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AUTUMN 2019 | ISSUE 03



Star tops national GCSE tables


Governance in action




Pupils reach for the stars

A guiding star



WELCOME TO STARLIGHT Welcome to the third edition of Starlight, our termly magazine that shines a spotlight on all of the wonderful things our schools are achieving. We are passionate about creating a strong Star community and, by sharing success stories from across the Trust with our stakeholders and providing a snapshot of what we are collectively achieving, I hope we can all feel proud to be part of an organisation that is brimming with talent, creativity and potential. You can find previous editions of Starlight in the ‘News’ section of your school website. I would like to extend a very warm welcome to our three new schools: Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Bradford, Eden Girls’ Leadership Academy, Birmingham and The Olive School, Small Heath, all of which opened in September. A huge amount of work went into getting these schools up and running and I am delighted to see that pupils are already flourishing and thoroughly enjoying the learning and leadership opportunities available to them. I continue to be amazed by how quickly we have grown as an organisation. Star Academies opened its first free school in September 2012 and, just seven years later, we have expanded to become a family of 28 schools, all of which are special and unique in their own right. We are responsible for the personal, social, cultural and academic development of over 15,000 pupils and we have a duty of care to each and every one of them – to help them discover their talents, fulfil their potential and achieve to the best of their capabilities. This is a great responsibility to bear, but it also brings me untold joy to see young people from different backgrounds, beliefs and cultures, who live in diverse towns and cities, united by the Star educational experience. Star’s very existence is evidence that, with hard work and an aspirational mindset, anything is possible and we want all of our pupils to believe that from humble beginnings, they can achieve great things. This year’s GCSE results clearly serve to illustrate this. Out of the 6,489 secondary schools in England, Star’s schools secured the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places nationally for the Government’s headline Progress 8 measure. Five of Star’s schools were in the top 15 for progress nationally, and eight were in the top 10% of schools overall. We hope we can continue to sustain and build on this success.

The start of the new academic year is always a busy time for schools and it also represents an opportunity for Star’s senior leadership team to reflect on what we are doing well, what we can improve, and the things we need to prioritise. This year, we will focus on: •

Raising academic standards, to ensure pupils in all of our schools are making above average progress and achieving the outcomes that they deserve.

• Attendance, as the number of lessons a pupil attends directly correlates with the results they achieve and missing just one day of learning can leave pupils struggling to catch up. •

Culture, as we want all of our schools to set high expectations for pupils, for pupils’ behaviour to be conducive to learning, and for pupils to embrace our STAR values (Service, Teamwork, Ambition and Respect) in all that they do.

Curriculum, as we want to ensure all of our pupils to continue to benefit from a high-powered, knowledge-based academic curriculum that will lay the groundwork for their future success.

With the support of pupils, parents, staff and governors, I have every faith that we can work together to make 201920 Star’s best year yet.

(MUFTI) HAMID PATEL CBE Chief Executive, Star Academies




STAR NEWS Top of the league

All-star conference cast



Outstanding hat-trick

Award winners visit Facebook HQ




Trust-wide news and updates


Effective governance in action


Stories from across Star schools


Interview with our Head of Governance and Corporate Services

Bumper harvest collection


Read past issues of Starlight online at staracademies.org/ publications A guiding star AUTUMN 2019 ISSUE 03



Star’s schools achieve top 3 places in national GCSE performance tables

Star Academies’ schools have once again been ranked amongst the best in England - securing the top 3 places nationally for the Government’s headline performance measure, Progress 8. Five of our schools have been named in the top 15. The interim school league tables, published by the Department for Education in October, show the ‘Progress 8’ scores for each secondary school in England. Progress 8 reflects the value that schools add to the progress of students, by measuring progress across eight key subjects from the age of 11 to the age when they complete their GCSEs. The tables rank England’s 6,489 secondary schools based on pupils’ progress and attainment. Star’s schools secured 1st, 2nd and 3rd place nationally for progress. Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School (TIGHS), in Blackburn, retained first place for the fourth consecutive year, after also claiming the top spot in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The results are all the more exceptional for Eden Boys’ School, Birmingham and Eden Girls’ School, Slough, as they reflect the schools’ first cohorts of pupils completing their GCSEs since the schools were opened by Star Academies in 2015. Eden Boys’ School, Preston also achieved an impressive first set of GCSE results with a Progress 8 score of 0.7. Praising the performance of Star’s schools, Mufti Hamid Patel CBE, Chief Executive of Star Academies, said: “We are delighted to see our schools achieve outstanding results which show not just the attainment but also the exceptional progress our pupils make. For five of our schools to be ranked among the top 15 in the country recognises the impact that our teachers, support staff and parents are having on the life chances of young people.”


TIGHS’ Progress 8 score of 2.17 the highest on record since the measure was introduced - means each of its pupils achieved on average over two GCSE grades higher per subject than pupils who were at a similar level at the age of 11. The Blackburn school is the first school to achieve a Progress 8 score above 2. Eden Boys’ School, Birmingham and Eden Girls’ School, Coventry achieved 2nd and 3rd place respectively with Progress 8 scores of 1.7 and 1.6. Two further free schools established by Star Academies also ranked in the top 15 schools nationally: Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest and Eden Girls’ School, Slough. STARLIGHT

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb MP said: “These results show that pupils and teachers have risen to the challenge of our new, more rigorous GCSEs and are being equipped with the skills that will set them up for future success. This success is testament to the hard work of pupils, parents and teachers who can all feel rightly proud of their achievements.”



Star is launching a series of exciting new reading initiatives to promote the joys and benefits of reading. Pupils will take part in a series of creative and engaging activities that encourage and celebrate a love of reading, whilst enhancing their literacy skills and vocabulary.


he first initiative to be introduced is Star Readers, which sets out a list of recommended and ageappropriate books for all year groups across a number of genres and disciplines. The books have been selected to give pupils windows into other people’s worlds, promote discussion and build reading resilience. The Star Readers Primary Edition and Star Readers Secondary Edition are the first publications in the Star Readers series. The books represent the very best of classic and contemporary children’s literature and will provide pupils with a breadth of challenging and interesting tales. A Star Readers Subject Edition, providing a list of key texts related to core curriculum subjects, will also be released as part of the initiative.

the course of the academic year. Pupils will be given a reading record to monitor their progress and those who complete the challenge will be awarded a Star Readers certificate in recognition of their achievement. To support the roll out of the Star Readers programme, schools will be introducing a number of additional activities to raise the profile of reading, which may include book clubs, community reading programmes, book reviews, visits from authors and story-writing competitions.

All pupils will be given a copy of the Star Readers publications to take home and we hope parents will get involved with the programme by encouraging their child to read as many of the books as possible.

Pupils with a passion for reading will be encouraged to become a reading ambassador. As part of this leadership role, pupils will share book reviews and recommendations with their classes; give feedback to teachers about how the school library could be improved; help with reading events across the school; create displays to promote reading and support community reading programmes.

All pupils will be encouraged to participate in the Star Readers Challenge by reading at least 10 books from the recommended reading list for their year group over

Star Readers is an opportunity for all of us to re-discover our love of reading and we hope everyone across the Star community will get involved.




Star primary schools score ‘outstanding’ hat-trick During the summer term, three of Star’s primary schools were rated as ‘outstanding’ following Ofsted inspections. Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) is the regulatory body tasked with inspecting the quality of education and standards of care provided by every education and skills provider in England. The Olive School, Birmingham, The Olive School, Preston and The Olive School, Bolton - all of which opened in September 2016 –were each rated as outstanding in all areas, which is the highest possible accolade a school can achieve. Staff, pupils and governors at each of the schools were delighted by inspectors’ positive feedback, which highlights some of the many ways the Olive schools are achieving their mission to promote educational excellence, character development and service to communities, as well as the overall effectiveness of the Trust’s primary education model. Mufti Hamid Patel CBE, Chief Executive of Star Academies, commented: “All three schools received incredibly positive inspection reports and are clearly doing a wonderful job of embedding and delivering the hallmarks of the Star education offer, whilst also retaining their own special and unique qualities. It is wonderful to see Ofsted recognise the hard work and dedication of staff, governors, pupils and parents - guided by a highly-effective leadership team - to create such exemplary schools. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making our Olive schools such exceptional learning and leadership environments.”


Star schools rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted


The Olive School, Birmingham The Olive School, Birmingham was praised for its engaging curriculum, excellent standards of teaching and learning, and the exemplary behaviour of pupils. Inspectors reported that “children get off to a flying start in the excellent early years provision” and went on to praise the “rich and exciting curriculum that fires their imaginations, providing memorable experiences that engage and enthuse them.” Ofsted highlighted the exceptional teaching of phonics and reading, and pupils’ positive attitudes to learning. The inspectors observed that “pupils of all ages have high self-esteem and feel valued and respected. They take pride in their work, are diligent and hard working.” Inspectors noted that “learning is always fun because of the highly interesting lessons that teachers plan” and “teachers have detailed subject knowledge of how to promote deep learning and understanding for pupils.” The report was also full of praise for the school’s pupils and their outstanding behaviour: “Pupils’ conduct throughout the day in and around school and in lessons is typically exemplary”. Inspectors felt that pupils “are developing into responsible citizens who know that, even from an early age, they can be influential in their locality.”

“PUPILS GREATLY ENJOY A RICH AND EXCITING CURRICULUM THAT FIRES THEIR IMAGINATIONS.” The effectiveness of the school’s leadership team was also commended by Ofsted, with the report stating that: “The principal leads her team from the moral stance of ensuring that there is equality of opportunity for every child and that there are no barriers to learning, only solutions. She has instilled the belief in her leaders that each child is capable of reaching the highest possible outcomes.”

The Olive School, Preston Inspectors also rated The Olive School, Preston as an outstanding school and commended the school for its “highly effective teaching” and the “exceptional progress” of pupils. Inspectors noted that the school’s senior leadership team “lead with integrity, honesty and determination” and “have been instrumental in making sure that this relatively new school has provided highquality education for all its pupils from the start.” Ofsted inspectors also praised the “rich, challenging and enjoyable curriculum” which they found evident throughout the school. As a result of this, “pupils love school and become very confident, resilient and ambitious learners” who “behave exceptionally well”. The impact of “skilful teaching” was recognised by the inspection team as enabling pupils with SEND and those who speak English as an additional language to make equally strong progress, both personally and academically. The report goes on to highlight the quality of “inspirational” teaching at the school and describe the work pupils are set as “challenging, thought-provoking and highly engaging,” which in turn ensures that “pupils of all abilities are interested and keen to learn.” Inspectors found that the “early years team provides children with an excellent start to school life. Children are happy, settled and excited about learning.”

The school’s STAR values, Service, Teamwork, Ambition and Respect, were highlighted as a strength of the school: “The curriculum provides pupils with plenty of opportunities to develop these values through their respect for others, high expectations and aspirations in their work and their hopes for the future.”





The Olive School, Bolton Ofsted praised the “quality of teaching in all phases of the school and across all subjects” at The Olive School, Bolton and noted that this has resulted in “pupils attaining very high standards.”

“A JOYOUS PLACE WHERE CHILDREN ARE HAPPY.” Inspectors noted that staff demonstrate great commitment, drive and passion for ensuring all pupils are provided with the best possible outcomes. They reported that “all staff are motivated by a powerful desire to provide children from the local community with the best opportunities to enable them to achieve great things in their future lives. This passion ensures all aspects of the school, including teaching and care, are outstanding.” Inspectors observed that pupils thoroughly enjoy their school experience, as well as progressing well academically. The Ofsted report states that pupils “enjoy themselves, but also take great care of each other because they value and respect one another.” The inspection team noted that “teachers make learning fun” and “all pupils, including the most able and those with

SEND, find their work challenging and engaging.” Particular praise was made with regard to the effectiveness of the school’s leadership team, with Ofsted noting that “the relentless drive by the current principal and her predecessor” has ensured “their pupils get the very best start in school.” Inspectors were also highly complimentary of the school’s early years provision, describing Reception as “a joyous place where children are happy and do not realise they are learning. The environment is vibrant. There is a sense of fun.” The report goes on to praise the school for inspiring its youngest pupils to be creative, stating that “children see Reception as a magical place, and it is one where their imagination is let loose.”

Star teacher training judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted Star Institute’s Star Teachers training partnership has been judged ‘outstanding’ in all areas following its first Ofsted inspection. An Ofsted team inspected Star Institute’s teacher training provision during a two-stage process, which saw visits taking place to assess the quality of both its training and its trainees in June and October 2019. The inspection report highly commends the teacher training partnership in all four areas: its overall effectiveness, outcomes for trainees, the quality of training and the quality of leadership and management. Ofsted inspectors lavished praise on the quality of the training provision and the outstanding outcomes Star Teachers enables trainees to attain. They reported that ‘school leaders are resoundingly positive about the calibre of teachers developed by the SCITT’ and that ‘trainees benefit from an exceptionally well-planned training programme.’ The inspection report goes on to praise the strengths of the partnership with schools, applauding leaders who ‘are relentless in their determination to develop first-class teachers who can ensure that pupils, irrespective of their background, benefit from a high-quality education.’ Inspectors commended Star Teachers on its person-centred approach and called it ‘a partnership where people matter. As the SCITT and MAT grow, leaders have not lost sight of the importance of every trainee and each pupil that they teach.’


The Star Teachers programme began in September 2017 and has gone from strength to strength ever since, with 100% of trainees successfully securing a teaching position after completing the programme.

TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION 45 would-be teachers have embarked on this year’s Star Teachers programme. The year-long programme combines teaching theory with practice and includes school placements. Many will have the opportunity to undertake a placement in one of Star’s 28 schools, where they will see outstanding practice in action and learn from some of the country’s very best teachers. STARLIGHT


All-star cast inspires leaders to achieve excellence This September over 200 senior staff from across the Trust attended our ‘Lead like a Star’ Senior Leaders’ Conference. An array of high-profile guest speakers shared their insights and experience, including Principal Baruti Kafele – an international expert in educational leadership and school culture.

Principal Kafele delivered the conference’s keynote speech and facilitated an afternoon workshop focussing on critical questions for inspiring school-wide excellence. In his keynote address, Principal Kafele asked our senior leaders to reflect on their leadership philosophy and style. His inspirational speech, with its emphasis on self-reflection and practical advice, had a profound impact on leaders who attended the conference.

the Regional Schools’ Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire. During the session, each panellist shared lessons they learned during their leadership journeys, strategies for looking after themselves and their staff, tips for creating and embedding a positive culture within their schools, and advice on how to raise standards. Staff also had the opportunity to attend policy updates to keep them abreast of all the latest developments and statutory requirements in their respective areas of expertise, as well as learning about the merits of instructional leadership and taking part in workshops focussing on Star’s curriculum intent, implementation and impact.


The annual conference provides an opportunity for all of Star’s schools to come together to discuss our priorities for the current academic year and to collectively think about what we stand for and how we lead our schools and the Trust.

Leora Cruddas, the CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts, chaired a panel discussion with leading figures from education which reinforced Principal Kafele’s mantra of leading from the front. Panellists also included Dame Kathy August DBE - who has served as a National Leader of Education, Ofsted inspector and senior advisor to the Department for Education - and Vicky Beer CBE,

Star’s leaders left the event with lots of food for thought about how to provide the best possible experiences, opportunities and outcomes for their pupils and how to coach and support their staff to be the best educators and business professionals they can be.




New teachers to receive early career support Star Institute has launched a new professional development programme for teachers at the start of their careers. The Early Career Development Programme aims to increase the support available to Early Career Teachers (ECTs). The programme will help to ensure newly and recently qualified teachers in their first three years of teaching have the tools in place to succeed and develop within the profession. In recognition of its exemplary work in this area, Star Institute has recently been selected by the government to lead on the national roll out of the Early Career Framework, in partnership with the Education Development Trust and Sheffield Hallam University. Star Institute has already started delivering the Early Career Development Programme to all Star schools. Over 100 newly and recently qualified teachers attended the first session, which focussed on curriculum sequencing, structuring lessons for progress and refining core pedagogical skills. The Institute is also rolling out the programme to schools across the Blackpool and Fylde coast, partnering with the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) and the Fylde Coast

Teaching Alliance. In Blackpool, the programme will be funded by the Blackpool Opportunity Area, which aims to improve attainment and progress in Blackpool schools as part of the wider Teach Blackpool initiative. The Valley Leadership Academy is using the Early Career Development Programme as a professional development tool for its teachers. Narda Sestanovic, Deputy Principal, said: “The Mentor Conference will help experienced teachers to develop the coaching skills required to support early career teachers, who in turn will benefit from learning techniques designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning in their classrooms.”


STAR FAMILY CONTINUES TO GROW Three new schools were welcomed to the Star family this September, growing our network to 28 schools. Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Bradford opened with its first cohort of Year 7 pupils. The school is currently housed in temporary accommodation but, in the future, will move to a new, state-of-the-art campus on Thornton Road in Bradford, eventually growing to become an 800-place secondary school for boys aged 11-19. Eden Girls’ Leadership Academy, Birmingham is a secondary school for girls aged 11-16. The academy, which is the 4th Star secondary school in Birmingham, opened with pupils in all year groups. The school will re-locate to a brand new building with world class facilities within the next two years. The Olive School, Small Heath is a 420-place primary school on Waverley Road in Birmingham. The school opened on its permanent site with children in every year group, from Reception through to Year 6. The school will admit 60 new pupils into the Reception class each year. The schools will work collaboratively with other Star schools to provide pupils with the very best education, enrichment opportunities and experiences.


Star Academies has been crowned MultiAcademy Trust of the Year at the National Schools Awards. The inaugural awards ceremony, which took place at The Schools & Academies Show, celebrated the best and brightest education practitioners from across the UK. We were awarded the accolade in recognition of our continued growth and outstanding performance after achieving a number of landmarks over the last 12 months, including being named the highestperforming Trust nationally, operating the top 3 schools nationally for Progress 8 and the top school for attendance, and securing a further five outstanding Ofsted ratings.


Annual charity fundraising tops £200,000 Star’s schools demonstrated their commitment to community service by collectively raising almost £215,000 for charity during the 2018-19 academic year. Giving something back is fundamental to Star’s mission and all of our students, from Reception through to Sixth Form, regularly take part in activities to raise money for charities in the UK and beyond. Improving the quality of life for young people who have suffered poverty, hardship and harm was the driving force behind many of our schools’ charitable activities. Last year’s fundraising total included more than £15,000 for BBC Children in Need, as well as significant donations to the NSPCC and Save the Children. As well as giving young people hope for a brighter future, our schools also showed their support for older generations by raising money for charities such the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK. Many schools supplemented their fundraising activities by visiting local care homes, where pupils kept residents entertained by playing board games, singing songs and listening to stories about years gone by. Our schools also joined the ongoing fight against cancer, raising tens of thousands of pounds for charities such as Cancer Research UK, the Teenage Cancer Trust, Prostate Cancer UK, Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, as well as a number of local hospices and palliative care facilities, which support the medical, emotional and spiritual needs of people with incurable illnesses. Further afield, Star helped to transform the lives of several communities in West Bengal by funding the installation of water

pumps, giving many people readily available access to clean and fresh water for the first time in their lives. In addition to their prolific fundraising efforts, pupils demonstrated their commitment to citizenship, social action and service to communities by taking part in Star’s Festive Winter Gift Programme. With the support of their friends and families, pupils donated thousands of non-perishable food items to local food banks, collected warm winter clothing for homeless charities, gave their toys to the children’s wards of local hospitals, filled shoeboxes with essentials for young people living in war-torn and poverty-stricken countries, and gifted hampers to the elderly, the homeless and members of the emergency services. Mufti Hamid Patel CBE, Chief Executive of Star Academies, said: “The generosity of our pupils, staff and families never ceases to amaze me and it has been wonderful to see our pupils putting their civic leadership skills - and our STAR value of Service - into action by fundraising and volunteering for so many worthwhile causes, as well as rallying to offer their support in the aftermath of tragedies such as the Grenfell Tower fire and the New Zealand terror attacks.”

Former Ofsted Chief leads Bradford lecture series Star Institute, the training and development arm of Star Academies, has launched a programme of leadership lectures led by Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former Chief Inspector of Schools. The Star Leadership Lecture Series aims to inspire school leaders in Bradford to take their schools to new heights by focusing on the fundamentals of effective school leadership. Each lecture centres on a different topic, with a number of high-profile guest speakers joining Sir Michael to share their expertise, advice and insights. The launch event took place at Tong Leadership Academy, where Sir Michael - who is currently a Professor of Education at St Mary’s University in London - gave an inspiring and thought-provoking speech on the importance of leadership in raising standards. Two esteemed guest speakers - Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford City Council, and Anne-Marie Canning, Chair of the Bradford Opportunity Area Board - joined Sir Michael at the event for a panel discussion on the power of positive leadership.

Guest speakers Sir Nick Weller of Dixons Academies Trust and Amir Hussain of Yeme Architects joined Sir Michael for the second lecture, which focussed on the importance of leadership in establishing school culture. Further lectures are scheduled for 2020, covering topics such as the centrality of the quality of teaching, the value and use of assessment, the role of accountability and performance management and the importance of communication and consultation.




How effective governance underpins outstanding education The contribution that effective governance makes to schools has never been more important. Within a complex landscape, clear accountability for the quality of education that pupils receive is crucial. The Department for Education’s Governance Handbook defines the key roles of governance as being to: • Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction; • Hold executive leaders to account for educational performance and staff performance management; and • Oversee financial performance and make sure that money is well spent. In short, good governance ensures that the Trust and its schools operate properly, boost pupils’ life chances and offer good value for public money. In a multi-academy trust, governance arrangements are different from those in schools maintained by a local authority. Within Star Academies, members, trustees and local governing bodies fulfil different but related key roles. Established meeting and reporting arrangements help the Trust and its individual schools to make informed decisions in the best interests of pupils. The three levels of governance at Star ensure that accountability is strong and direction is clear. The Board of Trustees has responsibility for the operation of Star Academies and reports to the Department for Education. Trustees have significant experience of the world of education and business. They meet with the Trust executives to determine policy and strategy, review educational provision and standards, and ensure that statutory functions are carried out. The constitution of the Board is overseen by Members.



MEMBERS: Control of Constitution

BOARD OF TRUSTEES: Responsible for the Operation of the Trust

LOCAL GOVERNING BODIES: Designated Functions

Funding Accountability

Several Trustees are also members of local governing bodies. This enables them to have a clear and close view of how Star’s policies operate at school level. The Board of Trustees, which meets on four occasions each year, ensures that feedback is sought and listened to from stakeholders, including pupils, parents and staff. Trustees hold the CEO and executive team to account and ensure that Star Academies operates prudently within the regulatory framework.


Each school has its own local governing body (LGB) which is composed of people who have a passion for education in the community served by the school. Every LGB includes two parent governors who are elected by the parents of pupils attending school. The LGB has a number of functions that are delegated to it by the Board of Trustees. Essentially its role is to be a ‘critical friend’ to the school’s leaders, providing support and challenge and helping to ensure that the school is working with its community and is valued by it. Parent governors do not need to have any particular qualifications or experience: their greatest strength is their ability to reflect on how well the school provides for the children who attend it. Each LGB meets formally four times per year. There are many opportunities for governors to take the lead on their LGB in supporting an aspect of the school’s work in which they have a particular strength or interest. It is a requirement that each LGB has lead governors for finance, safeguarding, vulnerable groups of children (including looked after children and children with SEND), and faith ethos (in schools with a faith designation). Other lead roles are also encouraged: for instance, a governor might take an active interest in development of the pupil leadership specialism that is such an iconic feature of Star schools. The Star Governance Team, led by Fiona McGrath, provides support to local governing bodies on a range of matters and ensures that the correct materials are prepared and distributed for meetings. The central staff who provide support for governors share their passion and commitment and have extensive experience. Effective governance at any level depends on teamwork, integrity, commitment and communication. The Star family operates on the principle of collaborative autonomy: its

STAR SPOTLIGHT people, including governors at every level, are valued because they bring different experiences and unique perspectives which combine to build an ambitious, resilient organisation. Governors at every level are required to observe a code of conduct and respect Nolan’s Seven Principles of Public Life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. In her recent address to the National Governance Association (NGA) Amanda Spielman HMCI thanked governors for their selfless devotion to their role: “You are all volunteers who give up your time, your energy and your skills to help schools and to give back to your communities. We are all part of education – not outside of it. We’re in this together for the good of children and young people.”

If you are interested in becoming a school governor, please email clare.shaw@ staracademies.org or visit: staracademies.org/join-us/become-a-star-governor

HOW DOES OFSTED VIEW OUR GOVERNANCE? The role of Star governance, at local and central level, has been praised in our schools’ Ofsted reports. Governors make a positive difference.

Governance is highly effective. Members of the board work closely with staff and trustees to consider and review the school’s work.” THE OLIVE SCHOOL, PRESTON (June 2019) Governors have a comprehensive understanding of the strengths of the school and the areas for further improvement. Governors have the experience and knowledge that enables them to challenge leaders and hold them to account. They, themselves, are held to account by the trustees.” BARKEREND PRIMARY LEADERSHIP ACADEMY (May 2019) The local governing body is very experienced, talented and highly effective. Governors are highly effective in supporting and challenging school leaders to provide high quality and well-rounded education.” THE OLIVE SCHOOL, BOLTON (July 2019) Those responsible for governance have been determined and successful in creating an aspirational school where pupils receive a high standard of education.” EDEN BOYS’ SCHOOL, BIRMINGHAM (May 2018)



KEVIN JAQUISS (Chair of Audit Committee)

Board of Trustees, Chair of Nomination and Remuneration Committee)


MO ISAP (Chair of Policy and


Resources Committee)


FARUK DASU (Chair of Faith and


Character Education Board)

HARRY DEVONPORT (Chair of Academic Board)

MUFTI HAMID PATEL CBE, Chief Executive (Chair of Star Institute Board)

OUR MEMBERS KAMRUDDIN KOTHIA (CHAIR) Kam Kothia, who is Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire, established eBusiness UK, one of the North West’s premier telecommunications agencies. He is an active member of a number of boards and forums where he champions diversity in business. RT HON LORD SHUTTLEWORTH KG, KCVO Lord Shuttleworth has been Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire since 1997. He was a member of the House of Lords from 1975-1999. RT HON JACK STRAW Jack Straw has enjoyed an esteemed political career, including serving as Foreign Secretary for five years, and has close ties with Blackburn, where Star Academies was founded, having served as the town’s MP for over 35 years and is the current Chairman of Blackburn Youth Zone. MO ISAP Mo Isap is the founder and CEO of IN4.0 Group, and sits on the boards of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and the Careers and Enterprise Company. Mo is currently the Chair of Governors at Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School. SIR MICHAEL WILSHAW With an unwavering commitment to improving standards in education, Sir Michael Wilshaw has held a number of leading roles in education, including a five-year term as Ofsted’s Chief Inspector. MARTIN AINSCOUGH CBE, DL Martin grew Ainscough Crane Hire into the UK’s largest and most successful crane business and is currently chairman of the Ainscough Group of Companies. His interest in promoting youth goes beyond traditional avenues of support and he was the principal driving force behind Wigan Youth Zone. HARRY CATHERALL During his tenure as Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, Harry Catherall led a nationallyrecognised health integration programme and the multi-million pound Building Schools for the Future programme. FARUK DASU Faruk Dasu has worked in Further Education and in the private sector. Faruk has chaired a number of school Governing Bodies and is currently the Chair of Governors at The Olive School, Blackburn.




Author Nina de Pass provides reading recommendations to pupils at The Valley A Book Club formed by new Year 7 pupils at The Valley Leadership Academy has quickly become a resounding success. Pupils have been learning about what it takes to become a successful writer through watching interviews with some of the UK’s leading young adult authors, including the 2019-2021 Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, author of contemporary classic ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ and Sophie Anderson, whose novel ‘The House with Chicken Legs’ was shortlisted for several prestigious awards in 2019. Now the Book Club’s avid readers are receiving reading recommendations from celebrated authors courtesy of the BookPenPals initiative, which pairs writers and illustrators with schools across the country to help young people discover a wide range of books from experts in children’s literature. Up-and-coming young adult author Nina de Pass - whose debut novel, The Year After You, was met with widespread critical acclaim - sent a letter and postcard to pupils with a list of age-appropriate books they might enjoy. The recommendations are designed to cover popular literary classics, obscure books that not many people know about, brand new releases and everything in between. Pupils will read and discuss the books and will then write back to Nina to tell her what they thought about them. Pupils are set to receive a minimum of six postcards from Nina during the course of the academic year and will have the opportunity to be paired with a new author next year.

The Olive School hits high note Staff and pupils at The Olive School, Birmingham have made a resounding start to the year by securing Music Mark School Member accreditation from the UK Association for Music Education. Music Mark membership is awarded to schools who have shown commitment to providing high quality music education by using music as a way to encourage creative and critical engagement, promote good behaviour for learning and boost personal and social development. Organisations and individuals who are awarded Music Mark membership are considered to be leaders in music education. Pupils at The Olive School, Birmingham currently benefit from regular music lessons with visiting music tutors who have been teaching pupils how to sing and play a variety of instruments. The school is passionate about developing cross-curricular links between music and other core subjects. Reception pupils recently explored one of their favourite books – Handa’s Surprise – through an African drumming workshop delivered by Drumroots. As well as helping pupils to understand some of the cultural traditions referenced in the book, which is about a young girl from the Luo tribe in Kenya, pupils also had the opportunity to discover their rhythm through playing the Djembe drum. Pupils also recently participated in a pirate theme day and were delighted when their music tutors came to school in fancy dress and proceeded to teach them a rousing children’s song about life as a pirate. STARLIGHT


Bay’s Football Scholars rewarded with Old Trafford trip Football Scholars at Bay Leadership Academy enjoyed a rewards trip to Old Trafford this September, where they had the opportunity to watch Manchester United compete in the third round of the Carabao Cup. The academy’s Elite Football Scholars Programme is a sporting and academic scholarship offered to boys and girls who display a genuine interest and commitment to developing their skills, both in the classroom and on the pitch. In order to retain their place on the Scholars Programme, pupils are expected to perform successfully in all areas of the curriculum and lead by example. In return, pupils benefit from professional football coaching and skills development via the unique Matrix Coaching Programme, which focuses on developing technical skills through a variety of drills based on real-game scenarios in a peer-led environment. Matrix was founded by Charlie Jackson, a UEFA-qualified coach who has worked with Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers and currently holds the position of Skills Development Coach at Manchester City. As part of the programme, pupils have access to a gold standard in elite football coaching and benefit from exclusive school trips, including stadium tours and high-profile football matches. On 25th September, pupils journeyed to Old Trafford, where they watched Manchester United play nearby Rochdale in a thrilling match that saw the teams draw 1-1 at full-time. In a nail-biting penalty shoot-out, United progressed to the next round after a 5-3 victory.

Bolton pupil shaves off hair for local hospice A kind-hearted pupil at Eden Boys’ School, Bolton took part in a sponsored head-shave for charity. Qais Patel raised £800 by having his hair shaved off in aid of Bolton Hospice. The Year 8 pupil was inspired to undertake the charity challenge because his grandmother had been cared for by the Chorley New Road hospice before her death. He said: “I wanted to raise money for Bolton Hospice as it is a place close to my heart, as my grandmother spent her last few days there. They do amazing work supporting ill people and their families, so I really wanted to help them.” Sue Gill-Daintith, Principal of Eden Boys’ School, Bolton, said: “We are incredibly proud of Qais, who wanted to fundraise for this local good cause. We encourage our pupils to live their lives by our school value of Service, especially to their community and in aid of those less fortunate, and Qais clearly exemplifies this.” AUTUMN 2019 ISSUE 03



Macmillan Coffee Mornings raise thousands Star schools once again joined the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Across the country our schools baked, decorated and sold cakes in a bid to beat last year’s £12,000 fundraising total. From scrumptious scones to fabulous fairy cakes, our pupils, staff and parents enjoyed tasting hundreds of sweet treats – all for a good cause. The Olive School, Preston invited parents into school to indulge in a delicious cake and a cuppa with pupils and staff. With hundreds of cakes on offer - from beautifully decorated cupcakes to sumptuous strawberry cheesecake – the event was a resounding success with the school community generously donating almost £800 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Collectively our schools raised over £10,000 with pupils at Eden Girls’ Leadership Academy, Manchester, Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School in Blackburn and Eden Boys’ School, Preston each raising over £1,000.

Highfield pupils receive prestigious Diana Award Pupils at Highfield Leadership Academy visited Facebook’s UK headquarters to collect a prestigious Diana Award for their work to tackle bullying and sustain positive change across the school community. The Diana Award – named in honour of Diana, Princess of Wales - is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 can receive for social action or humanitarian work. It is given to young people who selflessly transform the lives of others by going above and beyond in their daily lives to create and sustain positive change. Highfield Leadership Academy’s Anti-Bullying Ambassadors were awarded the accolade in recognition of the positive steps they have taken in supporting the school’s senior leaders and staff to tackle bullying and improve behaviour within the school. Andrew Galbraith, Principal of Highfield Leadership Academy, said: “We are so proud that the work of our Anti-Bullying Ambassadors has been recognised with a Diana Award. These amazing young people are all passionate about enabling and encouraging everyone to be their best and to foster a culture of kindness in the school.” The group of Anti-Bullying Ambassadors was established in February as part of the school’s Be Your Best initiative, which aims to create a culture of kindness and respect. Pupils and staff have worked in partnership to introduce a range of activities to support and unite pupils, and to encourage and reward positive behaviour. They include a series of new clubs, such as sports, games and wellbeing, which aim to help students make new friendships, have fun and access support in an informal setting. The Anti-Bullying Ambassadors have also established a group to educate their peers about staying safe online and have worked with staff to create a calendar of events to support the Be Your Best programme, including a Friendship Fun Run and the Respect Games. In October, pupils and staff took part in a week-long programme of ‘Respect Yourself’ events and activities to recognise World Mental Health Day and promote mental wellbeing.



PUPI L S PAY THEIR RES PECTS Across the country, pupils at all of our schools marked Armistice Day by participating in events to remember those who lost their lives in the First World War (WWI) and during later conflicts.

At The Olive School, Bolton every pupil created their own unique poppy as a symbol of remembrance. The individual poppies, which were made from a breadth of materials, were then used to create a striking remembrance memorial in the school hall. The artwork was inspired by the commemorative art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, which was displayed at the Tower of London in 2014 to mark the centenary of the outbreak of WWI. The commemorative display formed the backdrop for a Remembrance Assembly where pupils learnt about the meaning of Armistice Day. The learning continued in the classroom with pupils taking part in a range of activities to find out more about those who have lost their lives and raise funds for the Poppy Appeal. Pupils in Reception and Year 1 baked and decorated poppy cookies whilst learning about the significance of the poppy.

The distinctive red flower has come to represent our remembrance of the sacrifices made in past wars as it was one of few plants to grow on the barren battlefields following WWI. The poppy was referenced in John McCrae’s famed poem In Flanders Fields and was adopted by The Royal British Legion as a symbol of remembrance after its formation in 1921. At 11am on 11th November, all of our schools fell silent for two minutes as staff and pupils paid their respects to the fallen. This was the culmination of a series of remembrance activities, including pupils representing their schools in civic remembrance services, making wreaths, poppies and displays, and participating in school services. Pupils also raised funds for the Poppy Appeal by selling poppies and commemorative items in school. At Bay Leadership Academy, pupils made clay poppy badges which were displayed in the school before being sold to raise money for The Royal British Legion’s appeal.





Pupils conquer the great outdoors Pupils at Eden Girls’ School, Coventry have been enjoying the great outdoors this autumn by taking part in a series of activities and adventures. Year 11 pupils had the opportunity to see stunning scenery as they braved the brisk weather and set off to climb Mount Snowdon. At 3,560 feet, it is the tallest mountain in England and Wales and offers some of the most extensive and scenic views in the British Isles. Mount Snowdon is the third most visited attraction in Wales and is designated as a national nature reserve because of its rare flora and fauna. Pupils stopped off for a photo opportunity at a picturesque mountain lake whilst making the long uphill journey to the summit. Meanwhile, Year 7 pupils took part in a residential trip to Kingswood Outdoor Centre, where they developed their

leadership skills and demonstrated our STAR values of Teamwork and Ambition by taking part in a number of adrenaline-fuelled activities such as abseiling, cratestacking, archery, orienteering and a mini-Olympics. All of the challenges required pupils to use problem-solving or survival skills and support each other to overcome any obstacles they were facing. Both trips contributed to pupils’ personal and social development and boosted their self-esteem by encouraging them to try new things and explore the limits of their physical and mental strength.

Local cycling hero heralded by High Crags In September 2019, some of the world’s premier cyclists gathered in Yorkshire for the UCI Road World Championships, one of the main events in the international road cycling calendar. The Championships included a number of men’s and women’s races, starting in different towns and cities throughout Yorkshire. Pupils at High Crags Primary Leadership Academy were delighted to discover that the Women’s Elite Road Race, held on 28th September, would take place near to their school, presenting an opportunity for them to watch some of the world’s best athletes in action as they began the 150km uphill road race, which reached an elevation of 2394 metres. Gearing up to cheer on the competitors, the school held a special cycling-themed assembly, which focussed on local cyclist Lizzie Deignan, who was born in Otley - just 7 miles away from Shipley, where High Crags is based. Lizzie is a world champion track and road racing cyclist, who was crowned the 2015 World Road Race Champion and the 2014 Commonwealth Games Road Race Champion. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won the silver medal in the road race, and has raced to victory in the British National Road Race Championships four times. Learning about Lizzie’s journey to success helped to fuel pupils’ own leadership ambitions, and the notion that someone from “just down the road” could scale such great heights left pupils believing that perhaps they could, too.



Scholarship helps pupil pursue her dream legal career A former pupil at Tong Leadership Academy is pursuing her dream of becoming a solicitor with the support of a scholarship awarded by healthcare software provider, TPP, in partnership with the school. Natalia Plucinska achieved three A-Levels in Sociology, Law and History, which will enable her to take up an apprenticeship with Progress Law Solicitors in Halifax. The Frank Hester Scholarship, named after the founder of TPP, aims to provide financial support to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds so they can study higher education courses and apprenticeships. The funding 18-year old Natalia will receive from TPP will help with living costs during her apprenticeship. Dan Styles, Principal at Tong Leadership Academy, said: “Natalia has been a fantastic student throughout her time with us and a true inspiration to others in the school. We are very proud of Natalia and wish her every success in her future legal career.”

Waltham Forest pupils team up with local church for bumper harvest collection Pupils and staff from Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest donated over 650 items of food for this year’s Harvest collection. Pupils teamed up with St Andrew’s Church in Walthamstow to support two prominent local charities – Eat or Heat, a food bank that provides essential food and toiletry parcels to families in Walthamstow, and Christian Kitchen, which feeds up to 70 homeless people in the local community every evening. Pupils also helped parishioners at St Andrew’s Church to create a display for the Harvest Service, which took place on Sunday 6th October. Reverend Stella Olukanmi said: “I just want to say a very big thank you to all the pupils, families and staff from Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest for such a generous harvest collection. We were astounded to see the amount donated from the school. It is good to see that we can work together in our shared humanity to help those less fortunate than we are.” The Harvest collection is just one of the annual inter-faith charitable projects that pupils from Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest take part in, as part of the school’s wider civic and community outreach work.

Eco Club enhances environment The Eco Club at Eden Boys’ School, Preston is continuing to work hard to boost the air quality in their school and its surrounding areas. Pupils have produced an action plan to ensure their school is as environmentally-friendly as possible and gave up their time over the half-term break to plant over 25 trees on the school estate. As well as providing a scenic backdrop for the school building, the trees will produce - on average - nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year once they are fully grown, enhancing the air quality for generations of pupils to come, along with the local community. As well as improving the air quality outside of the school building, the Eco Club also researched the air-cleaning properties of indoor plants and used the proceeds from their recent fundraising endeavours to place a potted plant in every classroom. In addition to oxygenating the air and brightening up the classroom, several studies have shown that plants can boost alertness, concentration and even productivity, helping to create an optimum environment for learning. Pupils will ensure the plants are well cared-for by keeping them hydrated. With winter fast approaching, the Eco Club has also pledged its commitment to protecting local wildlife by building a number of ‘insect hotels’ to provide shelter for insects during the cold, damp weather and help to encourage plant pollination in the spring and summer. Following the success of the initiative, pupils have also volunteered to plant trees, create more insect hotels and pick up litter at Fishwick Nature Reserve as part of their ongoing commitment to working with the community to improve the environmental quality in their local area.


20 STAR COMMUNITY Laisterdyke pupils triumph in Mission Chaos competition 116 pupils at Laisterdyke Leadership Academy will have their creative writing published in an anthology that celebrates the work of talented young writers aged 11-18. Pupils entered the ‘Mission Chaos’ story-writing competition during summer term, where they were challenged to complete a 100-word ‘mini survival saga’ focussing on the themes of disaster and survival. Free to let their imaginations run wild, pupils penned stories spanning the genres of horror, science fiction and natural disaster. With their protagonists caught in all manner of sticky situations – from being buried alive or trapped in a bunker, to being pursued by deadly robots - pupils had to find a way for their characters to escape or, in some cases, save the entire human race! Pupils came up with innovative and imaginative ideas to ensure their characters triumphed in the face of adversity and overcame the odds stacked against them. Following their success in the competition, pupils’ work will be published in the Mission Chaos: West Yorkshire anthology, which will be on sale this winter. To continue developing pupils’ passion for reading and writing, Laisterdyke recently unveiled its new school library, which provides pupils with access to first-class ICT facilities and hundreds of engaging and informative books, including a wide variety of contemporary young adult fiction and non-fiction books relating to specific subjects.

Pupils get animated about their future careers Pupils at Eden Girls’ Leadership Academy, Manchester recently benefitted from a careers workshop with industry-leading animator, Jim Parkyn. Jim – who works as a model maker for Aardman Animations – has created models for characters in popular animated films such as Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run and The Pirates. He spoke to pupils about the different careers that can lead to a role in the animation industry and everything that’s involved in making an animated film, from storyboarding and character design to scriptwriting and specialist software. His visit was organised in partnership with the Manchester Animation Festival, which took place from 10th14th November and offered local people access to a range of animation masterclasses, film screenings and panel discussions. After hearing about Jim’s successful career in the animation industry, Year 9 pupils had the opportunity to try different animation techniques for themselves, experimenting with stop motion and motion capture. Pupils moulded their own clay Morphinspired models and made a short animation film using iPads and high-tech animation software. Pupils thoroughly enjoyed learning about this niche industry and are now armed with all of the information they need to follow in Jim’s footsteps and pursue a career in animation. STARLIGHT

STAR COMMUNITY The Olive School, Hackney achieves national School Games award The Olive School, Hackney has been awarded the School Games Sliver Mark in recognition of its commitment to the development of sports competition across the school and in the local community. The School Games Mark is a Government-led award scheme funded by Sport England and facilitated by the Youth Sport Trust. The Mark is awarded retrospectively for schools’ sports provision during the last 12 months and evaluates schools against four criteria: participation, competition, workforce and clubs. The Silver Mark recognises the breadth of sporting activities and the multitude of achievements celebrated by pupils at The Olive School, Hackney during the last school year. The school’s sporting highlights span cricket, cycling (with 20 children gaining Level 2 Bike Ability), cross-country running, table tennis, athletics and even orienteering, with the school securing 2nd place in Hackney’s Orienteering League.

Thornbury teaching assistant wins national award Staff and pupils at Thornbury Primary Leadership Academy are celebrating after a member of staff was named Primary Teaching Assistant of the Year. Year 6 Learning Support Assistant, Punam Sharma, was awarded the accolade by the UK’s leading education recruitment agency, Teaching Personnel, as part of its national awards ceremony, which celebrates the valuable contribution Teaching Assistants make to the education and support of school children across the UK. Clare Daddy, Principal of Thornbury Primary Leadership Academy, nominated Punam for the award for her outstanding contribution to the school through consistent hard work, dedication and support to both pupils and teaching staff. Mrs Daddy said: “Over the last few years, Punam has really gone the extra mile to provide additional support for our children. She has run booster classes both before and after school and provided additional support and mentoring for the most vulnerable of pupils during lunchtimes. Punam does everything with a smile on her face and a positive attitude! Her efforts have resulted in our children being in the top 1% for progress in the country and achieving excellent results. We are delighted that Punam’s dedication has been recognised externally - the award couldn’t have gone to a better person!” Punam was presented with her award during a school assembly, where she was congratulated by jubilant pupils and colleagues. AUTUMN 2019 ISSUE 03


22 STAR COMMUNITY TIGHS inspires the next generation of leaders A host of successful and influential business leaders went back to school to inspire and mentor the next generation of leaders at Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School and Sixth Form College (TIGHS). Pupils heard from a number of dynamic speakers, including special guest Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE, and participated in ‘speed mentoring’ sessions during the school’s annual Aspire and Inspire Leadership Conference. Dame Julia Cleverdon – a renowned leader and campaigner who has led a number of charities that have transformed education and opportunities for young people - set the tone for the conference with a powerful keynote speech to rouse the students to set themselves high aspirations, to have self-belief and to strive to make a positive difference to society. The former Chief Executive of Business in the Community reflected on the leadership skills she has observed and learnt while campaigning to try to unite individuals and teams to achieve the greater good. The theme of the top-performing school’s leadership conference was civic, moral and performance leadership skills – a fundamental element of the school’s character development and leadership specialism. The annual conference for Year 13 pupils, which took place on Friday 11th October, aimed to help them transition into the world of study and boost their career prospects. The event brought together pupils with a variety of successful people working in leadership roles across areas such as business, technology, civic duties, sport and performing arts. It gave pupils the opportunity to meet face-to-face with more than 30 business leaders to learn from their experiences and gain inspiration for their futures. During the conference, the Y13 pupils each took part in a Speed Mentoring

Carousel, delivered in partnership with Northern Power Futures, where they had the opportunity to question mentors about their careers and education. More than 30 mentors volunteered their time to support the event, with representatives from organisations including the NHS, Barclays, United Utilities and Sport England. During the event, a group of Y13 students took to the stage to give a presentation to their assembled guests on the Mini MBA programme that they have recently completed, which saw them hone their business and research skills on an Eco Social Enterprise project. The Eco Star team explained how its social enterprise venture aims to address a global issue at a local level by reducing plastic waste in the school. By sourcing, selling and promoting the use of recycled multi-use bottles, to date the project has reduced the volume of single-use plastics in use at TIGHS by more than 68,000 bottles. Keynote speaker Dame Julia Cleverdon said: “It was a privilege to be part of the 30 mentors who learnt as much - if not more - from the impressive young women at TIGHS. As Co-founder of the #iwill campaign, I was so impressed with the determination of the girls’ Mini MBA project to drive an ambitious social action aiming to cut plastic waste to zero.”

Budding poets celebrate National Poetry Day Pupils at Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Manchester celebrated National Poetry Day in style on 3rd October, by exploring the theme of ‘Truth’ in all of their subjects. National Poetry Day is a UK-wide celebration of poetry that takes place on the first Thursday in October every year. 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the popular event, which celebrates poetry’s power to bring people together. The theme for National Poetry Day changes every year to give fresh inspiration to budding poets, and this year’s theme of “Truth” gave pupils an opportunity to explore and debate the nuances of fact versus fiction by writing poems about topics that have inspired debate in recent years, including the existence of the Loch Ness monster, the moon landing and the flat earth theory. Pupils were also encouraged to explore their own, personal “Truth.” Celebrations culminated in a poetry slam, where pupils read their poems aloud and received scores out of ten from their peers. Principal Shabir Fazal said: “The most important message was that poetry is for everyone to enjoy and take part in. The quality of poems produced by our pupils was truly fantastic. I think we might have a future poet laureate in our midst!”


STAR COMMUNITY Birmingham boys make their mark in Youth Parliament ballot Pupils at Eden Boys’ School, Birmingham had the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights by taking part in the national Make Your Mark campaign. Members of the Youth Parliament, who are democratically elected by their peers and aged between 11-18, take part in an annual debate in the House of Commons where they discuss five issues selected by young people from across the UK and then vote to decide which two issues should become their priority campaigns for the year ahead. Last year’s Make Your Mark campaign saw over one million young people taking part, making it one of the largest youth consultations of its kind in UK history. Pupils at Eden Boys’ School, Birmingham were eager to fill in their ballot papers, where they had to select the national issue that was most important to them from a list of key topics currently dominating current affairs, including protecting the environment, lowering the voting age to 16, tackling hate crime, children’s rights, and welcoming refugees to the UK. They then had the opportunity to vote for the devolved issue that was most significant to them, which ranged from implementing a “curriculum to prepare us for life” to mental health awareness, stopping street harassment, putting an end to knife crime and tackling child poverty. Following the nationwide ballot, climate change has been declared the biggest priority for young people across the UK. The topic will be debated by the UK Youth Parliament in November, along with the other four issues that received the most votes: knife crime, mental health, hate crime and the national curriculum.

Pupils provide reinforcements to DIY SOS team Pupils from The Olive School, Blackburn were given a warm welcome when they visited a local church to distribute refreshments to the busy crew of property renovation show, DIY SOS. Nick Knowles and his team of builders, carpenters, plumbers, plasterers and electricians - with the support of a number of local volunteers - came to Blackburn to film a special edition of the popular BBC show for Children in Need. Working with local charity Nightsafe, who have provided food, shelter and support services to over 14,500 homeless and vulnerable young people aged 16-24, the DIY SOS team transformed the Parish Rooms of St Silas’ Church, on Preston New Road, into a homeless shelter for vulnerable young people. The conversion was fully-funded by BBC Children In Need. Lots of local volunteers and tradespeople came to lend a hand with the ambitious project – where they had just nine days to complete the equivalent of six months’ work and were delighted when pupils stopped by to provide them with drinks and snacks to thank them for all of their efforts. The new facilities will enable Nightsafe, a charity which our Blackburn schools regularly support through donations, to provide its valuable services to even more young people in the area.



24 STAR COMMUNITY Eton College mentors help pupils to master maths A-Level Maths students from Eton College have been mentoring high-performing students at Eden Girls’ School, Slough to help them achieve the best possible outcomes in GCSE Maths. Eton College is a private boarding school and sixth form college for boys aged 13-18, with alumni including Princes William and Harry. In 2018, 100% of students at Eton College achieved grades 9-6 in Maths, with 77% securing the highest possible grade - a grade 9. As part of their prescribed programme of extracurricular activities, Eton College’s A-Level students mentor younger pupils from less privileged backgrounds, and – armed with lesson plans and resources – a team of nine Eton mentors made the journey from Windsor to Slough to help Year 10 pupils at Eden Girls’ School master the rigorous demands of the GCSE Maths curriculum. 22 Eden Girls’ School pupils benefitted from the mentoring programme, where they worked in

groups of two or three to tackle advanced problemsolving exercises that encouraged them to draw on different areas of mathematics in order to reach a solution. The pupils, who are due to sit their GCSEs in summer 2021, impressed their mentors with their quick-thinking, quantitative reasoning and analytical skills and received a wealth of positive feedback, both from the Eton mentors themselves and the two Maths teachers who were accompanying them on the visit. Following its first set of results, Eden Girls’ School, Slough was recently ranked amongst the top 15 secondary schools nationally for progress and overall performance and partnerships with organisations like Eton College will help to ensure the school maintains its position as one of the best in the country.

Fresh produce contributes to pupils’ five-a-day Pupils at Barkerend Primary Leadership Academy have been growing their own seasonal vegetables to learn about self-sufficiency and sustainability. Working in conjunction with The Grow Project – a charity that believes nature can have an uplifting and restorative effect on our mental health – pupils planted seedlings in six allotment beds and carefully cultivated them to grow an assortment of vegetables, including potatoes, green beans and lettuce. Pupils even grew their own pumpkins to carve for Halloween.

With the help of information packs provided by The Grow Project, pupils learnt about the optimal conditions for growing different kinds of produce, including the various types of soil and its nutritional properties, the need for regular weeding, and the importance of giving crops access to sunlight and water. After months of carefully tending to their allotments, pupils’ efforts were rewarded


with a bumper crop, which they had the opportunity to sample for themselves before sharing their produce with parents from the school’s ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) class. Pupils involved in the project have developed a genuine love for gardening and will no doubt be benefitting from lots of fresh soups and stews this winter.

STAR COMMUNITY Students at Small Heath set their sights on Oxbridge Year 11 pupils at Small Heath Leadership Academy had the opportunity to meet senior staff from Oxford University when they visited the Birmingham school this September. Dr Samina Khan and Professor Martin Williams encouraged pupils to apply to the prestigious institution, which recently topped The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the fourth year in a row. Dr Khan, the university’s Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, told pupils that, as a young woman from an ethnic minority background, she would never have dreamt that she would study at, or work for, Oxford University, but she always had high aspirations fostered by the high expectations of her teachers, and quickly learned she could compete on equal terms with pupils coming from even the most privileged circumstances. She told Small Heath students that even if pupils are the first member of their family to go to university, that shouldn’t stop them from applying to the very best universities in the country, as they can inspire future generations of their family to follow in their footsteps. Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Education, Professor Martin Williams who has responsibility for the University’s strategy and policies for teaching, learning, student support and admissions - gave pupils practical advice about the University’s admissions

process, including how to write an application that stands out from the crowd and what they can expect during an admissions interview, as well as the different degree pathways they can pursue. Pupils then had the opportunity to ask their visitors some questions about Oxford – including the University’s well-known rivalry with the University of Cambridge – and were able to learn more about access opportunities and the topics that interested them. The visit encouraged pupils to aim high and think about the higher education opportunities available to them as they progress to sixth form, and Dr Khan and Professor Williams said they were looking forward to seeing some of Small Heath’s students attending Oxford in three years’ time.

Rising stars celebrate sporting success Two pupils at Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Birmingham East have been selected to play countylevel cricket. Daanish Mehmood and Assadullah Azami, who are both in Year 8 at the school, play for Warwickshire’s Under 14s team. Daanish has quickly established himself as an invaluable member of the team, whilst Assadullah is on trial and will find out in the coming weeks whether he has been selected to join the squad. Both boys have trained incredibly hard to reach this elite level at such a young age, demonstrating our STAR values of Teamwork and Ambition. Meanwhile Yusuf Hassan, also in year 8, has established himself as a formidable table tennis player. Yusuf recently took part in a tournament at Nishkam High School in Birmingham, where he won every match that he played (4 singles matches and 2 doubles matches) before being crowned the overall champion.

Pupils at TIBHS develop their public speaking skills A charity that helps pupils to develop their speaking and listening skills recently visited Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School in Blackburn to teach pupils how to deliver a compelling speech, command the attention of a crowd and win a divisive debate. The English-Speaking Union (ESU) encourages young people to find their voice, and runs a series of programmes and competitions to ensure young voices are heard. During the informative and enjoyable workshop, pupils were shown how language can be used to harness their powers of persuasion, with impressive results. Pupils practised their diction to ensure their delivery was clear, impressive and engaging, and learnt how to be active listeners and respond positively to questions and comments. A group of Year 10 and 11 pupils now have the chance to be selected by the ESU to take part in a prestigious debate at the House of Lords chaired by the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, where they can present their views to Parliament and engage in a lively conversation that could help to shape the future political landscape of the UK. AUTUMN 2019 ISSUE 03



Embedding rigorous governance principles FIONA McGRATH, Head of Governance and Corporate Services In our latest Star People interview, we talk to Fiona McGrath who leads our governance and business support service. Based in Blackburn, Fiona has worked for Star since 2012. As Company Secretary, she ensures that the Trust, as a Charitable Trust for the Public Benefit, meets its legal and regulatory obligations.

What attracted you to work at Star? I first met the CEO, Mufti Hamid Patel, when Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School was located in terraced houses in Blackburn. The school had very few resources, yet the standards the girls achieved were amazing. The vision for the development of the Trust was compelling and I wanted to be part of a new organisation whose development I could support and influence. Nearly eight years later, the Trust’s ambition and values remain the same: I definitely made the right decision to join!

What aspect of your job gives you the greatest satisfaction? Implementing the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) might sound

dull, but I actually get great satisfaction from designing systems that make complex tasks straightforward. I enjoy making refinements so that systems are workable and make people’s lives easier. I also get great fulfilment when a project comes to fruition - when a new school opens and makes a difference to children’s lives – the detailed planning is all worth it for that experience.

Why is the work of a local governing body so important? Local governors are hugely important because they understand the community served by a school. Governance from the Board and Trustees is very strong but the interface with the local community remains crucial so that school leaders can work effectively with families and neighbours. The positive relationship

between the Chair of the Local Governing Body and the Principal can really support school improvement.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t at work? I have three children and so a lot of my spare time is taken up being a taxi service, but it’s always good to spend time with friends – especially in my favourite holiday place, Abersoch. I love the fresh air and feeling of freedom.

What are you currently reading (apart from legal documents)? I’m enjoying ‘The Tuscan Secret’ by Angela Petch. The book is an exciting read and it explores the impact of World War ll from the viewpoint of an Italian family.

Key Appointments Ms Roberts has been appointed as the Principal of Bay Leadership Academy. In her previous role of Rapid Improvement Lead for the Trust, she has worked with the school since it joined Star to drive forward improvements. Miss Naznine has been appointed as the first Principal of our newly-opened boys’ secondary school in Bradford.


Mrs Rawoot has joined Eden Girls’ Leadership Academy, Birmingham as Principal of the new secondary school. Mr Khaliq has moved from Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest to take up the role of Principal of Eden Girls’ School, Slough Mr Chowdhury joins us as Principal of The Olive School, Small Heath, the third new Star school to open in September.


PUPIL STAR LETTERS ROLL OF HONOUR All pupils listed in the Roll of Honour have received a Star Letter – a personal letter of congratulations from the Trust’s Chief Executive – in recognition of their exemplification of our STAR values (Service, Teamwork, Ambition and Respect).

DELISHA NAAZ, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest - set up a Tea ‘n’ Talk club to encourage peers to talk about mental health issues and was also invited to the Cabinet Office to interview an MP and talk about her outstanding work as a Democracy Ambassador within school ALEAH ANAN, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest - set up a Tea ‘n’ Talk club to encourage peers to talk about mental health issues AMY HARRISON, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of her excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador THOMAS HARRISON, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of his excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador BETH CARTMELL, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of her excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador LOIS WALKER, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of her excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador JAKE ROBINSON, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of his excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador MARIA PREDA, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of her excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador and also as a Highfield Helper WILL ASHWORTH, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of his excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador LEE BLACK, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of his excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador EMME HOPWOOD, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of her excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador CHARLOTTE JOHNSTONE, Highfield Leadership Academy received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of her excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador JASMINE LIM, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of her excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador GRACE RICHARDS, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of her excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador SOPHIA MELLOR, Highfield Leadership Academy - received the Diana Award and Respect Badge in recognition of her excellent work as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador TARIQ AHMED, Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Manchester - highly commended by Healthy Schools for a group project promoting diversity and inclusion within school MUHAMMAD YUNUS BOBAT, Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Manchester - highly commended by Healthy Schools for a group project promoting diversity and inclusion within school

HARIS RAJA, Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Manchester - highly commended by Healthy Schools for a group project promoting diversity and inclusion within school DARIM SAJID, Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy, Manchester - highly commended by Healthy Schools for a group project promoting diversity and inclusion within school KEIRA WILKIE, Highfield Leadership Academy - demonstrated our STAR value of Service to an exceptional standard in her role as a Highfield Helper ISABELL SCOTT, Highfield Leadership Academy - demonstrated our STAR value of Service to an exceptional standard in her role as a Highfield Helper JONATHAN HILLIER, Highfield Leadership Academy demonstrated our STAR value of Service to an exceptional standard in his role as a Highfield Helper SAMIA HOQUE, Highfield Leadership Academy - demonstrated our STAR value of Service to an exceptional standard in her role as a Highfield Helper EMMA GITTENS, Highfield Leadership Academy - demonstrated our STAR value of Service to an exceptional standard in her role as a Highfield Helper ZINIA ZAUL, Highfield Leadership Academy - demonstrated our STAR value of Service to an exceptional standard in her role as a Highfield Helper SUMAYYAH BHAYAT, Eden Girls’ School, Coventry - Raised a significant sum of money for charity SAFIYA ALAM, Eden Girls’ School, Coventry – Raised a significant sum of money for charity MARIAM ABU EL HAJ, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest - was invited to the Cabinet Office to interview an MP and talk about her outstanding work as a Democracy Ambassador within school ASMAA ABBY, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest - was invited to the Cabinet Office to interview an MP and talk about her outstanding work as a Democracy Ambassador within school HAFSA ABDULKADIR, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest - was invited to the Cabinet Office to interview an MP and talk about her outstanding work as a Democracy Ambassador within school IMAAN ABDALLA, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest - was invited to the Cabinet Office to interview an MP and talk about her outstanding work as a Democracy Ambassador within school FATIMAH AYUB, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest - was invited to the Cabinet Office to interview an MP and talk about her outstanding work as a Democracy Ambassador within school NADIA MOHAMED, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest - was invited to the Cabinet Office to interview an MP and talk about her outstanding work as a Democracy Ambassador within school KAUSAR PATHAN, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest - was invited to the Cabinet Office to interview an MP and talk about her outstanding work as a Democracy Ambassador within school MAARIYAH SADDIQUE, Eden Girls’ School, Waltham Forest - was invited to the Cabinet Office to interview an MP and talk about her outstanding work as a Democracy Ambassador within school

Follow @StarAcademies on Twitter to read more about the amazing accomplishments of our pupils and2019 staff. AUTUMN ISSUE 03

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Starlight - Issue 3 (Autumn 2019)  

Starlight is produced for parents, carers, governors and friends of the Star community. In the Autumn 2019 issue you can read about our sc...

Starlight - Issue 3 (Autumn 2019)  

Starlight is produced for parents, carers, governors and friends of the Star community. In the Autumn 2019 issue you can read about our sc...