The Governors at Arrow Vale made the decision to become an RSA Academy, recognising the huge benefits the school would gain by being so closely affiliated to the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (more widely known as the Royal Society of Arts).
The school, in doing so, joined a small family of Academies, the RSA Family of Academies in an umbrella trust, with The RSA Academy, Tipton and Whitley Academy – an RSA Academy, being the other members. Our Trust was, however, set up as a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) in its own right, so that Ipsley CE Middle School could join with Arrow Vale in a formal legal arrangement. Ipsley joined our MAT as Ipsley CE RSA Academy in January 2013, and of course also joined the RSA Family of Academies.
The DfE, in recognising Arrow Vale’s success, made the school a National Support School, and appointed Guy Shears as a National Leader of Education in 2015. The school became a National Teaching School in September 2015 as part of the RSA Academies Teaching School Alliance, thereby being able to train teachers and use staff expertise to support other schools.
The MAT expanded to four schools in March 2016, when the other middle school in the Arrow Vale pyramid in Redditch, Church Hill Middle School, along with one of it’s two First schools, sharing the same site, Abbeywood First School, chose to join the Trust. The Trust now had seamless curriculum delivery in the Redditch Pyramid from aged 9-19, and for the pupils at Abbeywood, from Early Years all through to 19 years of age. The two schools on the Church Hill site were led by one Executive Headteacher, Di Smith, with one Local Academy Governing Board holding to account the leadership across the two schools. The Trust was the first to have primary provision within the wider RSA Family of Academies.
The Trust Board, recognising the many benefits that would be derived through expansion of the Trust, both for current pupils and staff, but also for pupils and staff of schools that subscribe strongly to the vision of the MAT and to the values of the RSA. To this end, Trustees took the decision to rename the MAT in 2017 as Central RSA Academies Trust (CRSAAT).
The DfE, in recognising Abbeywood’s Success, made the school a National Support School in July 2017, and Di Smith a National Leader of Education. The Trust therefore has high level expertise with National Leaders of Education in both Primary and Secondary sectors.
The Governors at The RSA Academy, Tipton, decided to join the Central RSA Academies Trust in September 2017, recognising the many benefits that would be derived through being in a formal relationship with four other RSA Academies (see Why Join Us? (Schools)). Already a member of the RSA Family of Academies, the fit with the vision of the MAT was a very strong one, and the establishment of a North and South hub for the Trust as made.
In September 2017, the CRSAAT became the lead organisation, as the Accounting Trust, for the RSA Academies Teaching School Alliance. The three-way partnership with Whitely in Coventry, and Holyhead (also an RSA Academy) in Birmingham, both ‘Outstanding’ (Ofsted) schools, goes from strength to strength. We trained a large number of secondary teachers in 2016-17, and the Trust took its first cohort of Primary trainees in September 2017.
At this point, Trustees took the decision to open a small central office in Birmingham, to house the central services of the Central RSA Academies Trust, but more so to enable and central meeting, training and events venue for all the schools in our Trust, the wider family of academies, the RSA TSA and indeed RSA Fellows to make use of. It is suitably sighted in a creative industries venue in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter in Newhall Street, Birmingham (see How We Work).
Abbeywood was designated a teaching school in May 2018.
In January of 2019 Sutton Park Primary joined the MAT, making it our fourth academy with primary provision. A one-form entry urban school with both a Nursery and Mainstream Language Unit, Sutton Park grows our strength and expertise in this Key Stage. Since joining the MAT, Sutton Park has had two teachers designated as SLE’s who are now part of our school to school support team.
In October 2019 two additional schools joined the Trust, Oldbury Park Primary RSA Academy in Worcester and St. Stephen’s CE RSA Academy in Redditch.
Our latest addition is Arrow Valley First School in Redditch, which opened in April 2021.
The Trust is actively seeking primary and secondary schools who genuinely subscribe to the Trust’s vision for its’ schools from within the West Midlands Conurbation. If you are interested please contact Guy Shears, Executive Principal/CEO, for an informal discussion.