Lisa Mannall, Trust Lead

Last Tuesday (16th November), Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Education Children’s services and Skills, announced that Ofsted has been given additional funding through the Spending Review 2021. This additional funding is to ensure that all schools and colleges will be inspected at least once by Summer 2025. Schools will continue to receive either graded or ungraded inspections depending on their circumstances.

Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector said:

“Schools and colleges have worked tirelessly to teach and support children and learners, at a time when their education has been seriously disrupted.

“Children only get one chance at school. Everyone working in education must do everything they can to give this generation the best possible chance to fulfil its potential. Ofsted will play its part – by giving parents and learners up to date information, and by helping schools and colleges shape their plans. I’m pleased that we will now be able to reach all schools, colleges and apprenticeship providers by summer 2025.”

There are many different opinions about Ofsted and I have had experiences that have caused me to love them and loath them. Edu Twitter is currently full of people complaining about the fact that schools are currently being inspected at all, whilst many want to be inspected so they can move on. Many schools have very outdated Ofsted gradings, and if schools wish to move on from a ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate judgement’, then the inspectorate can’t come quick enough. If you are sitting on an old Outstanding, you may not be quite so keen!

My opinion of Ofsted is that, in the majority of cases, they get it right. Having been involved in the sponsorship of failing schools both as a school leader and as Regional Schools Commissioner, it is never because the Team were “obsessed with the data.” In Inadequate schools the pupils are being systemically failed by leaders, if the data is poor then usually the culture and ethos are too. Off rolling, bad behaviour, lack of ambition, poor provision and weak financial management are just some of the reasons a school may fail. In my experience where there is a case of weak leadership, this is where pupils need strong leadership the most. The best and most reflective school leaders will agree with a judgement in hindsight, weak leaders will blame everything but themselves.

Ofsted is not perfect, but education needs to have an accountability system and we must work with it.

Lisa Mannall, Trust Lead

I became a teacher in 1994, when there was no such thing as Newly Qualified Teacher Status (NQT) and there was no Planning Preparation and Assessment (PPA) time. The adage of get in the classroom and we will see you at Christmas was true, and I “enjoyed” an inspection in my first year of teaching. So much has changed over the years and the recent cabinet reshuffle made me reflect on the number of Secretaries of State there have been over this time.

Secretary of StateLength of TermPartyPrime Minister
Gillian Shepard2 years 9 monthsConservativeJohn Major
David Blunkett4 years 1 monthLabourTony Blair
Estelle Morris1 year 4 monthsLabourTony Blair
Charles Clarke2 years 1 monthLabourTony Blair
Ruth Kelly1 year 4 monthsLabourTony Blair
Alan Johnson1 year 1 monthLabourTony Blair
Ed Balls2 years 10 monthsLabourGordon Brown
Michael Gove4 years 2 monthsConservativeDavid Cameron
Nicky Morgan1 year 11 monthsConservativeDavid Cameron
Justine Greening1 year 5 monthsConservativeTheresa May
Damian Hinds1 year 6 monthsConservativeTheresa May
Gavin Williamson2 years 1 monthConservativeBoris Johnson
Nadim ZahawiWe shall see…ConservativeBoris Johnson

Since I became a teacher there have been 13 different Secretaries of State in place. How many do you remember or have even heard of?

Over that time the title has changed. In 1995, Gillian Shephard stopped being Secretary of State for Education and became Secretary of State for Education and Employment. David Blunkett kept that title but in 2001 became Secretary of State for Education and Skills, but in 2007 Ed Balls was Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. At the end of his tenure the title was once again Secretary of State for Education, as it remains today.

Many are remembered for specific policies, while some are not remembered at all. Important for me are Estelle Morris resigning her post in October 2002, explaining she did not feel up to the job. An honesty that has been missing over the last 2 years.

Michael Gove and the whole Academy agenda changing from it being about failing schools to becoming about successful ones becoming system leaders.

The memory I have today is that for over two years education has had a Secretary of State who was sacked as Defence Secretary following a leak from a top-level National Security Council meeting. The Prime Minister at the time had “lost confidence in his ability to serve”.  The next Prime Minister put him in charge of the most precious thing the country has, our children and young people. A man who cannot tell the difference between Marcus Rashford and Maro Itoje – was it the fact they are both young men trying to do their best for our most disadvantaged children that confused him?

So, for my last few years in education, please may we have someone good. Someone who makes us all feel proud, valued, and listened to. Watch this space!

Sarah Karkeek, Deputy Trust Lead

It has been my pleasure to be the Deputy Trust Lead of Cornwall Education Learning Trust (CELT) since its formation in November 2019. Prior to this I was CEO of Newquay Education Trust, one of the two successful trusts that merged to form CELT. Since that time, it has been my privilege to work alongside Lisa Mannall, our Trust Lead, and all the amazing staff we have in our schools and offices.

Although still a young trust, CELT is a progressive trust focused on working together, across all key stages to ensure that every young person who attends a CELT school has the best chance of reaching their potential, irrespective of their starting point.

The wonderful thing about CELT is that you can start with us as a preschooler and finish ready for university at 18!

I started my career as a secondary school teacher before having children of my own and co-founding, with my husband, a day nursery as there was no local provision for our own children! This developed into a nursery chain, which is now prominent throughout the south west.

In my spare time, I am a National Leader of Governance, having been a governor for over thirty years in a variety of schools – all at different stages of their journey. I have enjoyed training other governors and helping schools who have been struggling. It has been my privilege to work with all age ranges, in small rural schools and in large urban settings.

I am proud to be the first Chair of Governors for the new CELT school, Newquay Primary Academy, which will open in September 2021, just as I retire from my role as Deputy Trust Lead!

Situated in the grounds of Newquay Tretherras, this two-form entry school will grow year-on-year with a reception class joining this year – the class of 2021 will be the first year group in a brand-new school, built to serve the needs of Newquay Town families.

The children will receive a rich, rounded education in a nurturing and stimulating environment under the guidance, and with the support of, our excellent staff:

Craig Hayes – Executive Head

Gemma Wilson – Reception Teacher

Sasha Biggers –Teaching Assistant/ Reception

Tracey Payne – Senior Secretary

Hannah Amos – Office Manager

So, NPA’s staff are all in place, the governing body is in place and we now look forward to working with the children and their families as they start their formal education journey on a site they may not leave until they are eighteen!

Welcome to NPA! Exciting times are ahead of us…

Over the last year and half, at CELT we have been researching and developing our approaches to ‘Closing the Gap’ and, in particular, defining the most effective ways we can support our most disadvantaged learners. We have looked at the guidance coming from NFER, The Chartered College, National Literacy Trust and the research from the EEF to ensure we are making confident decisions about our practice.

Earlier this month, three of our schools contributed to the inaugural conference held by the International Centre for Educational Enhancement (ICEE) at Bolton University, showcasing the ways we had developed our schools with a focus on ‘excellence through equity’. The conference was focused around the ‘past, present and future of school improvement and system reform’ – with Professor David Hopkins‘ keynote drawing on the following themes:

  • High Excellence, High Equity: Noting that internationally, the highest performing education systems and jurisdictions ensure that ALL learners attain highly – Korea, Finland, Canada… and the need for us to re-frame our approaches to focus on equity first.
  • Evidence-based research: Teachers are professional practitioners and as such require autonomy – using systematic self-reflection and classroom study to research and develop their skills.

These themes ran throughout the conference, with input from a broad range of international experts. Prof Alma Harris, Prof Anthony Mackay and Prof Graham Handscomb provided further insight and reflections in their presentations about the past and present challenges for education and school leaders.

It was clear from the contributors that the future landscape requires four key drivers to raise achievement and build capacity for the next stage of education reform:

  1. Personalised learning
  2. Professionalised teaching
  3. Building intelligent accountability
  4. Networking and collaboration

It is reassuring to see that these themes are reflected in work that is already underway here at CELT – from our Closing the Gap strategy to our school improvement and quality assurance platforms, and our continued work on literacy with the National Literacy Trust. All these initiatives clearly show that we are on the right track.  

The culmination of the ICEE conference event was the awarding of Laboratory School status to 20 schools, of which CELT’s Brannel School was one. The principles and best of practice of a Laboratory School are:

  1. The exemplification of research-based classroom practice.
  2. As a setting for peer-to-peer learning and professional development.
  3. As a display and example of the practices and management arrangements associated with Instructional Leadership.
  4. Building capacity through networking by collaborating with other schools and partners to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
  5. Providing a site for the research into educational practice both for Masters & Doctoral degrees as well as funded research projects.

Marc Cooper (Deputy Headteacher) received the award on behalf of Brannel School and represented CELT along with Craig Hayes (Executive Headteacher, Newquay Junior Academy, Newquay Primary Academy), Gemma Harries (Deputy Headteacher, Newquay Tretherras) and Elizabeth Fletcher (Business Development Lead, CELT).

We are in the middle of a major re-alignment of values. Young activists like Greta Thunberg, and the millions of people they inspire, are campaigning aggressively to bring about political and social change in order to help save our planet. The mobilisation of young people is one of the strongest catalysts to force politicians to understand that things have to change. Cornwall’s Schools’ Eco-Conference, an event spearheaded by Brannel School, a member of the CELT family, is focused on providing an opportunity for school councils and student eco-committees to unite and take actions – small and big – to build a future that is greener, cleaner and fairer.

With 30 schools in attendance from across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the virtual event was timed to coincide with the G7 summit and brought together current and future changemakers from across the world to discuss the global climate crisis and climate justice priorities.

With the ethos ‘think global, act local’, the aim was to motivate young people and provide them with the tools to act as changemakers.  Guest speakers and panellists – including student mentors from Exeter University, Hugo Tagholm from Surfers Against Sewage, Dr Kelly Haynes of the Environment Agency and Bertie Herrtage from Crowdfunder (to name just a few!) – were invited to inspire the student delegates with their changemaker stories.

The students and their eco lead teachers were then challenged to come up with strategies for change that they could take back and deliver in their own schools and communities – ensuring that real change was delivered as a result of the conference. We’re really excited to see the initiatives that come out of the conference across our CELT academies – as well as looking at changes we can make at our offices to support a more sustainable and eco-conscious future.

For more details on the priorities and themes that came from the 2021 Cornwall Schools’ Eco-Conference, please watch:

To find out more about the wider Cornwall Green Schools initiative, please visit:

Supporting our pupils’ mental health and wellbeing across all our academy sites has always been fundamental to our core values. We know instances of mental health problems in children are increasing with one in six children nationally now having a recognisable mental health need.

Our academies are committed to providing a range of approaches to support children’s mental health and wellbeing, both universal and individual.

One such example is Fowey Primary School – one of our CELT academies – who is using equine therapy. The school noticed a trend in girls lacking self-esteem and self-worth, as well as struggling with maintaining friendships. To tackle this head on, this term, Fowey Primary School forged a partnership with Barguse Riding Stables to lead a 12-week programme for groups of girls, including those with physical disabilities.

We are very excited to be launching a research partnership between CELT, Kingsbridge Research School, Cornwall Associate Research School and The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). Our Closing the Gap: Metacognition & Equity for All programme will be formally launched on the 29th January.

What is the Closing the Gap: Metacognition & Equity for All programme? In brief, the programme aims to narrow the attainment gap by focusing on high-quality teaching and, in particular, cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Metacognition and self-regulation approaches aim to help pupils think about their own learning more explicitly, often by teaching them specific strategies for planning, monitoring and evaluating their learning. These approaches have consistently high levels of impact. The EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit states that, when using these approaches, pupils make an average of seven months’ additional progress.

At the same time, EEF programme evaluations suggest that effective partnerships rely not only on the programme content, but on good implementation as well. To give this work the best chance of success, we are supporting the programme in two ways:

Every CELT school will assign a Metacognition Implementation Lead to take responsibility for leading an in-school Implementation Team. In many cases, the school’s Headteacher may wish to take on this role.

As well as match-funding the programme with CELT, the EEF have funded additional wraparound support in the form of three Regional Implementation Leads:

• Marc Cooper: Deputy Headteacher at Brannel School
• Chrysta Garnett: TSC Team South West Strategy Lead
• Andy Brumby: Co-director of Cornwall Associate Research School

The Regional Implementation Leads will provide additional capacity, helping schools implement the programme with fidelity to the seven recommendations from the Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning guidance report. Crucially, these RILs will play a supportive role, working alongside school leaders and their Implementation Teams to help bring about the intended changes in practice. RILs will form a professional relationship with their CELT colleagues built around quality conversations about making and acting on evidence-informed decisions. As such, it’s important to see their role purely as a non-judgmental, professional practice partnership.

Leanne Randall has been appointed to the role of CELT HR Manager with effect from 1st January 2021. Leanne is an experienced HR professional with 14 years’ service within education including primary, secondary, further and higher education. She has particular expertise in resourcing, performance management, training and system development. Most recently Leanne has been working for an outsourced organisation supporting multi academy trusts across Devon and Cornwall with all aspects of HR and organisational strategy.

Leanne holds a Masters in Human Resource Management to underpin her working practice and is regularly participating in CPD to keep her skills current. Leanne has been working with the CELT on the support staff pay review project which has enabled her to develop early working relationships with our schools and she is very much looking forward to having the opportunity to influence the strategic HR for our trust moving forward.

Clare Ridehalgh joined us as our Chief Operating Officer on 1st January 2021. Clare was previously employed as the Deputy CEO (Operations) at Kernow Learning (formerly known as TLAT) and her ability as an operational leader is recognised locally and regionally. Clare is designated as a Specialist Leader in Education for Academy Transition and Business Management. Since her employment by Kernow Learning in 2010, she has undertaken the project management of the conversion process to academy of 18 schools, at the request of the RSC supported the mergers of complex MATs, provided operational support to the re-brokering of academies within MATs, and project managed the merger of ACE and TLAT into Kernow Learning.

Clare joins CELT with an excellent track record in leading on human resources, policy development, financial management, risk management, income generation and estate management. As Company Secretary for Kernow Learning and previously advisor to the KCT, she has led on the development of structure and systems for compliance and governance in Multi Academy Trusts and provided advice and guidance to Directors and Trustees to enable them to make decisions with due regard to statutory and regulatory frameworks. Since being offered the post with CELT, Clare has voluntarily supported CELT to submit a successful funding application to the Low Carbon Skills Fund to support the development of de-carbonisation plans.

Prior to becoming involved in education and the development of academies, Clare’s previous experience was in voluntary sector development work focused on trustee development and volunteer involvement. As National Development Director of SOVA, she was responsible for the development of innovative projects and the management of complex partnership projects with statutory and voluntary sector partners. As Director of MIND, she was responsible for the operational and strategic management of a local voluntary sector mental health service.

As part of the process of opening a new school, Cornwall Education Learning Trust is required to hold a consultation exercise (under Section 10 of the Academies Act 2010) to determine whether the Trust should enter into a funding agreement with the Secretary of State to set up a free school.

We will be running a six-week consultation period from 5th October to 16th November 2020. This consultation is an important part of the pre-opening stage both to raise local awareness of our plans for Newquay Primary Academy and to satisfy the legal requirements around setting up a free school. 

We would very much appreciate you taking the time to complete our consultation questionnaire, particularly if you are a member of the Newquay community.

Link to online questionnaire:

Link to document: