Coronavirus advice and update 20th March 2020

Further to the announcement from the Secretary of State for Education earlier this week we very much regret that we are to close all our schools from Friday the 20th March.  Schools are quickly defining the provision that they will be able to offer

You will be aware that the Government have also announced that there will be no public exams in May and June, indicating that Year 11 and 13 pupils will nonetheless get qualifications. As yet, we do not have any specific detail of how this will be managed but we do realise that all of our pupils who were due to take examinations this year will need our support and guidance over the coming weeks.

These have been incredibly difficult decisions and we do appreciate why the Government has felt it necessary to do so at this time. We will continue to follow ongoing Government advice.

Schools will be open to vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Schools will also strive to provide childcare to those parents who are defined as critical workers. It must be stated that if parents are able to provide childcare for their own children, even if they are on this list then they should try to do so.  Please apply the following principles;

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. The following principles apply;

  1. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  2. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  3. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

There is separate guidance for parents here. However, the list is;

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.


This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

Clearly if parents are able to provide safe childcare at home we would urge you to follow government advice and do so.

Removal of Financial Notice to Improve

Following a financial notice that was issued on the 28th October 2018, we are pleased to confirm that this has now been removed, following the Trust meeting all of the conditions. Details have been released on the website here.

Eden Park High School


Building Complete!

The brand new building that is the permanent site for Eden Park High School was handed over to the Trust this week and is now being prepared ready for the students to arrive on Thursday 29th August!


Better together: Why joining an academy trust has brightened our future

An interview with Nicki Mattin, Principal of Spires Academy

Spires Academy formally joined E21C, a multi-academy trust based in South East London, in January 2018. In this interview, Spires’ Principal, Nicki Mattin, expresses that she feels the partnership has and will only bring about more excellent developments within the school, and perhaps for other Kent comprehensive schools in the not-so-distant future.

Why was E21C the best choice for Spires Academy?
When we first began the process of selecting a trust to partner with, we were presented with a variety of excellent choices. What we initially loved about E21C was how engaged they were with the school and our students when they came to visit us – I don’t think they realised, but we were looking at them closely as they were walking around to see how they interacted. We were impressed by their enthusiasm and energy, and that was what attracted us to them at first.

Ultimately, we felt that E21C were likeminded people; we liked their ethos, their people and their positive attitude. We wanted to partner with a trust who would recognise that there are real strengths in our school that could be used to their benefit, but could also challenge us to be better every day. What was really key for us was finding a trust that would be a strong partner and that could help us with school improvement, with our eye at the top. E21C has offered us that, and it feels like a true collaboration, rather than an uncomfortable take-over.

The moment that sealed E21C’s compatibility with the school was when the trust and Spires jointly signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ before our partnership had formally begun. Perfectly capturing the essence of our combined ethos, the ‘handshake’ agreement demonstrated good will on both sides. The uniqueness of the document expressed to us that E21C was willing to act receptively from day one and established trust and mutual respect from the very beginning of our relationship.

Has E21C had to adapt at all since your partnership began?
I think E21C has experienced a few surprises since working with us. Since we are a smaller, stand-alone school, I think our new partnership has tested E21C to think about secondary schools and secondary education in a different way. In addition, since we are a Kent high school and situated in the midst of a challenging selective system, it has enabled them to consider schools from a broader perspective and in a wider context.

In truth, there has been some give and take for both parties, but that has only strengthened our relationship and our progress. From our stand point, Spires has, naturally, had to relinquish some of our control and autonomy, but the school and E21C both recognise the value of having a critical friend and the benefit of being able to develop together.

What are the main benefits of joining a trust for your pupils?
For one, E21C’s support has enabled us to establish a sixth form two years earlier than we were going to; that’s a huge benefit to us and to the pupils looking forward. With the trust’s encouragement, we have explored the advantages of social media – something that was formerly too risky for us to entertain. What’s great about this is that we’ve been able to build a great and warm presence online, and for the students I think it’s wonderful for them to be recognised on a platform that they are really used to and that delivers updates instantly.

How have Spires staff taken to the partnership?
So far, they are really benefitting from the cross-conversation that is available to them now with other members of staff from within the trust. Several of our staff members have visited some of E21C’s other schools; there have been many opportunities for them to network with like-minded education professionals and develop as individuals as a result.

How has your role as Principal been affected by Spires’ partnership with E21C?
Primarily, the partnership has given me access to a very experienced Head and CEO to use as a sounding board whom I can bounce ideas off. Headship can sometimes be a lonely position and you can often feel quite isolated. Now, I’m part of a bigger, critical network, that will only help to strengthen me and the school, allow us to feel less secluded and reinforce our decisions.

How have parents reacted to the partnership?
I think parents in general are a bit suspicious of multi-academy trusts, especially those that go into schools and completely take over. I think because E21C has put the identity of our school first and hasn’t attempted to assimilate us in any way, parents still feel that they have that strong connection to the school. Day-to-day, they are dealing with the same people they always have done, so things haven’t fundamentally changed for them. The general feeling amongst parents, I think, is that the trust is just a wide, helpful umbrella around the school.

What does the future hold for Spires Academy and E21C?
It’s early days, but all I can say is that, as a school, we are very open, honest and positive and we are so looking forward to seeing the great things Spires and E21C can do together in the coming years. Hopefully this partnership will work really well and will be the start of something very special for schools in Kent.

E21C breaks ground for the building of Eden Park High School

We’re delighted to announce that the construction for Eden Park High School has officially begun!

Following Bromley’s Council’s decision to approve construction of Eden Park High School at the Council’s Plans Sub-Committee meeting on the 22nd February, the laying of the groundwork in preparation for construction is underway in Balmoral Road, Beckenham. With multiple diggers and an experienced building crew on-site since April, the school is on track for its planned opening in September 2019.

Having officially welcomed its first intake at its temporary site at The Ravensbourne School in Hayes Lane last year, both students and staff are looking forward to making the move to the permanent site in just under 18 months’ time.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see several years of dedicated campaigning and perseverance finally pay off, as the building work for Eden Park High School begins,” says Head Teacher, Emily Codling, “It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work from local parents, local people and the E21C Trust, all of whom are delighted with the plans for the school and the progress so far.”

The new school, which operates extended hours, is helping alleviate a chronic shortage of secondary school provision in the Borough, ultimately providing 1,600 places for local students.

E21C welcomes William Willett Trust

We are delighted to announce that William Willett Learning Trust has merged with Education for the 21st Century Trust (E21C), after approval from the Secretary of State for Education.

The two Trusts have merged under the name of E21C, with the newly established Trust now comprising of eight schools across the Borough of Bromley and Kent. With the merger official from 1st May 2018, Coopers School and Mead Road Infant have joined Eden Park High School, The Ravensbourne School, Blenheim Primary, Mottingham Primary, Scotts Park Primary and Spires Academy in the Trust’s collection of schools.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome the staff and students from the William Willett Learning Trust into the E21C family,” says Paul Murphy, CEO of E21C. “The merger with William Willett Learning Trust is an exciting opportunity for both communities to join forces and build on existing strengths, working together to provide a better future for all our students.”

Shirley Puxty, Principal of Coopers School – now also Deputy CEO of E21C following the merger – says, “We’re thrilled to be part of E21C; its philosophy of the importance of the whole child and not just academic achievements, reflects the ethos of both Coopers School and Mead Road Infant. We’re looking forward to an exciting future within the newly-formed Trust.”

Paul Murphy will remain as Headteacher of The Ravenbourne School, and Shirley Puxty will continue as Principal of Coopers School, alongside her new role as Deputy CEO of E21C. Cathy Whiting will remain as the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, with Rob Carling the Trust’s new Chief Financial Officer, whilst retaining the role of Vice Principal of Coopers School. All other school structures will remain unchanged.

The Trust has a full complement of Members, Trustees and Governors.

The History of Education in England