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The Spencer Academies Trust


Mission Statement
To improve the life chances of children and young people by challenging and supporting all schools within the Trust on their journey to and beyond outstanding.

George Spencer is a unique school and has been transformed from a small 11-16 school to a high performing, successful school with a large Sixth Form that “provides an outstanding education for its students”, Ofsted April 2010. It has a tradition of excellence for which the school has received many accolades, including national and international awards.

As one of the first converter Academies in the country, a Leading Edge and Challenge Partner School we are at the forefront of innovation, individualised learning and teaching excellence. Our designation as an approved Academy Sponsor, National Support School, Teaching School and licensee of the National College’s leadership development programmes reflects the extent of our contribution to system-wide improvement and builds on our excellent reputation for the training and development of teachers and leaders.

Sponsor Priorities

•    To secure a culture of high aspirations and expectations across the Trust and all its school;
•    To build capacity for continued and sustained improvement and support of schools requiring formal support leading to accelerated rates of progress and achievement;
•    To enhance our central and shared services to maximum organisational and cost efficiencies;
•    To provide robust and consistent policies, procedures and systems complying with legislative requirements.  
•    To further develop expertise and skills within the leadership and management function of the Trust.

Schools within the Trust

The Trust is represented by schools from Nottinghamshire and Derby City. With our proposed expansion, this will include other areas of the East Midlands and beyond, where it is realistic to be able to provide the support needed.  Our Teaching School Alliance and Challenge Partners Hub include schools from within Nottingham City, Derbyshire, Leicester and Lincoln. Through these partnerships we are able to draw upon a wider support network and practice.

Future Development/Expansion Plans

We are passionate about working with and supporting schools and we intend to expand our Trust over the next 3-5 years, to include both sponsored and converter schools cross phase. We have the capacity and capability to draw upon a range of outstanding practice of highly qualified and experienced practitioners from the schools within our Trust, and we are always looking to identify excellence practice.


Current Governance Structure

Governance Structure

Track Record

Wyndham Primary School – Sponsored Academy
•    Joined The Spencer Academies Trust in September 2012.
•    Predicted improvement for Key Stage 2 L4+ results for 2013 - Reading, Writing and Maths.
•    Predicted improvement for students making two levels of progress in both Maths and English.  
•    New Headteacher since 2011. Created a new ethos and a ‘can do’ positive approach.
•    Headteacher and senior leadership team supported by NLE and LLE.
•    Improvement in quality of teaching as a result of staff undertaking Improving Teaching Programme/Outstanding Teacher Programmes (ITP/OTP).
•    Outstanding teacher completed OFP (Outstanding Facilitators Programme).
•    Member of the Teaching School Alliance.
•    Part of the Challenge Partners (School improvement programme) from April 2013 and is confirmed a member of the Narrowing the Gap programme – focusing on FSM students.
•    Governor audit and restructure, strengthened with George Spencer staff. Chair of Governors enrolled for the National College’s Leadership Development programme for Chairs of Governors.

Other Schools Supported but through National Leader of Education/Partnership Leader Programme

The Grove School 2011-2012
•    Supported out of Notice to Improve to Satisfactory (Ofsted January 2012).
•    Acting Headteacher support through NLE.
•    George Spencer staff deployment over 15 months including Assistant Headteacher (Leadership and Management), Senior Vice Principal (Teaching and Learning, CPD), additional Governor support, range of AST’s and Middle Leaders working across the curriculum to support, develop and model practice.  
•    Total redesign of the curriculum to meet the needs of the student.
•    Staffing restructure: teachers and support staff.  

Improvement in results as below:
•    5 A*-C including Maths and English improved from 33% in 2010 to 52% in 2012
•    5 A*-C including Maths and English for FSM students improved from 0% in 2010 to 50% in 2012.
•    5 A*-C GCSEs improved from 65% in 2010 to 82% in 2012.

Holgate School
Support includes leadership and management, teaching and learning and curriculum development.  

Advanced Level Consultant School – 2009
Overall academic improvements in schools supported through National Challenge: Sutton Centre and Quarrydale and as School Improvement Partner: Joseph Whitaker


Susan Jowett, Executive Principal
Susan has been a Headteacher for 15 years with her first headship being at Holly Lodge Girls School in Liverpool. Since September 2004, she has been the Principal and Chief Executive of George Spencer Academy in Nottinghamshire. Both schools have been highly successful in raising standards of educational achievement and attainment under her strong leadership.  

Susan started out as a Modern Languages Teacher, taking on additional leadership roles such as Head of Languages, Timetabling and Curriculum Deputy before becoming a Head and taking on the role of what she calls: “the best job in the world!”

Her never-ending commitment and contribution to secure school improvement, not only in her own school, but other secondary schools, has been nationally recognised through the award of becoming a National Leader of Education and George Spencer Academy becoming a National Support School.  

In September 2010, George Spencer School became one of the first outstanding schools to convert to become a new-style Academy from September 2010, leading the way for other schools to follow. This was swiftly followed by the Academy becoming one of the first 100 National Teaching Schools to be launched by the Government in July 2011, following a rigorous and competitive process.  

Susan’s ambition for the Academy to become an all-through school (3-18 years) will soon be realised through the next stage of development with not one, but a small number of primary schools, to become part of the George Spencer Academy Trust.


Fraser Mitchell, Principal
Fraser is the new Principal at George Spencer Academy in Nottingham. Prior to becoming Principal in September 2013, Fraser was Vice Principal there for five years,  with key responsibilities including student progress, English and Maths, Every Child Matters, safeguarding, inclusion and Post 16.  He was also seconded in 2011-12 as Associate Leader to help a local school move out of ‘notice to improve’, working on several areas including sixth form.

Fraser joined George Spencer from King Edward VII School and Technology College, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, where he worked as Post 16 Director for 6 years, overseeing continuous improvements in attainment, culminating in 2008  with the sixth form being amongst the top 5% nationally for value added with a CVA of 1037.

Christopher Haggett, Vice Principal
Chris has been teaching for 15 years. He began his career in Birmingham before moving to Nottingham where he is now working at George Spencer Academy. His first responsibility was a curriculum post for Science but then moved to George Spencer as a Head of Year.

He is now Vice Principal and his job description includes timetable, globalisation, options, work experience, community, ECM, inclusion, intervention and careers. He was a member of the leadership team at the school during the recent OFSTED when the school gained outstanding in all 27 school categories.

Chris is enthusiastic about his work and still enjoys teaching Science and has recently started teaching Maths. In 2007 he won a Regional Teaching Award and made it through to the National finals but did not win the big prize. He still enjoys the pastoral aspects of his job the most and was very proud of his year group a few years ago who became George Spencer’s first 0% NEET cohort. He has recently completed his NPQH and is in the process of applying to be a Headteacher.

Paul Hynes, Vice Principal
Paul started his teaching career as a Science and Chemistry teacher at King Edward VII School, a large (almost 2000 students) Technology College in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK ( He has always been passionate about using ICT to help with the teaching and learning of students and this led to him moving department after 4 years to become Second in the ICT department at the same school.

The following year, Paul was promoted to Assistant Headteacher in charge of ICT developments. His responsibilities included leading the ICT curriculum department, leading the technical support and overseeing the cross-curricular and whole school ICT developments. During this time, he implemented a campus-wide wireless infrastructure, and developed the provision and usage of wireless laptops among staff and students (over 600 in total).

With two years of senior management under his belt, Paul joined the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) in September 2003 as the Subject Leader for ICT with responsibility for Technology Colleges. (

In April 2005, Paul moved directorates within SSAT to lead ICT strategy development within the Achievement Networks directorate. This involved the national rollout of the e-mentoring project and the Driving New Technologies programme. Paul led the SSAT ‘Future Schools’ team including work around BSF, learning spaces, curriculum design, learning technologies and workforce development.

This work developed into a coherent support offer for schools that covered the use of learning technologies to raise achievement (including blogs, wikis, learning platforms, digital video, podcasting, webquests, computer games, augmented reality, student digital leaders and student-owned devices).

In September 2011, inspired by the student digital leaders work, Paul moved to the role of Vice Principal at George Spencer Academy  in Nottingham where his responsibilities include whole school learning technologies and numeracy.

Gary Holmes, Business Manager
Gary has been the Business Manager at George Spencer for 9 years and is a key member of the Senior Leadership Team.  He is responsible for all financial aspects of the Academy and provides Financial support and training to other Academies within the Trust. Gary is also the Company Secretary for the Trust. Other responsibilities include HR and facilities. More recently Gary was successful in securing over £2m capital funding for a new Sports Hall, Learning and Inclusion Centre and the Conference Centre to support Teaching Schools and our Leadership development programmes.

Gary is a member of the Department for Education Technical Advisory Group and was part of the George Spencer team that secured the National College’s licence to deliver the new modular curriculum.

He was previously a company accountant in engineering and manufacturing.  

Jill Wilkinson, Chair of Governors at Portland Primary School
Jill was elected Chair of Governors at Portland Primary School and Nursery on 1 November 2012. This follows 4 years as Governor at the school. She has been involved in Ofsted Governor Interviews on the last two occasions for the school, and on numerous other occasions for other schools.   

Jill has successfully completed the NPQH and is currently undertaking the National College’s Leadership Development programme for Chairs of Governors.  

Jill is a local girl, educated in Strelley, now living in Stapleford. Jill became self-employed in April 2013 after a 3 year position as Vice Principal at George Spencer School. Prior to this, she worked as Keys To Success Education Improvement Partnership Manager with the William Sharp family for just under ten years to which Portland School is a member.  

Jill is currently supporting a number of schools and a Teaching School Alliance on a range of different programmes, including Governance, Leadership and Management, Challenge Partners and brokering business partnerships with schools for work experience and apprenticeship development.  

As part of a partnership arrangement with the Local Authority, Jill was commissioned to become an additional Local Authority Governor for a school in Newark where Governance was judged inadequate in May 2010. As a result of the Partnership work, satisfactory progress in Governance has been acknowledged by Ofsted.  

Jill has also delivered a short ‘task and finish’ improvement programme for the Governors and Senior Leadership team for an Academy in Nottingham City between September-December 2009.


Susan Jowett M Ed BA, Executive Principal | Mr F Mitchell BA NPQH, Principal | 11-18 School | Number on Roll: 1430
George Spencer Academy, Arthur Mee Road, Stapleford, Nottingham NG9 7EW | Tel: 0115 9170100 | Fax: 0115 9170101 | Email:
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