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New name for ‘troubled’ Steiner Academy

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Steiner Academy in Frome has been renamed Avanti Park School after its management was formally taken over by Avanti Schools Trust.

The multi-academy trust has vowed to ‘raise standards’ at the school, which was placed into ‘Special Measures’ after it was rated as ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted in January this year.

The trust will also be undertaking a review of the school’s curriculum to align the school with the ‘Avanti Way’ – the trust’s own education philosophy.

News of the formal transfer comes as parents and pupils await news of the outcome of a recent consultation to change the age range at the school from 3 to 16 to 3 to 13 – which would end the school’s GCSE offer. The change was proposed by the trust’s board of trustees, and the management committee at the school.

Executive principal at the newly-named Avanti Park School, Sue Rogers said, “I am pleased that the transfer has now happened after months of uncertainty and I, together with my colleagues, parents and pupils, look forward to working with Avanti to ensure the school continues to rapidly improve the learning opportunities for each and every pupil.”

Mike Younger, the chair of Avanti Schools Trust board of trustees said, “The trustees and senior leadership team of the Avanti Schools Trust are delighted to welcome the students, parents and school staff from the former south-west Steiner schools at Bristol, Exeter and Frome into the Avanti family of schools. 

“Central to Waldorf education (also known as Steiner education) and to the Avanti Way is developing a teaching methodology which strives to develop pupils’ intellectual, artistic and practical skills in an integrated and holistic way. 

“So whilst there will be changes, the Avanti trustees have given a commitment to work to raise standards in each school, by offering a coherent, invigorating and challenging education which transforms and improves these schools, and which excites and motivates all who learn and teach in them.”

Avanti Schools Trust has appointed Carolyn Dickinson, a serving HMI Ofsted inspector as its South West Hub director. Carolyn is a former secondary headteacher and will have oversight of all three former Steiner Academy schools.

A spokesperson for the trust continues, “Avanti Schools Trust made clear that it values aspects of the educational insights of Waldorf education and this has been an important consideration for why it chose to express an interest in sponsoring the three South West schools.  

“The aim of the planned curriculum review is to investigate how the curriculum in the three re-brokered schools can be aligned with aspects of Waldorf principles which are in synergy with the Avanti Way. 

“The review team will be asked to consult with school based stakeholders about the scope of the planned review soon after the date of transfer (1st November). 

“The board of trustees will be tasking the review team to report back in late March 2020 and to make clear recommendations regarding the curriculum offer in each school from September 2020. The desire of trustees is to provide a curriculum that is coherent and planned to be able to offer a sequence of learning opportunities that will provide cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for students’ future learning and employment.”

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