UK. Sir Matthew is widely regarded as one of the country’s most successful choreographers, having won the Laurence Olivier Award, a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award. He was knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours list for services to dance and is now looking to give talented young performers the opportunity to shine in his new production. Brandon has been dancing since he was five years old and specialises in a range of disciplines, including contemporary, jazz, musical theatre, tap, ballet and hip-hop. He now trains at the Lowry Theatre’s Centre for Advanced Training in Salford and the McClaren Dance Company in Rawtenstall. Brandon is taking A-Levels in Geography, History and Sport at Bay, and will be juggling

rehearsals and revising for his exams ahead of making his stage debut. Brandon’s ambitions are to join a contemporary dance group, to star in a West End musical and to tour the world performing. He would like to become a dance examiner and adjudicator and to eventually run his own dancing school. Bay pupil Brandon said: “This is an opportunity of a lifetime to dance with a prestigious dance company at the top of its game. Matthew Bourne has been an inspiration to me since the day I started dancing and now to be performing in his company is amazing and I am blessed. It’s a platform for me to move up in my dance career, to develop and learn.”




SCHOOLS MARK HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY Thousands of pupils across Star schools took part in lessons and assemblies to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, remembering the victims of genocide around the world. Attending community events, writing to Holocaust survivors and hearing from those who have experienced the devastating effects of genocide, pupils learnt about how the actions of ruthless dictators have blighted world history.

Many schools welcomed guest speakers who talked to pupils about their firsthand experience of genocide:

Nigerian-born poet who warns against turning a blind eye to the persecution of others.

Highfield Leadership Academy focused on the theme ‘Torn from Home’ across many subjects - including English, History and PSHE - to deepen their understanding of genocide. Pupils at the Blackpool school led assemblies to reflect on and share their learning on the topic with fellow pupils. They also made paper chains with messages stating their personal commitment to working together to stop prejudice, discrimination and genocide. The paper chains will be taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau to be placed on the British memorial during a school visit to the concentration camp later this year.

Eden Girls’ School, Coventry welcomed Reverend John Fieldsend, one of 669 children rescued from Czechoslovakia before World War Two. 

Uri Winterstein shared his personal story with pupils at Eden Girls’ School, Slough. Uri was given up by his parents at just one month old to prevent him from being sent to a concentration camp with them.

Historian Jahan Mahmood recounted the story of Albanian and Arab Muslims, who saved the lives of hundreds of Jews, to pupils at Barkerend Primary Leadership Academy. 

Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE visited The Olive School, Hackney to speak to pupils about the Holocaust. The children also joined together with neighbouring school Simon Marks Jewish Primary to sing a commemorative song in the council chambers at Hackney Town Hall.

Several schools also took part in the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s Postcard Project, where pupils learnt about the experiences of Holocaust survivors and then wrote personalised messages to survivors on postcards. Small Heath Leadership Academy in Birmingham incorporated the postcard project into assemblies by sharing real-life Holocaust stories. Pupils also studied the poem ‘Not My Business’ by Niyi Osundare, a


At Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest, pupils and staff attended the government’s National Memorial Service, held in Westminster on Sunday 27 January. The prestigious service was attended by public figures, including senior politicians and religious leaders, as well as survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. (Mufti) Hamid Patel, Chief Executive of Star Academies, said: “2019 marks the 80th anniversary of the start of World War Two. This serves as a poignant reminder that we all have an important role to play in continuing to nurture and facilitate discussion, friendship and understanding between people of all backgrounds, beliefs and cultures.”


Sowing seeds of success Pupils at Laisterdyke Leadership Academy in Bradford have been reaping the rewards of a successful gardening project. Pupils from all year groups have participated in the school’s latest learning and leadership initiative, which includes activities ranging from planting to painting and fruit picking to litter picking. Around 50 pupils have given up their own time at lunchbreaks and after school to clear an overgrown area of the school grounds to create a fruit and vegetable patch. The team of avid gardeners has built raised beds from old pallets where they have planted strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries. In recycled planters made from old car tyres, pupils are growing onions and potatoes. Pupils are already benefitting from the fresh homegrown produce in their school meals.

taking part in community activities, such as litter picking, to improve the environment in and around the school.


Working alongside the gardeners, pupils from Years 8 and 10 have painted a large mural in the garden to create a piece of eye-catching artwork. Meanwhile, Year 7 pupils have been

As well as learning about ecology, gardening and caring for the environment, by working as part of a team, pupils have learnt leadership skills and how to coach and motivate their teammates.

Haseeb Hussain, from Year 10, said: “This project has been a great chance to learn new skills. We have learnt so much about gardening and landscaping, but also communication skills and teamwork. My favourite parts were creating the mural and the planting – and of course the harvesting!”




HANNAH SKATES TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS Tong Leadership Academy pupil Hannah Eastwood skated at the prestigious British Synchronised Skating Championships, just a year after putting on her first pair of ice skates. Hannah took up ice skating after attending a disco dancing session on the rink at Bradford Ice Arena and enjoyed it so much she began weekly lessons. Hannah progressed quickly through official assessments and her natural talent and dedication saw her being asked to join Team Emerald, a synchronised skating troupe for 10 to 16 year old girls. Hannah is focussed on juggling her upcoming GCSE exams with skating training, which she says helps her to relax. She said “I’m very nervous about competing, but I am really

Thornbury pupils blow their own trumpets Thornbury Primary Leadership Academy started the year on a high note after receiving a delivery of brass instruments, which was music to the ears of pupils. Year 5 children at the school now have access to their own trumpet or cornet and will receive weekly music lessons from a specialist tutor, thanks to a grant of £18,000 from the Essential Life Skills Fund.

looking forward to it. I just love the feeling of freedom that you get from being on the ice.” Tong Principal, Mr Styles, said: “We are all incredibly proud of Hannah. She has shown tremendous commitment and maturity by managing both her new-found passion for ice skating and her schoolwork. We encourage all our pupils to show excellence - not just in their education, but also in their passions - to follow their dreams outside of school.”

Campaigning results in changes to cancer care A pupil at Bay Leadership Academy in Morecambe has been campaigning to implement change to improve access to mental health support for young people with cancer. Year 9 pupil Joss Irving volunteers for local charity Cancercare, which works with families affected by cancer and other potentially life-limiting conditions in North Lancashire and South Cumbria. As part of the charity’s Refresh Youth Project, Joss has been campaigning to change the laws surrounding mental health. Joss believes a change in the law surrounding adolescent mental health support is needed, particularly for young people with cancer. Young people under 16 currently need the consent of a parent or guardian to access counselling, which she feels is a barrier preventing some young people from getting the help they need. Joss’ work as part of the Refresh Project has already resulted in Cancercare introducing new competency tests to assess if young people can have counselling without needing parental consent. She now hopes it will result in changes nationally.


Industry leaders inspire TIGHS’ pupils Year 13 pupils at Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School (TIGHS) benefited from the insight and expertise of influential female leaders during their annual Student Leadership Conference. With the overarching theme of civic, moral and performance leadership, the conference brought together pupils with high-flying female professionals from sectors such as business, civic service, exploration and technology. The conference aimed to boost pupils’ career prospects by helping them to transition from sixth form into the world of further education and employment. Through several workshops, pupils were helped to refine their career goals, address issues such as assertiveness, and develop their public speaking skills. Keynote speaker, Christine Hodgeson, Chairman at Capgemini UK, inspired the girls by sharing her career journey and highlighting the leadership skills that have helped her to become an influential business leader. In her role as Chair of the Careers and Enterprise Company, Christine is committed to preparing and inspiring young people for the world of work after receiving limited advice when she was at school.

The event programme was full of inspirational speakers, including Sharon Wills, Human Resources Director at Manchester Airport Group, and Maya Dibley, Lancashire County Council’s lead officer for industrial innovation and digital technology, who both delivered rousing speeches to inspire pupils to become the leaders of tomorrow. A number of representatives from universities also attended the event to speak to the pupils about their next steps in education and their career paths. Year 13 pupil, Aaisha I Patel, said: “It was inspiring to meet so many women who have risen to the top of their professions and who are also giving back to their communities and encouraging young women to follow in their wake. It’s

daunting to think my time at school is almost over, but I feel really positive about what I can achieve if I continue to work hard at university to achieve my goals.”

Amina Modan, Assistant Principal at TIGHS, said: “As a leadership specialism school, we aim to motivate our pupils to become tomorrow’s leaders. By introducing pupils to strong and successful women and hearing their first-hand experiences, we have empowered our pupils and showed them that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to. The conference also emphasised the wealth of careers and study pathways in which excellent leadership skills are of vital importance.”

Honouring the victims of the New Zealand terror attack On 15 March 2019, Muslims living in Christchurch, New Zealand came together at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre for Friday prayers. While they were united in quiet reflection, peace and reverence, their amity was shattered by an appalling act of terrorism. With no warning and no time to escape, the worshipers were systematically targeted by a lone gunman – someone who had never met them and knew nothing about them. 50 people lost their lives because of one person’s hatred and ignorance. The youngest victim, Mucaad Ibrahim, was just 3 years old. It was the worst terror attack in New Zealand’s history and few people can begin to imagine the shock and the grief felt by the victims’ families and friends. Pupils and staff at Star have been keen to show their support and do what they can to help the Christchurch community begin the slow process of healing – something that will take solidarity, cohesion, trust and time. Star has always sought to facilitate friendship and understanding between people of all backgrounds, beliefs and cultures and incidents like this serve to illustrate why it is vitally important to do so.

The Trust’s faith and non-faith schools held a minute’s silence to commemorate the victims of the attack, and pupils used assemblies and form time to discuss - and try to come to terms with – the notion that someone could commit such a senseless act of violence and target innocent people purely because of their religion. While the injustice of this heinous attack has been felt keenly by everyone across the Star community, this is particularly true of those in our Muslim faith schools, where pupils, staff and families came together to launch a charity appeal in honour of the victims. Demonstrating our Star values of Service, Teamwork, Ambition and Respect, our Eden and Olive schools raised a staggering £25,000 in less than a week. The proceeds will be used to build a new

Mosque in West Bengal, India, which will be named Al Noor mosque in honour of the Al Noor mosque targeted during the attack. Our pupils wanted to show that, when confronted with the fear and destruction of terrorism, we will re-build and come back stronger. The money raised by our schools will also be used to install 50 water hand pumps in memory of the 50 victims who died during the attack. While nothing will ever help us to reconcile the unconscionable loss of lives in New Zealand, we hope that we can help to save others by giving people in povertystricken communities access to fresh, clean water. Since the publication of this Issue, a devastating terror attack killed over 200 people in Sri Lanka. Once again our schools held assemblies and took part in vigils to commemorate the victims of the attack. Our world can sometimes be a frightening place to live in but, through nurturing today’s young people and inspiring tomorrow’s leaders, we hope all of our pupils will live by the philosophy that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.




CAREER CHOICES IN CYBER SECURITY Pupils at Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School (TIGHS) and Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest could be amongst the next generation of cyber security experts after taking part in initiatives organised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). The NCSC is the UK’s independent authority on cyber security and works closely with the government, businesses and the wider public sector to promote online safety. The organisation is keen to encourage more girls to become involved in computing – a profession where women are vastly under-represented - and has arranged courses and competitions to help them develop the skills they need to pursue a career in cyber security. As part of the initiative, Year 8 pupils at TIGHS in Blackburn completed an introductory one-day CyberFirst Adventurers course, where they were introduced to a number of exciting jobs that involve the use of technology in the workplace. Year 10 pupils, meanwhile, relished the opportunity to take part in a specialist 5-day CyberFutures course at the University of Central Lancashire, where they learnt about the motives for cyber-attacks, developed their knowledge and understanding of networks, and were taught how to prevent threats to devices, apps and software.

Mrs Ali, Assistant Principal of TIGHS, said: “We have exceptionally talented girls who can help make our country the safest place to live and do business online. We want to get our pupils excited about computing from a young age.” Pupils at Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest have also been honing their cyber security skills and a team of Year 8 pupils enjoyed success in the CyberFirst Girls’ Competition, completing a series of online challenges that focussed on networking, logic and coding, cyber security and cryptography. The girls finished in the top 50 out of 840 schools nationwide and the competition clearly piqued their interest in problem solving and online safety.



Year 8 pupil Alisha Nasir said: “I’ve never really thought about a career in cyber security, but after learning about the opportunities that are available out there, I am keen to find out more.”

Following the success of these initiatives, Star is keen to establish an ongoing partnership with the NCSC to enable other Star schools to benefit from their cyber security programmes.


Keeping your children safe SUSAN ELLIOTT, HEAD OF SAFEGUARDING In our first Star People feature, we talk to Susan Elliot who is responsible for safeguarding across all of our schools. Susan has worked in local authority education roles for more than 30 years and is passionate about keeping children safe and secure, and at the centre of all that we do. Susan leads a team of safeguarding professionals that work alongside our schools’ designated safeguarding staff and the senior team to ensure our children are safe and secure each day.

What do you enjoy most about working at Star? I’ve never worked for an organisation with such strong values and whose values (Service, Teamwork, Ambition and Respect) closely reflect my own. It’s wonderful to see the values demonstrated by my colleagues and pupils everyday in our schools and offices. The most rewarding thing about my job is having the opportunity to make a positive difference to our pupils’ lives.

What is safeguarding? Everybody has the right to be safe, irrelevant of who they are or what their circumstances are. For Star, safeguarding is about preventing and protecting children and young people from abuse, harm and neglect. In addition to ensuring that our pupils receive a broad and balanced curriculum, we support them to develop an understanding around how to keep themselves safe, build their resilience to issues and keep themselves both physically and mentally healthy. Safeguarding is also about ensuring that our young people have high levels

of attendance at school, that behaviour is good and that they do not feel bullied or disrespected. It’s also important that their voice is heard. At Star, we put a lot of emphasis on supporting individuals and their families when incidents or issues arise.

What does Star do to keep pupils safe? Every organisation that has any contact with children and their families has a role to play in safeguarding. School staff are particularly important as they are in a position to identify concerns early and provide help for children, to prevent concerns from escalating. We are committed to providing safe, caring and welcoming environments where every child is able to reach their full potential free from harm, abuse and discrimination. We have a safeguarding management system in place to ensure that we respond quickly as soon as we identify a risk. All our staff and volunteers are trained to identify signs of abuse and neglect, and they will act quickly when they suspect a child is suffering or is likely to suffer harm. We work with our schools to create safe environments for our children and young people by having robust safeguarding practices. Our safeguarding team also works closely with outside agencies

such as social services, police, local safeguarding children boards and healthcare organisations. We also ensure that all adults who work in our schools, including volunteers, do not pose a risk to our children. Everyone who works in our schools is subject to a series of compulsory safety checks. All our staff and volunteers are regularly trained, both in how to identify and respond to concerns, and keep up to date with policy changes and key safeguarding issues. We work in partnership with a number of agencies to gain the appropriate training, development and support for our pupils and to keep our children safe. Our boards and senior leadership teams, both in schools and the Trust, discuss safeguarding at each formal meeting to ensure that our systems and process remain effective and robust.

If someone has a concern who can they speak to? Each of our schools has a lead safeguarding person who is trained to take the lead on any safeguarding concerns. You’ll find the name of this person on the school website or by asking at the school’s reception. If you have a concern, however small, it’s important that you talk to someone about it as soon as possible.




KEY APPOINTMENTS Mr Galbraith has been appointed to the post of Principal at Highfield Leadership Academy in Blackpool. Mr Galbraith was formerly a successful Principal in a large secondary school and has worked with a number of schools across the country as an improvement specialist. He brings strong leadership capacity to Highfield and will continue to drive forward improvements at the school.

The Olive School, Blackburn has also welcomed a new Principal, Mrs Riaz. Mrs Riaz has worked at the school since it opened in 2013, playing an instrumental role in both setting up the school and achieving the school’s ‘outstanding’ Ofsted result. She has provided strong and effective leadership of the Early Years and Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and English throughout the school.

In West Yorkshire, Mrs Ray has been appointed as Principal of High Crags Primary Leadership Academy in Shipley. Mrs Ray was formerly Deputy Principal at Thornbury Primary Leadership Academy, another Star school, and has a wealth of knowledge and strong leadership skills to continue the development of the school.

Mr Fazal has moved from Eden Boys’ School, Bolton to take up the role of Principal of Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Manchester. Mr Fazal was the Principal of the Bolton school from its opening in 2014 and successfully led the school to achieve the school’s ‘outstanding’ Ofsted status in 2017 and an exceptionally strong first set of GCSE results.

Following Mr Fazal’s move, Mrs Gill-Daintith has been appointed as the new Principal of Eden Boys’ School, Bolton. Mrs Gill-Daintith has worked with the school as Deputy Principal from its inception and has played a major role in helping the school to secure its ‘outstanding’ inspection status and its first set of excellent exam results.



ABOUT STAR Our Mission To create outstanding organisations that promote educational excellence, character development and service to communities.

Our Vision Nurturing today’s young people, inspiring tomorrow’s leaders. Our vision is wide ranging. It encompasses aspiration, educational excellence, system leadership, social mobility and cohesion. We aim to: 

Transform the educational achievement of the nation’s young people, schools and academies

Elevate the life chances of young people in areas of social and economic deprivation - from all backgrounds - to help them succeed at the highest levels of education, employment and the professions

Lead a national drive based on rigour and high expectations designed to improve school standards

Provide more choice for parents by offering them the chance to send their children to an inspirational school

Ensure ambition and high aspirations are rewarded through all our schools

Make a demonstrable impact on social mobility and equality in communities that have called out for change for so long

Create a diverse network of schools, ensuring every child has access to a first-rate education that embodies opportunity for all

Our Values





Being a responsible citizen in our community

Working together for excellence

Aspiring to be our best

Treating others as we wish to be treated

 We

are passionate about helping others

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learn from, with and about others

 We

set high expectations of ourselves and others

 We

 We

think about others in every decision we take

 We

 We

 We

 We

strive to go the extra mile in everything we do

 We

 We

look to make things easier for people we have responsibility for

 We

 We

 We

work hard to serve and improve our community

listen to different points of view work well with others to achieve collective goals take responsibility when things go wrong and learn from every mistake share responsibilities and tasks to achieve even better outcomes

have the highest standards of attendance and punctuality  We

take pride in our work

 We

relish tough challenges

 We

strive to improve continuously in every area

are honest and sincere in everything we do are approachable, caring and inclusive  We

make the right choices even when things are hard  We

are considerate, attentive and appreciate others  We

value different beliefs, cultures and approaches



Star Academies | Shadsworth Road, Blackburn BB1 2HT 0330 313 9800 | |