Updated 29th September 2017
Esk Valley Cluster
Castleton School is one of a number of small rural schools in the Esk Valley serving a sparsely populated rural area. Staff in the schools meet regularly to plan and train together, sharing expertise and skills This cooperative approach extends to the children and we enthusiastically encourage them to meet up, work with and compete with children from other schools in the area. Through this approach we hope to extend children’s social and educational horizons, and prepare them for the larger communities they will part of when leaving for secondary school. Whilst we would always seek to retain the identity of our own school, we recognise the importance of working with other small schools, particularly those closest in distance. It is our aim to share expertise and resources as often as possible to ensure our children have experiences of the highest quality. We hope to develop ‘healthy’ competition between schools and see the Esk Valley network as a logical, supportive progression from the days when small schools worked in isolation. The EVA is now sharing a common approach in the following ways:-
- Joint planning
- Some joint School Development Plan
- Sharing of staff across the partnership
- Joint events
Esk Valley Alliance (EVA)
The Esk Valley Alliance consists of over 40 partners and includes large and small schools from Whitby and Esk Valley area, Scarborough, Ryedale and Redcar and Cleveland. It grew from Castleton, Glaisdale and St.Heddas, as outstanding schools, becoming 'Teaching Schools'. A Teaching school grows partners around them to focus on 6 main areas of school improvement.
- Supporting schools in difficulty (StSS). Castleton and Glaisdale are also 'National Support Schools'. This means that we are asked to provide a team or individuals to support schools. So far we have supported over 20 small and large schools in Whitby area, Scarborough and Ryedale. We draw our support team from the whole of the Alliance - i.e. we know where the exceptional teachers and leaders are and we ask schools to release them to support another school.
- Initial Teacher Training (ITT) - this year we have 7 trainee teachers and next year we have places for 10. Egton School is the lead school. We use all our partner schools to offer placements to the trainees and our staff from across our partner schools deliver the training programme. York St.John University, as one of our partners, is the licensee.
- Continuous Professional development (CPD). We provide a CPD programme which includes network meetings, and bespoke training for our partners.
- Research – Settrington Primary School in Ryedale, one of our partners, has become a research School for the North Yorkshire Coast area. This is a hugely important role where the school will link us to a York Research school. It means that we can ensure all our work is evidence based.
- Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs). These are experienced and good/outstanding teachers. We use SLEs from across our partner schools to support all the other areas.
- Leadership Development – Part of our agenda is to develop leaders (see above – SLEs). We also have leading headteachers (LLEs- Local Leaders of Education), consultant headteachers and an NLE (National leader of Education). These leaders also support all the above areas.
North Yorkshire Primary School Teaching Alliances (NYPSTA)
There are 8 Primary Teaching school Alliances in North Yorkshire, including EVA. We work together to develop a coordinated approach and avoid duplication across the county.
Endeavour Learning Academy Trust (ELAT)
A Multi Academy Trust (MAT) is a more formal partnership. It currently consists of Castleton, Glaisdale, Lealholm, West Cliff and Airy Hill Primary Schools. We expect ELAT to grow. MATs are still very high profile on the government agenda, although there has been less media coverage of late. We also expect that some schools in the Esk Valley Teaching School Alliance may belong to a different MAT but the Teaching School Alliance will continue to link the schools. Our academy conversion date is November 1st although we recognise that legal proceedings may mean delays. We will keep you informed.