About Us‎ > ‎


International School Award Success for Aylward Academy

posted Apr 21, 2017, 6:51 AM by Nicholas Basson   [ updated Apr 21, 2017, 6:51 AM ]

Aylward Academy in Edmonton, north London, has been awarded foundation level of the British Council’s prestigious International School Award in recognition of its work to bring the world into the classroom.

The International School Award celebrates the achievements of schools that do exceptional work in international education. Fostering an international dimension in the curriculum is at the heart of the British Council’s work with schools, so that young people gain the cultural understanding and skills they need for life work in today’s world.

Aylward Academy contributes in Partner School Science Programme which aims to increase students’ interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and gives its students a platform to transfer and share their skills and knowledge with their counterparts in their sister school in Izmir Turk College.  Students enjoy participating in this project which is designed and taught out of the usual curriculum that gives them an opportunity to extend their knowledge in science, astronomy and on global cultures.
At the end of the project students are rewarded with a trip to Space Camp Turkey, where students are given opportunities to use simulators and take part in activities such as team building, rocket and hot air balloon construction and speaking to Astronaut Sunita Williams.

Remo Iafrate, Principal at Aylward Academy, said:“This award is a wonderful accolade for the school. It reflects both the wonderful diversity in Aylward Academy and our forward and outward looking ethos.

"This award is a platform for further work with the wider community at a local, national and international level.”

Author Dan Unveils 'A Whole New World' For Monty's Young Book Lovers

posted Mar 10, 2017, 12:48 AM by Nicholas Basson   [ updated Mar 10, 2017, 6:46 AM ]

Leading children's author, Dan Freedman, was the very special guest at the official opening of our superb new library at Montgomery Primary Academy in Birmingham.

Taking just eight months to build, the new facility makes the maximum use of natural daylight with a specially constructed glass wall. In a prime location close to the main school entrance, the new library area has transformed a former caretaker's living area and offers twice the number of books available from the former library which was so small that pupils were rationed to fortnightly visits.

Dan Freedman is a former journalist who worked for The Football Association for seven years. During that time he travelled around the world with the England squad, edited Wembley Cup Final programmes and interviewed soccer superstars like David Beckham, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Dan left the FA in 2007 to pursue a career as a children's novelist on football stories. He has written eight best selling books, all in the Jamie Johnson series about an outstanding boy footballer who had to overcome major obstacles, both on and off the pitch, to pursue his ambition of becoming a top professional footballer. Jamie's stories have also been televised on CBBC.

Before cutting the ribbon Dan told pupils: " Your new library will improve your lives. Through reading and enjoying books you will be more calm and relaxed, which will reduce your blood pressure and make you healthier. You will probably make more friends, because when you read about the characters and the stories it will help you to understand different people's lives and the way they try and overcome their obstacles. This room, this new library, is a whole new world for you!"

Dan then moved on to be interviewed live on Monty's Voice; the school's own radio station run by the pupils. He told his young

interviewers: "I feel elated, excited, stimulated, proud and privileged to be here. We have just opened your brand new library which was a terrific moment."

As well as being light, bright and inspiring, the new library offers twice as many book titles as the old one, which was kept open by support staff. A permanent librarian has been appointed who shares her working week with time spent at Montgomery's Birmingham partner school, Percy Shurmer Academy.

Assistant Head Teacher at Montgomery, Nasra Hussein writes: "The library is part of our whole school project on reading. As a 'Talk for Writing Training School,' we understand the value of reading in the curriculum and place a high emphasis on quality stories and texts to develop children's reading and writing skills.

"We have over-hauled the reading curriculum through a whole school action research project, led by the Literacy leaders and team members.

"Children are now taught reading in whole classes; we've re-launched home reading, renewed incentives, increased the amount of independent reading time in the curriculum and developed the range of reading interventions available to the children. This library will be the hub for the school, promoting reading for pleasure and engagement."


Our Academies Shine Brightly At 2017 Essex Teacher Awards

posted Feb 13, 2017, 2:08 AM by Robbie Matheson   [ updated Feb 22, 2017, 6:35 AM ]

Outstanding AET teachers and academy support staff have been recognised at the 2017 Essex Teaching Awards.

The Essex County Council-run event celebrates excellence in education and highlights the outstanding work of teachers and other staff in the county’s schools.

This year’s AET award winners were:
Secondary Headteacher of the Year Award –
Winner: Emma Baker (Maltings Academy, Witham)
Highly Commended: Damian Lee (New Rickstones Academy, Witham).
Primary School Teacher of the Year Award –
Highly Commended: Sara Haines (Hamford Primary Academy, Frinton).
Secondary School Teacher of the Year Award –
Highly Commended: Jamie Benson (Greensward Academy, Hockley)
Highly Commended: Lucinda Craker (Maltings Academy, Witham).
Teaching Assistant of the Year Award –
Highly Commended: Ian Webdale (Maltings Academy, Witham).

Our sincere congratulations to Emma, Damian, Sara, Jamie, Lucinda and Ian and we wish Emma every success when she competes in the Regional Final of the 2017 Pearson Teaching Awards.
In a county with well over 550 schools it was a remarkable achievement to gain one outright winner and five highly commended awards in the eleven separate categories.

"Emma Baker receiving her Award from Clare Kershaw, Director for Commissioning, Education and Lifelong Learning, Essex County Council."

New CEO for AET

posted Jan 3, 2017, 2:17 AM by Nicholas Basson   [ updated Jan 3, 2017, 2:18 AM ]

We are pleased to announce that with effect from today (3 January 2017) Julian Drinkall has taken up his position as Chief Executive of AET.

This follows earlier announcements that Ian Comfort would be standing down from the organisation.

Our thanks go to Ian for his commitment to AET and its aims over the past 4 years.

We've Moved!

posted Jan 3, 2017, 2:14 AM by Nicholas Basson   [ updated Jan 3, 2017, 2:14 AM ]

AET's main office for central support staff is now at:

4th floor,
24 Eversholt St,

Tel: 020 38743100

Announcement regarding new Chief Executive

posted Nov 30, 2016, 7:43 AM by Nicholas Basson

It was announced today that Julian Drinkall, until recently Chief Executive of the Alpha Plus Group, has been appointed Chief Executive Designate of AET. Julian will join us on 12 December, working with our outgoing Chief Executive, Ian Comfort, to ensure a smooth transition before he takes up the post of CEO in the spring term.

This development is the first step in a process which will see the further development of the Group’s management team, alongside the strengthening of the Board which began with the appointment of our Chair, Jack Boyer OBE, earlier this year. Alongside Julian Drinkall, Catherine Hastings has been recruited as the Group’s Director of Communications, and further senior level appointments are expected to follow as AET strengthens the team that will lead a programme of transformational change in the organisation.

Jack Boyer, Chair of AET, commented:

“I am delighted to be able to welcome Julian as AET’s future Chief Executive. AET has set itself an ambitious programme to provide the best quality education across a large number of academies. Julian’s appointment marks the next step on our pathway towards achieving that; he brings the leadership qualities and experience that will bring about further positive change and growth to the organisation. Meanwhile, Catherine has a very strong background in public relations and will provide the communications support, both internally and externally, that will help AET to achieve its goals. We are looking forward to seeing further key players joining our senior leadership team in the coming weeks and months.”

“AET is a major player in the academies landscape, and has significant strengths, particularly in the primary and Special Educational Needs (SEN) sectors. We recognise that the organisation is facing some big tasks: we have taken on a large number of academies, some of which had faced difficulties historically, but we have been seeing improvement over time. We have now outlined a clear plan to accelerate those improvements and deliver educational excellence across the whole Group. These positive announcements underline the Board’s commitment to achieving these goals.”

Julian Drinkall said:

“I am very pleased to be joining the Academies Enterprise Trust, which is doing such important work, and I share its commitment to achieving the highest standards in education. I am looking forward to taking up this exciting new task.”

Julian Drinkall was until recently Chief Executive of the Alpha Plus Group, one of the largest groups of independent schools in the UK and the largest in London, comprising 18 schools and colleges. The group has seen impressive growth and built a strong reputation for its quality and high educational standards. In addition to this Julian brings over a decade of experience in education, having previously been President and CEO of Cengage Learning, EMEA and India, as well as three years as CEO of Macmillan Education, and has held further roles in media and international education companies including IPC Media. Prior to this, his early career was in strategy consulting and corporate finance, becoming Head of the BBC’s Financial and Commercial Strategy in 1998. Educated at Eton and Oxford where he graduated in PPE, Julian also has an MBA from Harvard and a Masters in Public 2 Administration from Harvard’s JFK School of Government, where he holds a Littauer Fellowship.

Catherine Hastings is a communications specialist who has successfully managed the reputations of some of the UK’s most high-profile organisations including London Business School, the BBC, NHS University and the Cabinet Office. Her early career was spent with Valin Pollen, a leading corporate and financial communications agency. As a consultant she has provided strategic advice for a wide variety of organisations in both the private and public sector, ranging from large organisations through to start-ups. She is a Non-Executive Director of MMHA.

For further information please contact:

Catherine Hastings, Director of Communications

Tel: 07771 738283

E-mail: press@academiesenterprisetrust.org

Hazelwood Academy Opens Nursery Provision for Two Year Olds

posted Nov 30, 2016, 1:55 AM by Dan McEvoy   [ updated Nov 30, 2016, 1:55 AM ]

Following a year-long project to secure funding and remodel its current nursery setting, Hazelwood Academy Nursery in Swindon will, from January,  extend its nursery provision to two year olds.

Business Manager, Kate Ayliffe, says:  “Establishing a much-needed local provision for some of the youngest members or our community has been high on our list of priorities and we are delighted to now be able to open our doors to two year olds. Research has shown that earlier intervention and access to services for younger children in the community can improve outcomes for pupils at every stage in their school careers."

West Swindon has been identified as an area of need by Swindon Borough Council. Hazelwood Academy has worked with the Council in establishing the level of need, how the Academy could best serve the community and engaging with families in the area to establish who are eligible for the Early Education for Two Year Olds funding.  

Hazelwood Academy was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted at its last inspection in 2015, and earlier this year was awarded the Bristol Standard for Quality Improvement from Birth to Five, which recognises the strength of its provision in Early Years.  

Headteacher, Suzanne Lloyd, says: “We have so much to offer all our children, with a team of enthusiastic and committed staff and wonderful facilities. We are very proud to have been awarded the Bristol Standard which is testament to the dedication of our Early Years Team.

"At Hazelwood Academy our curriculum for two year olds focuses on the areas of communication, physical and emotional development.  The children build their confidence, learn to explore, solve problems and relate to each other through play," she added.

Ryde Academy Buries Celebratory Time Capsule

posted Nov 15, 2016, 3:32 AM by Robbie Matheson   [ updated Nov 16, 2016, 2:49 AM ]

At a prestigious event to celebrate good progress being made on the construction of a new school, local dignitaries and senior students buried a time capsule not to be seen again until 4 November 2066.


Principal, Joy Ballard, said: "It has been brilliant to see the project start rising from the ground and now we have reached the exciting phase where we can begin to get students and staff involved in the building of our new school. We have lots of plans for the future including a farewell to the old building when the time comes for it to be demolished."


Accompanying Joy at the ceremony was Councillor Charles Chapman, Chairman, and Councillor Jonathan Francis Bacon, Leader of Isle of Wight Council, as well as Head Boy, Harry Sprengle and Head Girl, Ella Mountford (pictured), and staff, students and other invited guests.


Construction work on the new school began during the late summer and is due to be opened in the autumn term 2017.


The letter to the Ryde Academy community of 2066 read...'Dear future us. We are so glad that you found our time capsule which we buried in 2016. We hope that some of our students are there to see it being uncovered!

'We have included lots of different items to be buried in our capsule but it was very difficult to choose as there was so much we could put in!

'Not knowing how the world is in 2066 we thought it would be helpful to include a list of the contents in case some no longer exist!

'We hope the world is a happy place!'

You can view the complete list of the time capsule's contents on the academy's website

Announcement from Trustees

posted Nov 4, 2016, 3:06 AM by Nicholas Basson   [ updated Nov 14, 2016, 3:54 AM by Robbie Matheson ]

Earlier this year Ian Comfort indicated to the Trustees that, having been with the Trust for four years (three as Group CEO), he wished to move on to other challenges. Ian has now informed us that he plans to leave in the spring term, giving the Board time to find a suitable successor.

Over the past three years, despite extensive scrutiny and external challenge, Ian has focussed on reforming the organisation and improving the outcomes for the 35,000 children in our schools. During his tenure as Group Chief Executive, the percentage of good or outstanding academies in our Trust has increased from less than 26% to 68%. In our primary schools, the number of good or outstanding academies has increased from 22% to 84%, with over 8000 more children now receiving a good education. Research published in July 2016, confirmed that the Trust was in the top 10% of academy trusts nationally for primary education and performing significantly above average in all areas.

The Trustees would like to place on record their thanks for his commitment over his four years with the Trust.

From our academies

"He has been a superb leader for the trust and has used his educational knowledge to move us forward - the results speak for themselves. He has been a fantastic role model for me and I'd like to thank him for all of his hard work for the staff, parents and children in the trust" John Szynal, Executive Principal, Maltings Academy, Essex.


"In the endlessly changing landscape that is education, true constants are a rare commodity. Ian has been just that during our journey as an AET Academy and his knowledge, guidance and counsel has successfully helped shape Newington in what have often been challenging circumstances. From the staff, parents and pupils here we would like to say "Thank you Ian." Steve Kernan, Head Teacher, Newington Academy, Humberside.


"Ian is well known and well respected amongst the staff in our schools and his departure is a loss to AET. He has brought tremendous balance to our work and, with a single focus on high standards and positive outcomes for the pupils we serve, has enabled schools and leaders to challenge themselves and others with innovative and creative approaches to learning and school improvement." David Worrall, Executive Principal, Trinity Primary Academy, Noel Park Primary Academy, London.


In 2003 the Headteacher author of 'When Reservoirs Run Dry' spoke of leaders in education as 'Striders, Strollers or Stumblers.' Ian has been the AET's Giant Strider!" Jon Gillard, Principal, Aylward Academy, London


"From the first day I joined AET, Ian made me feel like part of the AET family with a readiness to respond very personally with advice and actions. This has enabled our academy to grow and thrive into the sparkling school it is today. He will be hugely missed. I hope that his successor follows his strong lead in continuing to allow the unique and special relationships enjoyed by principals and AET which results in the happy and successful schools which AET are proud to call their own." Jo-Anne Charalambous, Head Teacher, Shafton Primary Academy. Barnsley


Ian has been very approachable and has welcomed direct contact with principals. His skills as a barrister have been invaluable to the Trust. " Karen Godsall, Principal, New Forest Academy, Hampshire.


"Ian Comfort has been a champion for all the learners in all AET academies. He has worked tirelessly to ensure every child has a place in a good school. His passion and support will be missed." Kate Holland, Principal, Charles Warren Academy, Milton Keynes.

Pentathlete Jess Earns England Athletics Call Up

posted Oct 13, 2016, 3:45 AM by Dan McEvoy   [ updated Oct 13, 2016, 4:24 AM ]

The dream is becoming a reality for athletics star Jess Hopkins as she earns her place in the England squad.

The 14 year old pentathlete’s growing success finds her placed 20th in the British Athletics list of all-time greats at that age – with her idol Jessica Ennis-Hill placed only 68th.

The England call up comes after Jess came second in the National Combined Events Championships in Exeter as part of the winning Essex squad – despite scoring her personal best in one event and finishing just 40 points off the number one spot.

The student from Maltings Academy, Witham Essex, will now represent England at an international event in Ireland in December.

Jess, who gave up her school summer break to train for the recent competition, said: “I was hoping for this result, but not necessarily expecting it. Going into the event, I was ranked fourth in the country so I thought I would come fourth if I had a good day. I thought I would really have to pull something out the bag.

“The high jump, shot put and long jump didn’t go as well as I had hoped; I was hoping for more personal bests that day, but I only got the one.

“In the weeks leading up to the competition, I had done lots of training, every day of the week. Some days we did running which really paid off as I took five seconds off my time in the 800m.”

While the 800m race is Jess’ least favourite event, after devoting much of her summer training to improving, this was the event she recorded her personal best at in Exeter.

The young star got a medal, a certificate and her place on the England team as a result of her performance, along with only the top four performing girls on the day.

She said: “I’m still on such a high from the weekend, I’ve not really thought about my expectations for Ireland yet. I just can’t believe I did it!

“I am going to Ireland to represent England; it’s just incredible.”

The reality of being leaps and bounds ahead of where Olympics medallist Ennis-Hill was at her age – as recorded in the Power of 10 under-15 women’s all-time UK records list - has stunned Jess.

She said: “I was looking at the list last night and was shocked! It makes me realise I have the potential to be where Jessica Ennis-Hill is. I could actually do what she is doing and be like her. It’s an amazing feeling, especially after all the hard work and disappointments; it makes everything a lot better. After the 800m race, my coach said it was another day to remember when I have bad days.

“I’m really looking forward to next year when I can add in javelin in the under-17 category as that’s my best event. Then I can really start to compare myself to other athletes.”

1-10 of 88