Posted on: 5/07/2021 Today, Danes Educational Trust launch 'The Partnership' to provide exceptional teacher training for graduates and career changers who have chosen to become teachers. Having been a Teaching School for 9 years under the expert leadership of Josephine Valentine, today is the day we say a fond farewell to our Alliance and welcome our new strategy through Danes Educational Trust: ‘The Partnership’.
As the first Monday in July, this is traditionally our Joint INSET day when over 500 of our Alliance colleagues have joined together to share best practice; to listen to key note speakers such as Andy Buck, Alison Peacock and Martin Robinson, and to remind ourselves of the power of collaboration and system leadership. This is a day we have had to forego for two years now in light of COVID and, as such, it is a remote goodbye to our Alliance’s strategic partners Dr Challoner’s High School, The Chalfonts Community College, St Michael’s Catholic High School, Beaconsfield High School, Croxley Danes School, Queens’ School, Parmiter’s School, Chessbrook ESC, University of Hertfordshire, Herts for Learning and, of course, our Lead School, St Clement Danes.
Enormous thanks go, in particular, to Ed Conway and Nick Daymond, both National Leaders of Education, who, along with Josie, had the vision and will to forge a partnership that has had such significant impact. An impact most apparent in colleagues’ professional development; the recruitment of fabulous teachers to schools across Hertfordshire and beyond, and, most importantly, the life chances of those children beyond our Alliance schools who have benefitted from school to school support programmes and the expertise of our Specialist Leaders of Education, senior leaders and expert colleagues over time.
Despite an obvious sadness at the end of our Alliance, we are however mindful that the strength of our partnerships remains and, as such, we are delighted to announce that, having been granted Lead School status for the delivery of Initial Teacher Training, Danes Educational Trust will continue to work in partnership with University of Hertfordshire and our Bucks Hub, Dr Challoner’s High School for Girls, to recruit our next generation of teachers across both secondary and primary phase from September 2021. Information relating to our programmes, key contacts and recruitment process may be found here.
We look forward to welcoming applications to TRAIN TO TEACH at our schools.
We are equally delighted that we will continue to work with Best Practice Network (partners since 2017 in the delivery of legacy NPQs) through roll-out of the Early Career Framework across our Danes Educational Trust: ‘The Partnership’ schools. Forty-five Early Career Teachers are due to join our schools from September 2021 and we look forward to providing them with high quality, bespoke support through our twelve trained facilitators drawn from senior leaders and lead practitioners across our schools; our suite of mentors and coaches and, of course, our colleagues at Best Practice Network itself.
If you would like to continue to follow us, we are now on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook @DanesEdTrust. We look forward to you joining us in the next phase of our work and ongoing development together.
Posted on: 16/06/2021 Chancellor's School address equality, equity and diversity across school community As schools went into the first COVID lockdown and before the events surrounding the death of George Floyd, very few members of Chancellor's School would have been able to articulate an accurate definition of such words as micro-aggression, unconscious bias and cisgender.
What a difference a year makes! Over the course of the last year, Chancellor’s has undertaken something of a mini-revolution in how it addresses equality, equity and diversity (EED) across our entire school community.
They have taken a forthright and forensic approach to promoting equality, ensuring equity and celebrating diversity. Crucially much of the work has been led by students. Firstly, Sixth Formers who initially challenged the school to explore micro-aggressions within the local community and more recently, the whole-school staff and student working parties, who are collaborating to raise awareness across a number of different platforms, such as race, gender, sexuality and disability.
Already this year they have successfully promoted a ‘cultural calendar’, celebrating different aspects of school diversity through form period activities, weekly lock screens, library reading recommendations and presentations, newsletter and bulletin articles and physical displays. Black History Month in October and LGBT+ History month in February served as an opportunity to improve the community’s race and gender literacy, while whole school surveys helped them to understand the day-to-day challenges that different members of the school community face in relation to race. A highlight of the programme was a thought-provoking whole staff INSET on micro-aggressions and diversity awareness.
Their next phase of work is building on these strong foundations to establish a robust and resilient EED legacy across the school. The students have created an ‘EED Charter’, thier expectations of a rights respecting community to be observed by anyone belonging to or joining the school. Furthermore, they are challenging subject leads, as they reflect on their curriculum planning, to identify where they can fully embed Creators, Perspectives, Content and Visuals in their schemes of learning. On a pastoral level, Chancellor's School are looking into further tackling period poverty and providing extra channels of communication to capture the school experience of all students and as they welcome the construction of a new Maths and PE block, they are requisitioning a vacated space for a reflection and wellbeing room for all students. They continue, wherever possible, to engage with local diversity organisations and are creating a monthly vlog to record the ongoing work they are doing. They are very excited that this work has caught the attention of a local MP, and look forward to welcoming him into school when the opportunity arises to share the substantial work.
This is a never-ending programme, that can and should always be enriched and enhanced, but, with a fantastically committed team of students and staff on board, CHancellor's School community can be confident they are already beginning to make a tangible and sustainable difference.
Posted on: 16/06/2021 OSA Y8 Students Graduate from the Brilliant Club Twelve year 8 students at Onslow St Audrey’s School in Hatfield have celebrated their virtual graduation following a university-style tutorial programme with a PHD tutor from King’s College, London.
Organised by the education charity ‘The Brilliant Club’, the students took part in ‘The Scholars Programme’ where they took on the challenge of becoming ‘Disease Detectives’ and completing a series of virtual lectures with their tutor. To graduate, the students then had to independently research and complete a 1500-word university-style assignment, which were submitted and marked by the university tutor. The programme was a resounding success, with half of the students achieving the highest grade of a first, and the other half achieving a 2.1 qualification.
Due to the lockdown rules, students took part in a virtual graduation-style celebration event alongside schools from up and down the UK, receiving certificates to mark their fantastic achievement and to congratulate them on completing the course.
Every student gained an insight into what university style learning looks like, taking part in confidence-building discussions with university staff and students and why they might want to apply in the future. Completing the programme was no mean feat, especially since the students had to complete the sessions during the spring term on top of their lockdown learning timetable at school. Mr. Finn, who was running the programme, said, “I am delighted that they have completed this at such a difficult time. The amount of resilience they have shown to keep up with the workload and the degree of challenge was inspiring. It has been a pleasure to work with them and I have been lucky to be a part of the process”.
Each student studied with their PHD researcher on the topic of contagious diseases, logging into virtual sessions and completing homework alongside their research from home. At the end of the course, they were given a deadline upon which they had to submit their assignments on how to tackle an outbreak of Malaria in Mali, Africa.
Year 8 student, Daniel Tual said, “The programme was challenging and fun and it was great to have the chance to learn about something that we wouldn’t normally do at school. I feel that getting this university grade puts me one step ahead, and if I choose university in the future, I am prepared for it”.
Posted on: 20/05/2021 Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at Danes Educational Trust In 2018 when our Trust was on the cusp of expanding beyond its original 2 schools, we brought together key stakeholders – teachers, support staff, governors and Trustees - to identify what is important for us and what we want our legacy to be. Out of this vision day, we identified 6 core values which underpin everything we do, one of these values is “we provide equality of opportunity and experience for all”.
It wasn’t until May 2020 and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement that we really reflected on how well we were living this value and whether there was more that could be done to advance equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in our schools.
St Clement Danes school decided to lead the way on auditing its current EDI practice with a view to achieving an external benchmark that would quality assure its commitment to equality. In part, this was in response to the challenge from current and former students demanding a more inclusive environment, a challenge welcomed by the school. The benchmark chosen was the Equaliteach Equalities Award which includes a rigorous audit of EDI practice aligned to Ofsted’s inspection framework: Behaviour and Welfare, Leadership and Management, Personal Development of Pupils and Teaching and Learning.
In order to bridge identified gaps, the school created a new, compelling vision for EDI: “At St Clement Danes we are committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for all pupils, staff, parents and carers and embracing the difference they bring to our school community. We want everyone in our school community to experience kindness and respect; and to be treated with the dignity they deserve”. The vision is supported by robust equality objectives, an EDI staff working group and an EDI student group. All staff have received training on the Equality Act, Unconscious Bias and the Public Sector Equality Duty and further training in partnership with Equaliteach is planned for the Summer Term.
The school has shown such energy and commitment to achieving the award that it has achieved it in just 8 months, a process that usually takes 18 months and is testament to the efforts of those involved in particular, Sarah Doyle, Assistant Headteacher.
Looking ahead, we would like all schools in our Trust to participate in the Award to ensure that all of our environments are ones where there is equality of opportunity and experience for everyone enabling all members of our community to be the best they can be.
Head of Human Resources
Read more about the work done at St Clement Danes School as part of the audit in the article on their website.
Posted on: 29/04/2021 Old Dane publishes debut novel Simon Elson, who studied at St Clement Danes from 2012 – 2019, has published his first book ‘Hades Forest’ which will be available to purchase on Amazon from 1st May.
Simon spoke to Rachel Brindley, our Trust Improvement Director and Simon’s English Literature A Level teacher about publishing the book:
“I chose to self-publish the book so I can keep a greater percentage of profits per sale. Self-publishing also means that I don’t have to sign a contract that forbids me from ever switching genre for the rest of my writing career. I was offered a contract by a few small and medium-sized traditional publishers, but I turned them down. We will see if that decision pays off!”
He told Rachel her teaching continues to inspire him after leaving St Clement Danes:
“Thank you so much for two amazing years of teaching. The more time passes since my SCD experience, the more I look back on it with a grin like a Cheshire cat. You really inspired in me a passion for writing and reading that I didn’t know I had, and as you can clearly see, that has had a lasting impact on me far beyond school. Whether my writing is a success or not, I still find immense enjoyment in literature, and that’s mainly because of you. Thank you!”
We wish Simon the very best of luck with the launch of ‘Hades Forest’. You can order a copy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3dEdFtz
Blurb from ‘Hades Forest’
Five tribes fight to the death
Only one can survive
In a dark vision of the near future, the Holy State of Borea is indoctrinating its citizens. No one is allowed to speak out against the government.
But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire for freedom - not for Perry Benson, at least. While his wife falls more and more in love with the state's regime, he searches for a way out.
His path forward becomes clear, and he escapes to a distant forest. The repressive state cannot find him here – yet he is not the only one living between the trees.
Perry must fight for his life, and unravel the government’s secrets… before he is killed by one of the five tribes of Hades Forest.
Posted on: 1/04/2021 Elstree Screen Arts Academy joins Danes Educational Trust On Thursday 1st April, Elstree Screen Arts Academy joined Danes Educational Trust – a multi-academy trust with schools in South and Mid Hertfordshire. The academy is excited about this strategic move and the increased scope and potential for collaboration it will bring.
Principal Chris Mitchell said “We are proud to be joining the Danes Educational Trust. As a leading, specialist creative academy for the culture industries, Elstree Screen Arts Academy can’t wait to bring our creative and technical zeal to this superb trust. We work with some of the best creative industry partners in the world and now we are joining an outstanding educational trust who believe in ‘making the difference together’. This is a defining moment in the brilliant Elstree Screen Arts Academy story.”
Students from the academy celebrated by recording this short video talking about their hopes for the future. You can watch the video here: - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnBfbs0sAHk
The Danes Educational Trust is committed to ensuring that all its learners benefit from being part of the Trust and the opportunities afforded by this closer relationship. Following the move, the academy will keep its existing identity, including its ethos, motto and name, but students and staff will reap the benefits of collaboration on staff recruitment, training and projects of both an educational and resourcing nature.
The Danes Educational Trust was formed when St Clement Danes School, an outstanding school in Chorleywood, was asked to open a second school in South West Hertfordshire – Croxley Danes School. The Trust now comprises of two further schools Chancellor’s School and Onslow St Audrey’s School and primary school De Havilland.
Its CEO, Dr Josephine Valentine OBE was Headteacher at St Clement Danes for 20 years and is thrilled to be welcoming ESA into the Trust. “Danes Educational Trust is delighted and excited that Elstree Screen Arts Academy has joined our family of schools. The addition of this vibrant and exciting Academy will further enhance the diversity, joy and creativity experienced by students and staff across Danes Educational Trust. Working in partnership with schools to improve educational outcomes and experience for all is at the heart of our commitment to our learners”.