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MAT of the Year!

Consilium Academies has been named as Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) of the Year at The National Schools Awards 2022, which took place on 1 December at the House of Lords in London.

Selected from a strong field of academy trusts, we have been recognised as a trust with a clear vision, organisational strategy, and culture of collaboration, which is leading to better outcomes for every child in their care. The judges commented that Consilium is a trust that lives and breathes its values and does not rest on its laurels.

We have an exemplary strategic vision to put funding back into the classroom and provide an excellent learning experience for every child across its nine schools in the North West, North East and Yorkshire. In 2020, Consilium introduced a centralised pool of funding and resources to give every one of its 6,236 students exactly the same opportunities. 

Consilium schools have worked collaboratively to share ideas and best practice, especially in the face of challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, while placing a focus on the arts at the heart of the curriculum and wider school life, including enabling every student to have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Consilium schools have shown rapid improvements as a result, with all nine schools receiving either ‘Good’ or improving Ofsted outcomes since 2019.

The National Schools Awards 2022 brought together over 250 school and MAT leaders alongside frontline practitioners, to reward their contributions to the education sector over the past year. As the sector continues its journey towards recovery from the pandemic, as well as ongoing funding and recruitment challenges, the Awards celebrate the achievements of schools and leaders in uncertain times.

The judges of MAT of the Year 2022, Tim Bowen, Immediate Past President of the NAHT, and Steve Edmonds, Director of Advice and Guidance at the National Governance Association, said:
“It was a privilege to be part of the judging team that awarded Consilium Academies the award for MAT of the Year at the 2022 National School Awards. We agreed unanimously that, amongst a strong field of shortlisted trusts, Consilium stood out for their clear vision, organisational strategy and culture of collaboration leading to better outcomes for every child. It was clear that this is a trust that lives and breathes their values and does not rest on its laurels. They are a role model for the sector.”

David Clayton, Chief Executive at Consilium Academies, said:

“We are so honoured to have been named as MAT of the Year 2022. At Consilium, we are a team that really cares about every member of our community. And we mean it.

“So, for our dedicated team to be celebrated and recognised in this way, for the focus they all place on giving all our children the best opportunities and care is the most wonderful accolade we could ask for.

“Over the last few years, our team has achieved incredible things – from supporting our students through the challenges of the pandemic, to improving the performance of every one of our schools. Which is all made possible because of our collaborative ethos and focus on equity for every child in our care.”

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  • Wyvern Academy applauds local student’s sporting achievement at European Championships ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

    Published 10/05/23
    Elliot and the England team jetted off to Napflio in Greece for the European Championships, which were held over the course of four days, from the 20th to the 23rd of April. Competition was intense with over 150 athletes from seventeen countries comp
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  • Thornhill Academy gives students chance to experience live theatre with a free trip to the Sunderland Empire

    Published 08/03/23

    On Thursday 2nd March, 37 Thornhill Academy students had the chance to visit the Sunderland Empire to watch the National Theatre’s major new stage adaptation of the Ocean at the End of the Lane. 


    This is a free opportunity, thanks to funding from Arts Council England, for these local students to experience live theatre. For some students this was their first experience of the theatre.


    Thornhill Academy works very closely with Sunderland Empire and the National Theatre, most recently with their Speak Up programme, which allows students to work with local artists to develop work which covers topics which are important to them. As a result of this, Thornhill students were lucky enough to be offered free tickets to help get young people to experience theatre.


    This opportunity allowed all Year 10 GCSE Drama and some Year 9 students to experience live theatre and see first-hand how both the actors and design elements all come together to put on a production.


    Ava, Year 9 student at Thornhill Academy, said:

    "Great opportunity and experience to go on a trip with the school and see the actors perform."


    Oyinni, Year 9 student at Thornhill Academy, said:

    "It was really good! I learnt that lighting in drama has a great effect on a performance, I am so happy I went. I want to watch more now!


    Sophie, Year 10 student at Thornhill Academy, said:

    "It was an exciting and great opportunity."


    Sue Hamilton, Headteacher of Thornhill Academy, part of Consilium Academies said:

    “We are very lucky to have fantastic links with Sunderland Empire and I am really passionate that our students get the same opportunities to see and experience the fantastic performances happening right on our doorstep.


    “Performing arts is a central part of our exciting offer to students. Exposing young people to the arts in this way is not only a fun experience but serves to do so much more than entertain. These life experiences can often inspire and give them a flavour of something they might like to pursue, whether it’s a hobby or a career.


    “We are grateful to Arts Council England for making this a possibility for our students, many of whom have not experienced love performances before.”

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    Published 02/03/23

    On World Book Day, 2 March 2023, Wyvern Academy in Darlington is celebrating receiving £8,000 of funding from The Foyle Foundation, which will enable them to buy 2,500 new books for their students, to a newly refurbished library.

    This is all part of a successful focus on literacy across the school, which is part of Consilium Academies. The literacy programme, launched last year, is tailored to each child, has created a reading culture that is now reaping rewards. Last year, the school’s successful focus on reading saw Year 8s jump a year in reading age in just six months.

    The Foyle School Library Scheme gives preference to schools which can clearly demonstrate a commitment to renewing and maintaining their library provision in the future. Which is truly the case at Wyvern, as well as refurbishing the library into a thriving and state-of-the-art environment to enjoy the love of reading, a new Director of English and a new librarian has joined the team this year, and a peer-to-peer literacy mentoring programme has also been launched.

    As well as stocking up their library with 2,500 new books, on World Book Day Wyvern staff dressed up as their favourite book characters, designed classroom doors around best-selling books, such as The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy, as well as a ‘shelfie’ competition where students guessed their teachers’ bookshelves.  

    Jonny Willis, Literacy Coordinator and Associate Assistant Headteacher for Quality of Education at Wyvern Academy, said:
    “We are so excited to be able to fill our bookshelves with more new books, as we know reading and literacy has such an incredible impact on our students as well as giving them so much enjoyment.

    “This World Book Day, we are celebrating our huge successes as part of our literacy programme, which isn’t about just one day but a sustained focus on literacy which has become central to school life here. This programme is going from strength-to-strength thanks to the commitment of our students and teachers alike, as well as support from fantastic organisations like The Foyle Foundation.”



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    Published 02/03/23

    On Wednesday 1 March, local best-selling author and former English teacher, Anne Twine, who writes under the pseudonym Annie Flanagan, visited Thornhill Academy to give a series of talks to Sunderland students about becoming an author.  

    To mark World Book Day this year, Anne spoke to students about her books, Monument and Dummy Run, and her third book which is about to be published, which are all heavily relatable for teenagers. Anne will also read a short extract from her new book to the students.  

    Liam Clark, Deputy Headteacher at Thornhill Academy, part of Consilium Academies, said:  
    “We invited Anne into school to help us with our World Book Day celebrations because she is a local author who has written books inspired by our city and catchment area. The children have been able to listen to how Anne has constructed her books and spot themselves or their friends in the characters that she has written about.

    “World Book Day is a fantastic celebration, and this is just one example of how our young people are developing as readers. In reality reading is prioritised at Thornhill in each lesson, every day. We want our youngsters to read like scientists, geographers, and historians, each and every day.” 

    Ridwan, Year 7 student at Thornhill Academy, said:  
    “Reading makes me feel calm. It allows me to let out my imagination. It is more than a bunch of words. If you read properly then you can let out your imagination.

    “Yesterday, we read a book about a boy who had a lot of fears and how he was trying to overcome then.

    “The book is brought to life because it is relatable.”

    Anne Twine, local best-selling author, and former English teacher said:  
    “I am the first author to have featured Penshaw Monument in a novel and when the children of Sunderland see the front cover, they immediately relate to the book, and they know where it is set.

    “Children are able to see themselves in the characters, that is what makes the book relatable.”  

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  • John Halstead revealed as MAT Finance Leader of the Year at MAT Finance Awards 2022 ​​​​​​​

    Published 01/03/23

    John Halstead, Chief Finance and Operating Officer at Consilium Academies, a team of nine schools across Salford, Gateshead, Darlington, Sunderland, and Doncaster, has been named MAT Finance Leader of the Year, as part of the MAT Finance Awards 2022.

    The MAT Finance Leader of the Year category was one of five announced as part of The MAT Finance Awards 2022, sponsored by specialists in MAT budgeting and financial management software IMP Software, last week on 24th February. This category recognises outstanding CFOs, or equivalent, in a multi-academy trust for their leadership and management of trust finances.


    John Halstead was one of three individuals shortlisted for the coveted award. An expert judging panel – comprising Confederation of School Trusts CEO Leora Cruddas, ISBL CEO Stephen Morales, Dartmoor MAT CEO Dan Morrow, Epworth Education Trust CFO Adeel Sahi, Bishop Fleming Audit Partner and Head of Education Pam Tuckett, and IMP Software Co-Founder Will Jordan – reviewed high-quality nominations from a wide range of trusts.


    Having chosen John Halstead as the MAT Finance Leader of the Year, the judges commented:
    “John has led centralisation and GAG pooling at Consilium Academies, delivered cost savings within the trust’s administrative functions of over £1.4 million and ensured that the resources available are utilised to have the most significant impact on students. In the process, school leaders who had lost confidence in the previous financial leadership of the trust, have been re-engaged.


    “John’s ability to build a finance team who go out of their way to support all schools is also impressive. Excellent customer service is often the forgotten part of a strong finance function, and perhaps the hardest to instil into your team as a leader. However, John has managed that successfully whilst also spearheading some key changes across the trust.”


    John Halstead, Chief Finance and Operating Officer at Consilium Academies and MAT Finance Leader of the Year, said:

    “Winning this award is a huge honour and something that our entire team has made possible. At Consilium Academies we truly are a team who cares about every member of our community, and that drives everything we do. It is essential that we have the best possible and most equitable financial processes in place so that we can offer the right support at the right time to every one of our students and staff, so that they can thrive and deliver on our ambitious promises every day.”


    IMP Co-Founder Will Jordan said:

    “Congratulations to John, and indeed all our winners and runners-up. We were blown away by the quality of entries this year and, whilst it is a cliché, choosing a winner for each category was a really difficult task. In our work we see the impact of trust finance teams every day and are pleased to shine a spotlight on their contributions through the MATFAs. “As our new insight report, The 2030 MAT Growth Challenge: Effective Strategies and Systems, demonstrates MAT finance teams are critical for supporting expansion and sustainability in the sector going forward.”


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    Published 17/02/23

    Consilium Evolve school’s headteacher Robert Bell and his staff are making a real difference to improve the mental wellbeing of school refusers who’ve dropped out of mainstream education in the city and are now being given a second chance to fulfil their potential.

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    Published 16/02/23
    This half term, Armthorpe Academy, part of Consilium Academies, welcomed former international and premiership rugby star George Fouche into school to share with them his story as an example that dreams can always be fulfilled.   Doncaster
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    Published 15/02/23
    Every term Consilium Evolve is bringing together its community to learn and explore the important issues facing their young people, last term they learned about the effects of mental health and the tools that can be used to enable every child to succ
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    Published 09/02/23

    Washington Academy students win regional robotics challenge and are set to compete in national championships

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    Published 09/02/23

    Students were rewarded for excellent attendance and behaviour 

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    Published 06/02/23
    Thornhill Academy was saddened to hear of the death of Auschwitz survivior Zigi Shipper, who passed away on January 18 on what was also his 93rd birthday. His death was given extra prominence as it came just nine days before International&nbs
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    Published 03/02/23

    Washington receives £500 to aid work with Newcastle’s neonatal hospital.

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