School celebrates new era

Staff and children at St Michael’s Church of England primary school, Figheldean have begun a new era in the school's life - marking the first day of their new academy status with a visit from old governors and new trustees.

St Michael’s is one of four schools to have joined a new multi-academy trust – Salisbury Plain Academies. The governance structure of all four schools has changed with the trust now having a Board of Trustees overall and, instead of governors, an Academy Advisory Board (AAB) for each school.

Clare Tunnicliffe, St Michael’s outgoing chair of governors said: “We often spend time in school but we have never spent a whole day in school, all together.”

The governors and trustees spent the day watching different lessons and approaches and discussing different practices with key staff as well as enjoying lunch with pupils.

The group was in the playground at the start of the day, meeting parents, and then reconnecting with them again at the end of the day - at the start of the school’s PTA fayre.

Ms Tunnicliffe who had been a governor at the school since 2008 said the visit was important for two reasons. “Firstly we did this as a whole team and it was something John Croker, our head teacher, really wanted to happen. Secondly, and for me personally, it marks the start of the way the new Academy Advisory Board (AAB) will support the development and improvement of teaching, learning and standards within the new Salisbury Plain Academies.

“The day marked for me, a natural handover as I stand down as chair of governors and hand over the baton for St Michael’s to Mark Budd who has stepped forward to lead the Academy Advisory Board.” 

Ms Tunnicliffe’s new role will be as a trustee and a member of Salisbury Plain Academies. 

She added: “Whilst we achieved a lot at St Michael’s as a traditional governing body, so much more can be achieved for the children and young people in our care through SPA.”

Helen Mathieson CEO of Salisbury Plain Academies agreed, she said:  “Salisbury Plain Academies is intent on giving the children of St Michael’s, and all of its schools, the very best of learning environments and on giving the children who come to our schools whether from our local communities for from further afield as a result of the re-basing exercise on Salisbury Plain the very best of welcomes.”

Salisbury Plain Academies is a multi-academy trust currently consisting of four schools: Durrington All SaintsBulford St Leonard’sAvon Valley College and St Michael’s.