The Trinity Federation

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Trinity Federation is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Executive Headteacher
Rich learning opportunities
in EYFS through play
The Trinity Federation consists of three Church of England
maintained primary schools based in Shropshire. Two
of the three schools are within Hereford Diocese and
the other is in Lichfield Diocese. While each school has its
own identity and character, they share a governing body, an
executive headteacher, a director of teaching and learning,
and a federation Senco. Executive Headteacher Claire Gaskin
explains how the union of the three schools came to be and
discusses how it operates in the best interests of its students.
Prior to our formal federation in September 2014, the governing body of Worfield
Endowed CE Primary School had been proactively exploring various models of
collaborative working. Worfield School was a “good” school, with an effective
governing body, a strong leadership team and a balanced budget, but governors
recognised the need to explore alternative ways of working to ensure the future
sustainability of their school in a changing educational landscape.
Joining a federation
In March 2014, the local authority brokered discussions between the governing
bodies of Worfield School and St Mary’s Bluecoat School. The latter was
categorised as a school that “requires improvement” at its last two Ofsted
inspections. At the time of being approached by the LA, the deputy headteacher
was acting headteacher, governance was not yet effective and there were
impending budget concerns due to falling pupil numbers. Both schools considered
the importance of maintaining and improving their educational strengths
»Executive Headteacher:
»Federation established: 2014
»Location: Bridgnorth, Shropshire
»Schools: Church of England,
local authority maintained,
primary schools with nursery
»No. of pupils:
- Worfield Endowed CE Primary
School (VA): 143 pupils
- St. Mary’s Bluecoat CE
Primary School (VA): 200 pupils
- SEND Hub: 7 pupils
- Beckbury CE Primary School
(VC): 53 pupils
»The Trinity Federation also
provides the leadership for
Morville CE Primary School
(Academy) NOR: 58
The Trinity Federation
Highlighting best practice
through effective leadership that
has a relentless focus on delivering
high-quality teaching and learning
opportunities. We hoped to work
together to maintain and further
improve each school’s educational
strengths through effective leadership.
In September 2015, Beckbury CE
Primary School joined the Trinity
Federation. Beckbury School had
previously been under threat of
closure, as year-on-year funding
had continued to decrease. The
government’s agenda is to encourage
schools to work together much more
formally, and when the headteacher
announced her intention to retire,
the governors thought that joining
the Trinity Federation would be a
way to secure the future of a small
Clear vision
Since federation, the executive
headteacher and governors have
identified a clear vision for each
school’s overall future. In realising this
vision, the leadership of the school
have transferred established systems
and processes from Worfield School,
which has had immediate gains in
terms of efficiency and effectiveness in
raising standards in our other schools.
School improvement work has focused
heavily on raising the quality of
teaching and learning through cross-
federation coaching and modelling
of good practice. High-quality CPD
opportunities are now available to
all of our schools, regardless of their
size and available budget, and over
time we have developed an in-house
team of experts in numerous fields.
The director of teaching and learning
is an accredited NCETM trainer. We
work with EEF to develop expertise and
raise pupil attainment at no cost to
the school. Previous projects included
working with Oxford University on
mathematical reasoning and UCL
and Birkbeck on the science-and-
maths-based UnLocke project, and
we currently work with Durham
University and the University of York
on MathsChampions.
Challenges and changes
Despite realising efficiencies of
spending over time, the schools in
our federation are not immune to the
national picture of school funding,
which is being described as a school
funding crisis by many headteachers,
governing bodies and unions.
Continuing low pupil numbers in our
part of Shropshire, combined with
increased staffing costs, increased
pension contributions, increased costs
of utilities and services, and reduced
government funding in real terms,
have put increased pressure on our
budgets. In recent years we have
made significant reductions to many
areas of expenditure, including a
significant reduction in support staff,
and regrettably in the light of budget
information for 2019 and 2020 we
could not make further savings without
looking further at staffing costs.
However, we are not ones to be
defeated and have been keen to
avoid any staff redundancies. An
entrepreneurial approach to generate
additional income has been necessary
We provide
opportunities for
extended writing in all
areas of our curriculum
approach to
income has
been necessary
to be able to
arrive at
budgets, but
this has
increased the
workload of
to be able to arrive at balanced
budgets, but this has inevitably
increased the workload of key staff.
The Trinity Federation now also
provides the executive leadership for
a neighbouring school which is part
of a multi-academy trust. Through the
creation of a service level agreement,
I was able to extend all the benefits of
the Trinity Federation to the academy
in order to drive improvements
while realising balanced budgets for
I am immensely impressed by the way
in which senior staff have embraced
new challenges to ensure that we
continue to offer our children the
very best despite the lack of funding.
Through service level agreements,
the federation now offers a governor
clerking service to other Shropshire
schools, and we have a directly
employed learning support advisory
teacher who is available to other
schools locally.
The future of the federation
The federation has an exciting future.
We opened a SEND hub in September
2019 on the site of St. Mary’s Bluecoat
School. The hub supports children who
have social, emotional, mental health,
including autistic spectrum conditions,
identified as their primary need in their
Education, Health and Care Plan. The
hub embodies the inclusive ethos of
our federation.
We have recently created a behaviour
regulation policy which builds on our
work with a Rees Centre research
project which aims to raise school staff
understanding of the role of attachment
and trauma in children’s education.
We are already recognised for our
inclusive practice and we have seen
first-hand the benefits of a nurturing
approach with our children. We want
all staff to feel confident in addressing
trauma and attachmentneeds.
We will also ensure our curriculum
provision continues to inspire and
motivate pupils and broaden their
aspirations. Through our partnership
work, we continue to break down
any locally perceived boundaries and
help pupils to work harmoniously
with schoolchildren from other
localities. We maximise the efficiency
and effectiveness of each school by
capitalising on centralised services and
sharing systems and procedures.
In all that we do, and all that we plan
to do, we have high expectations of
all and for all. We are dedicated to
inclusivity, nurture and care to make
a positive difference to the daily
lives of our pupils and their families.
There is a palpable team spirit and
‘can do’ attitude among staff within
our schools, despite the challenges
Covid-19 has presented.
We maximise
the efficiency
of each school
by capitalising
on centralised
services and
systems and
Caring for our
environment is an
important feature of

This article was sponsored by The Trinity Federation. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy