What it means for Kingsdown to be a RLT school   


Introduction:    In September 2017 Kingsdown School will become an official partner of the River Learning Trust [RLT].    In doing so, it will be joining a Multi Academy Trust [MAT] comprising 4 Secondary Schools, 7 Primary Schools, a school-centred Initial Teacher Training provider and a New School in its pre-opening phase.  Between them these will encompass approximately 6,800 students from schools with a wide range of Ofsted gradings with, therefore, a huge wealth of expertise and best practice to share among its partners.  Since October 2016, the RLT has been working with teams, leaders and Governors at Kingsdown and is already making a significant impact on the general confidence across the school, its culture and strategic direction.       


So why did we join the RLT ?   Ofsted reports are crucial to the success of any school and Kingsdown is no exception.  In August 2011 it converted to an Academy having previously been rated "Good with Outstanding features".  More recent inspections, however, judged that it 'Requires Improvement'.   This unwelcome news coincided with a nationwide reduction in school support offered by Local Education Authorities, from which Swindon was no exemption.  Concerned Kingsdown Governors and Senior Leaders, therefore, were left with no alternative but to seek out partners who could fast and effectively turn the situation around.  In the process Governors met and listened to several CEOs from numerous different MATs.  The RLT emerged as their unanimous choice, based on its proven track record.  The principles and vision of the RLT resonated strongly with the vision and values already upheld by Kingsdown School – namely its:

  • commitment to excellence – striving for the best educational experience
  • everyone learning – creating and taking every opportunity to enhance lives and a
  • commitment to respectful relationships – acting with care, integrity and fairness in all we do.


So where do we go from here?  What will it mean to be a RLT School ? 

As a RLT partner we have a first-class CEO in Paul James, with a dedicated SCP [Support and Challenge Partner] in Kate Curtis.  Between these and our new Headteacher, Emma Leigh-Bennett, and Chair of Governors, Lynne Scragg, we are united in the belief that Kingsdown has all the capacity and determination to secure a minimum rating of Good at the next Ofsted inspection.  But schools cannot be about inspections and judgements alone.  Schools are about learning and the life chances of young people.     

So what are the benefits for us and our students?  What will it mean to be a RLT school ?  The RLT:

  • will provide ongoing coaching and mentoring for Kingsdown's leaders  and support them in embedding the required level of school improvement and thereby the best possible outcomes for all our students
  • has access to a wide range of networks which will assist our teams in delivering excellence in and outside of the classroom
  • will provide numerous Professional Development opportunities for our staff – both teaching and professional support staff - and will thereby support our all-important recruitment and retention strategy
  • has the resources and capacity to support with several key operational processes, previously provided by LEAs, such as HR, Financial as well as Governor support
  • lastly, the leaders across the RLT will support Kingsdown in regularly reviewing our Self Evaluation processes – the "where we believe we are" and, more importantly, the "what we need to focus on in order to improve further."  



Emma Leigh-Bennett                                                     



Lynne Scragg

Chair of Governors


21st August 2017