Our Values And Ethos
The Willow Tree Academy promotes and cultivates an ethos based on a system of shared values and beliefs. These are the heartbeat of our organisation.
Passion — Working in education, we have the ability to profoundly change children’s lives; the stakes are incredibly high. Our aim should always be to provide for the pupils of our Academies what we would want for our own children.
Positivity — Staff have a responsibility to be positive and supportive of each other. Negativity leads to low expectations and a culture where excuses are tolerated.
Aspiration — Embodied in the Trust motto, “Together anything is possible” all members of staff aim for excellence in their individual professional roles.
Commitment — Staff are prepared to go the extra mile to provide the best possible education for their pupils. The interests of children are always placed ahead of those of staff.
Tenacity— The amount of time children spend in education is finite, there is a sense of urgency to our core purpose. We have a responsibility to ensure every moment a child is in a Willow Tree Academy school must be spent productively. Once wasted, it is gone forever and cannot be given back. We teach children to be resilient and tenacious in their quest for learning and expect the same of our staff.
An important bi-product of the above values must be an enduring sense of dissatisfaction with the status quo. Whilst it is right that achievements are celebrated, the focus remains on the challenges ahead. PACT forms the basis of initial discussions with prospective employees of the Willow Tree Academy.
Willow Tree Academy is committed to improving the life chances of all children. This moral obligation, our mission, does not end at the school gates. Where Willow Tree schools have the capacity to make a difference, they are morally bound to do so and will work with the wider community and other agencies to achieve positive outcomes for children and their families
Consistency of approach
Involvement in the Willow Tree Academy requires that partner schools maintain consistency within their own organisations and across the Trust. The principle of “no opt-out” is adhered to by staff in order to maximise the impact of agreed policies and approaches.
All Willow Tree Academy staff are considered to be leaders. It is the responsibility of all adults to drive and contribute to their school improvement agenda.
Willow Tree schools promote behaviours that lead to success. Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their own behaviour, so their learning and the learning of others is maximised. All members of staff are required to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and work as a team across the individual schools and the trust as a whole to create Climates for Learning that are second-to-none.
Teaching and Learning
Willow Tree schools maintain a relentless and rigorous focus on raising standards through the learning skills curriculum, particularly in the core areas of Reading, Writing and Mathematics.
High quality teaching, learning and assessment
Willow Tree schools aim to ensure all their children receive high quality teaching every day. Rigorous assessment informs planning to meet the individual needs of all pupils. A dynamic curriculum Willow Tree schools operate the same creative and vibrant, skills-based curriculum which aims to give every child the opportunity to fulfil their potential. This is based on first-hand experience and is designed to develop Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural education. Enterprise, Sport, the Arts and ICT underpin our curriculum and provide a profound primary experience for all our pupils.
Committed to inclusion
Willow Tree schools are non-selective, learning communities that value the abilities and achievements of all their pupils. Staff are committed to providing for every child the best possible climate for learning. Recognising the entitlement of all pupils to a creative, cohesive curriculum, reinforces the need for teaching that is fully inclusive.
A calm and safe learning environment
Willow Tree Academy promotes a calm, safe, learning environment across all its schools. Although learning aims to be dynamic and fun, from an early age pupils are taught how to return to a place of calm reflection. Behaviours for Learning are actively promoted and all staff are accountable for ensuring the safeguarding of all pupils both within the school and its grounds and beyond.
Embracing new technologies
Willow Tree schools drive their improvement agendas through the strategic application of new technologies. Enhancing the transformational potential of ICT, they invest in new technologies to improve pupil outcomes.
Investing in People
Willow Tree Academy schools consider children to be equal partners in the learning process. As a result, pupils are empowered to become active, responsible learners. Empowering staff through Continuous Professional Development Willow Tree Academy is committed to investing in its workforce. The preferred approach is always “growing our own” employing staff at the beginning of their careers and investing in them so that they become high-calibre professionals. By providing high quality professional development opportunities across the Willow Tree Academy we will contribute to maintaining the highest standards of teaching and learning and assist in recruiting and retaining staff.
Our commitment to a cycle of continuous improvement informed by rigorous monitoring and evaluation ensures that we are never complacent in our achievements. We strive to challenge any underperformance and build on our successes.
Partnership with parents/carers and the wider community
Willow Tree Academy believes that children achieve more when schools, families and the wider community work together in close partnership. Willow Tree schools promote and value the involvement of parents in their children’s education, as this makes a positive difference to achievement.
High quality governance
Aligned to the Willow Tree values, governors provide active support and challenge for the schools they serve, focussing on the three core functions of governance; these are;
o Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
o Holding the EHT/HoS to account for the educational performance of the schools and their pupils, and for the performance management of staff overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
Health and sustainability
Willow Tree Academy encourages member schools to seek environmentally sustainable solutions and to teach the children the importance of adopting healthy lifestyles.
A well-maintained physical environment
Children and staff of Willow Tree schools deserve to work in a well-maintained and orderly physical environment. Cleanliness and tidiness are non-negotiables. “Attention to detail” is emphasised, so that the highest expectations are maintained. High quality resources and the classroom environments that inspire, question and challenge engage children from the moment they enter the door. We are also committed to learning ‘away from the desk’ and so we work hard to ensure our school grounds are also a superb learning resource. Our residential experiences enhance our pupils’ learning experience and we aim to give them memories that last a lifetime.