The City of London Academies Trust covers 10 schools in the London boroughs of Hackney, Islington, Southwark and Newham. We support over 7,400 students from inner-London communities. Over two thirds of our students come from a BAME background, 41% are Pupil Premium students and over 30% are eligible for free school meals.
The 10 schools are:
• City of London Academy Southwark (COLAS), a secondary school with sixth form provision;
• Redriff Primary School, a two-form entry primary school in Southwark;
• Galleywall Primary School, a two-form entry primary school in Southwark which opened in September 2016 and currently has children in Reception and Years 1 to 4;
• City of London Academy Shoreditch Park (COLASP), a secondary academy in Hackney which opened in September 2017 and currently has students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 in 2019-20;
• The City Academy Hackney (TCAH), a secondary school with sixth form provision, the Academy joined the Trust in 2020.
• City of London Primary Academy Islington (COLPAI), a two-form entry primary academy which opened in September 2017 and currently has children in Reception and Years 1, 2 and 3;
• City of London Academy Islington (COLAI), a secondary school with sixth form provision. COLAI opened in September 2008 and joined the Trust in 2020.
• City of London Academy Highgate Hill (COLAHH) This was formerly Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls in Islington, a maintained secondary school which closed on 31 August 2017 and reopened as a new academy for boys and girls on 1 September 2017, with its first cohorts of boys now in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10;
• City of London Academy Highbury Grove (COLAHG) This was formerly Highbury Grove School, a maintained secondary school with sixth-form provision in Islington which converted to academy status and joined the Trust from 1 December 2017; and
• Newham Collegiate Sixth Form (NCS), Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre was a sixth-form provision managed by Newham Council. This post-16 provision was transferred to a new 16-19 free school academy which opened on 1 January 2018 as part of the Trust.
This year has been extremely challenging for our teachers, parents and our students. When schools in England reopened in March, many children and young people had faced almost a year of learning disruption. The Education Endowment Foundation has warned this impact is likely to reverse progress made in the last decade to close the education attainment gap. Students in our Academies are part of communities most impacted by the pandemic.
As state schools the Academies are financially independent, but the City Corporation as Sponsor provides extremely important grants (£1.23m 2019-20 allocation) for additionality – for example providing extra-curricular activities, maths classes, wellbeing support, tailored interventions, or helping with applications to universities. To put this in context, this is an allocation of around £120k on average per school, or £166 per student. In addition, we work in partnership with the wider family of schools and have access to other initiatives such as the Culture Mile learning programme. In 2020-21 the City Corporation also provided extra Covid19 emergency funding.
For example, last year the City Corporation provided funding to organise a summer catch up programme and the creation of a new Apprenticeship Academy to support students who are at the risk of being permanently excluded from mainstream education. Both initiatives were successful and made a real difference to the opportunities provided to our students – 345 students attended the summer catch up programme, resulting in improved grades, and last year we only had 1 permanent exclusion due to the Apprenticeship Academy provision.
The City of London Academies Trust aims to provide a high-quality education for all our students. The Trust aims for all schools to be recognised as ‘Outstanding’ within three years of joining the Trust. Of the 7 CoLAT schools that have a current Ofsted rating 5 have been graded as Outstanding one as Good with Outstanding behaviour and the other Good.
At the Trust we believe in empowering local schools and their leadership – both the Principal, their team and the local governing bodies – and we offer one of the lowest central costs compared to other multi-academy trusts or indeed local authority led schools.
We couldn’t achieve this success without our fantastic teachers and staff, but also our local governors who volunteer their time to support our schools. I would therefore like to encourage anyone who is interested to contact me about options to join as a governor or trustee. Together we can make a difference.