The Power of Education

Published: January 22, 2024 11:43 am

In the heart of Pontefract, a group of nine schools are making waves in the education sector. Pontefract Academies Trust, comprising of seven primary schools and two secondary schools, was once struggling with underperformance. However, thanks to a significant shift in its leadership and culture, the Trust has undergone a remarkable transformation. Today, it stands tall as an outstanding success story of school improvement, with staff and students playing a vital role in its journey to success.

In 2018, the primary schools’ performance across the Trust was amongst the weakest in the country. But this year, the primary schools’ performance was 26% above the national average, with five of the six primary schools (at the time) in the top 1% of more than 16,000 primary schools across the country.

The secondary schools’ success was recognised in local media, with Carleton High School securing the second highest rank for academic performance, and The King’s School sharing the joint third-highest position amongst all Wakefield secondary schools.

Julian Appleyard OBE, CEO of Pontefract Academies Trust, commented “It is a privilege to lead Pontefract Academies Trust, and I feel immense pride for the incredible transformation the Trust has undergone. Our achievements are a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our staff, students, and our wider community. Our unwavering commitment as a Trust is to offer the best possible education to every child in our care, and we will continue to do so.”

This significant improvement in the education offered to students, the investment in staff, and the investment in buildings and outdoor spaces is a testament to the full 360-degree change that has taken place across the Trust. The transformation of Pontefract Academies Trust is an inspiring example of how a committed leadership team and strong staffing body can make a real difference to the lives of students and families.

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