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Who are Willows Academy Trust?

Willows Academy Trust is a primary schools’ Multi-Academy Trust which was founded in November 2014 and comprises of Dovedale Primary School, Sawley Infant School, Sawley Junior School and Shardlow Primary School. The Trust is located between Nottingham and Derby. - The ethos behind the Trust is one of sustainable school improvement; and schools joining the Trust do so with the prime aim of improving each other so that they can all become outstanding schools.


All schools within the Trust have access to the professional expertise and development opportunities offered by the Trust and associated partners such as: Nottingham Bluecoat SCITT, Northworthy and Derbyshire Partnership for Learning, Nottingham and Derby University.


Willows Academy Trust offers the following support to schools:


Conversion support

Schools joining the Trust will be supported through the conversion process by the Trust’s Chief Financial Officer.


School improvement and review

Schools in the Trust can access the following support for school improvement:

  • Self-evaluation health check including:
    • analysis and evaluation of whole-school approaches to self-evaluation;
    • support for action planning;
    • and identification of impact measures
  • Termly data and progress review supported by the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Team.
  • Impact Team development – leaders and aspirant leaders working across the Trust to analyse and identify priorities for school improvement
  • Support and training for governors
  • Headteacher Performance Management including review and setting of targets, and monitoring achievement
  • Leadership development for staff through the Trust and partner organisations.
  • Professional development opportunities for all staff through the Trust and our partners.


Finance management

Finance and Business Managers receive support from the Chief Financial Officer, and work together as a group to develop and share practice. Schools in the Trust use a common finance management system. The Trust is responsible for ensuring that schools meet the requirements for the annual accounts.


Economies of scale

As the Trust grows schools will increasingly enjoy the benefits of collective contracts e.g. for payroll, legal support, Educational Psychology, EWO, speech and language, HR and insurance.


Joint policy development

While the Trust does not seek to impose central policies on schools, there have to be some policies which are common across the Trust e.g. pay policy. These have been developed jointly through discussion within the Executive Team, Trustees and with staff. Such common policy development also saves individual schools from having to ‘re-invent the wheel’ when statutory policies need reviewing or updating.


Opportunity to be part of growing and developing the Trust

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Through the Executive Team, Strategic Heads Group and representatives on the Board of Directors, schools within the Trust have the opportunity to shape and grow the Trust.