Selling C of E Primary School Lynsted & Norton Primary School Milstead & Frinsted C of E Primary School Petham Primary School Pilgrimsí Way Primary School & Nursery Lydd Primary School & Nursery Dymchurch Primary School
What our staff have to say...
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“As a small school we always feel that our voice matters in the Village Academy.”
- Mark Pearmain, Trustee and Chair of Milstead and Frinsted C of E Primary School Academy Council.
“Common sense rules”. - Martin Swainson, Member and Trustee
“When my school joined the academy there were the normal worries of how it might change everything, however the transition was well explained and very smooth. We did not have to become someone else and our school's differences were celebrated. I have found the academy provides a very supportive environment to work in. It has enabled me to learn alongside other colleagues and experience a range of school settings”.
- Emma Campbell, Assistant Headteacher, Pilgrims’ Way Primary School and Staff Trustee
“We have a great teamwork ethos at Lydd, our staff have fun and enjoy being here, as well as working hard. Joining the Village Academy has been such a relief to find that there are others who feel exactly the same way! We were initially worried that by joining an academy we would lose our (sometimes slightly crazy) uniqueness, but in this Academy we have found that they embrace and encourage individuality. At the end of the day we all just want to provide the best we can for the children in our care, it’s such a relief to be part of a supportive group of people who all feel the same way.
When supply teachers come in they often ask who our academy group are as they love the ‘feel’ in our school that comes from having happy staff and happy children. The next question is often do we have any vacancies coming up! (I didn’t get paid to write this.)”.
- Nicki Man, Head Teacher, Lydd Primary School.
"I have been involved with the Academy from the very beginning, as a teacher in the soft federation of two schools, to Assistant Principal of The Village Academy with seven very different schools. We have developed and evolved as a team but always with the space and freedom for individual schools to maintain their identity and ethos. I feel the major advantage of our Academy set up is the sharing of good practice and ideas. There is no such thing as a silly question and we work as a very strong team to develop everyone's practice. At all levels, staff have the opportunity to see strong practice and share (steal) ideas, as well as sharing workload. We have huge expertise in every field and the sharing of this knowledge has made us a stronger team. As much of a cliché as it sounds, The Village Academy has a real family feel and even our bigger schools have the small family Village School ethos. The only way to truly understand how we work is to get in and see for yourself. We are always open to visitors and are happy to talk freely about how it works for us. One size doesn't fit all and in fact we celebrate the uniqueness of each of our schools."
- Kelly Collens, Assistant Principal
“As a 'Good' School, the Governors at Dymchurch didn’t particularly have converting to an Academy on its agenda. We had previously investigated the option – but decided it hadn’t been for us. When circumstances provided an opportunity to work with the Village Academy and therefore evaluate the ethos, values and support they were able to offer, it gave us a great opportunity to consider whether we wanted to join the Trust on a permanent basis. Ultimately it was the “Together, but different” approach that sold it for us. As a school, Dymchurch is every bit the unique school it always has been but now has the added supportive close working “family” network the Village offers”.
- Dawn Smith, Trustee and Chair of Dymchurch Primary School Academy Council
"What struck me when I became a Director of The Village Academy was the calibre of the Board and their discussions. The Board of Trustees is a really interesting group of individuals, all professionals, all with an immense commitment to education, and all with a spark to them, which means that they certainly challenge the Senior Leadership Team and the schools, but always in a constructive way. They come from a variety of backgrounds which means that they each bring a different perspective to the challenge and often have great suggestions to resolve seemingly intractable issues. It is a privilege to work with them". - Petra Bensted, Chair of Trustees
"The Village Academy has allowed Dymchurch to retain all the great things which make it unique, whilst providing the support we need to deliver the education that our children deserve. The best practice that is shared between all our schools is second to none. When we need to share wonderful moments that occur in school, or when we need advice or support there is always someone on the end of the line. We are in the privileged position of being able to be ‘together’ with like-minded professionals with a unified purpose, yet still working within diverse and very ‘different’ schools".
- Lyndsey Holtby-Smith, Head Teacher, Dymchurch Primary School
"Selling School was already federated with Lynsted and Milstead schools when we joined The Village Academy. We’d already seen the benefits of working closely together with these schools, so it seemed a very natural transition for us. The fact that you can gain from other people’s experiences and expertise is a huge benefit and you never feel isolated. The Academy provides an excellent support network which is helpful for all staff. As Head Teacher, I have always felt supported and knowing that someone is only a call away has been invaluable".
- Kristina Dyer, Head Teacher, Selling C of E Primary School
"As an NQT, my experience of being part of an academy has been extremely positive and beneficial. The Village Academy provides a fantastic support network which has been very valuable in my development as a teacher this year. I have had many opportunities to visit other schools and observe a variety of teachers and classroom environments. This has enabled me to gain a vast amount of experience and ideas, which I have then utilised within my own classroom and teaching practice. Furthermore, whenever I have needed advice or support, there has been a large network of contacts who are always willing to share their ideas and give guidance". - Katie Thorn, NQT, Lynsted & Norton Primary School