News from Spencer Academies Trust

Dear Parent(s)/Carer(s) and Students at Heanor Gate Science College

As you know Heanor Gate Science College has been an important and valued member of the Spencer Academies Trust since September 2014. As Chair of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive and Executive Principal, we are writing to update you on some plans for the future development of the Trust.

The last 12 months has seen unprecedented challenge in our schools. Throughout this time, all of our academies have continued to work tirelessly with their communities to ensure that students, staff and families are safe and well. Ensuring that throughout we have continued to deliver care, support and learning to every one of our students in all of our academies. We would like to thank each and every one of you for your support of us at Heanor Gate Science College, and for the positivity and resilience that you have shown. Our students and staff have continued to be an inspiration and a credit to our academies.

2021 marks Spencer Academies Trust’s tenth year in existence. As we reach this milestone we will be reflecting on delivering 10 years of educational excellence across the East Midlands, and considering our ambitions for the next decade to come. Here at SAT, we exist as a family of schools working collaboratively to deliver our mission to provide high quality education, and deliver the best possible outcomes for children and young people.

In the coming months we will be delivering the following initiatives which will form part of our activities that recognise and celebrate our tenth anniversary.

1. To establish a Spencer Superstars Charitable Foundation

Spencer Superstars Charitable Foundation will be formed as a separate charity to SAT, yet fully be a part of the Trust. SSCF will exist to support our children and students in their pursuit of experience and excellence in their chosen fields. The details of this are:

We will seek to raise funds from charitable events and sponsor donators to enable Spencer children to pursue excellence in areas such as:

  • Sporting; such as representing their county/country in a given sporting discipline
  • Artistic and creative; further opportunity for children with a passion for music, dance, drama, theatre and the visual arts
  • Science, Tech and discovery, specific pursuit of intellectual exploration or advancing the use of technology
  • Environment; making a contribution to environmental sustainability or corporate social responsibility
  • Providing some seed funding for former students (within 2 years of leaving Spencer) who are entrepreneurial in spirit and developing an ethical, small business or service

This list is not exhaustive but provides examples where the funding raised for the Foundation could then, through a bidding process, be gifted to students for training and development, specialised equipment, travel and sustenance, to support them in their passions. Recipients will share a report/review (written, film, art) of their experience and how the Foundation has supported their pursuit. This will form a Foundation ‘e-journal’, which will promote and celebrate their achievements.

The Foundation will need a small separate Board of Directors which will be formed to include one of our existing Directors, a Primary and Secondary Local Governing Body Member, a Primary and Secondary School Leader, and an additional member of staff from each phase.

2. To create The Spencer Alumni

We intend to begin the journey of developing a Spencer Alumni, with a view through the power of social and other media to keep our Trust and our academies connected with former students as they progress in their chosen fields of employment and personal development. This involves creating a formal Spencer Alumni by seeking to engage recent and past students that are now making their mark in the world, and can act as role models to motivate and inspire current students and have an ambassadorial role in promoting the work of the Trust.

We envisage this to be an initially small group of former students supported both by the Trust and our academies to grow and expand membership and levels of interest in future years. We see the Alumni as an ongoing initiative to be built in the coming years as a dedicated group with a brief to bring their experience to the Trust to add value for our current and future students.

3. Resolution of Academy name changes

After careful consideration, our Board of Trustees have agreed and resolved to change the name of a number of academies in SAT so that the name of every academy specifically includes the name “Spencer” and as a result will explicitly reference all academies as being part of the Spencer family of schools.

This means that Heanor Gate Science College will be renamed as Heanor Gate Spencer Academy.

Including ‘Spencer’ within each academy name will help to build public recognition of the Spencer family of schools and SAT, celebrating our long-established track record of school improvement, outstanding care for students, staff and families and raising educational standards across the region. Internally, it will also build on our already collegiate partnerships and our collaborative ethos and spirit within SAT, our academies and dedicated staff. All spencer academy names will continue to reference their existing or local community name. In this case Heanor Gate will remain in the school title, reflecting the local community that it serves.

To communicate this we are writing to our stakeholders in the coming days and are opening a consultation should they wish to comment. The details of which can be found on the Academy and Trust websites.

The inclusion of “Spencer” will apply to all future schools joining our Trust and, in doing so, this will benefit all schools and be of particular benefit to incoming schools joining SAT that require improvement. It will also be significant to current SAT academies that already give capacity to supporting other academies and schools within SAT and beyond. All name changes will be introduced from September 2021. This resolution will signify and cement the Spencer family of schools’ commitment to working with all academies, schools and communities, and reinforces our Trust core values of Aspiration, Partnership & Responsibility.

We trust that you will join us in reflecting positively on these initiatives which we intend to drive forward as part of marking our tenth anniversary.

I am delighted to both support and fully endorse this name change. By retaining ‘Heanor Gate’ we retain our heritage, history and central place in the community we serve. By adding ‘Spencer Academy’ we formally recognise the integral part this school plays in a significant and nationally recognised Academy Trust. The new name of Heanor Gate Spencer Academy will underline the continuous improvement journey of the school and further elevate our growing reputation beyond the local community to a national level. – Mr Huntington

With sincere and kind wishes