Vale Academy Trust

General Information

For any school seeking to join the Vale Academy Trust from March 2016, the following information may be useful. It focuses mainly on operational issues but also makes reference to ethos and Teaching and Learning aspects of our Trust. This document will continue to be updated and adapted as we work together. However, the fundamental belief of the Vale Academy Trust is that schools will work in partnership and share resources so that the maximum benefit can be gained for all the young people in our schools. This also includes removing from Headteachers some of the day-to-day mundane tasks which they may currently undertake, and passing these on to a central ‘back office’ team, thus allowing Headteachers to focus on Teaching and Learning, Progress and Attainment, Behaviour and Leadership.


The Vale Academy Trust was formed on 1st October 2013 when three local schools came together to work in partnership. There are now six current member academies; the three founding schools, and three that have since joined the Trust. It is expected that other local schools will seek to join the Trust over the coming two years. Our Trust is made up of C of E and non C of E schools and, as such, is able to cater for either type of school ensuring that the individual ethos or faith element is protected.


The Vale Academy Trust is expecting to expand over the coming months. The Department of Education has also approved the Academy Trust as a Sponsoring Trust.


Wantage C of E Primary School

Wantage C of E Primary is a 3-11 Voluntary Controlled Church of England Primary School and Nursery with 421 pupils. It converted to an academy on 1st October 2013. The school is currently graded as Good by Ofsted. (June 2015)


Charlton Primary School

Charlton Primary School in Wantage is a 4-11 Primary School and also converted to an academy on 1st October 2013. It currently has 365 pupils but is expanding to two form entry across the school. The school is currently graded as Good by Ofsted. (June 2015)


King Alfred’s Academy

King Alfred’s was a Foundation School until it converted to an academy in August 2011. It is an 11-18 school with 1850 students. It is also a Teaching School and a National Support School and helped form the Trust in October 2013. The school is currently graded as Outstanding by Ofsted.


Larkmead School

Larkmead School is an 11-18 secondary school with 781 students based in Abingdon. It converted to an academy and joined the Vale Academy Trust in January 2017. It is currently rated as “Good” by Ofsted. (Feb 2015)


St Nicholas C of E Primary School

St Nicholas C of E Primary joined the Trust on 1st October 2014. Currently it has 94 pupils from 4-11. The school is currently graded as Good by Ofsted.


Millbrook Primary School

Millbrook Primary joined the Vale Academy Trust on 1st December 2014. Currently it has 435 pupils. The school is currently graded as ‘RI’ but has been officially graded as ‘Good’ by Ofsted in the areas of Leadership and Management and Early Years Foundation Stage Provision. Safeguarding has also been judged as effective.


St James C of E Primary School

St James joined the Vale Academy Trust in March 2016. Currently it has 115 pupils but is expanding to one form entry. The school is currently graded as Good by Ofsted.


Thameside Primary School

Thameside Primary School is a 3 – 11 community primary school based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The school joined the Vale Academy Trust on 1st August 2017. It was rated “Good” overall by Ofsted, following inspection in March 2014.



The ethos of the Trust is very clear. It was formed by local Heads, governors, and other stakeholders to ensure high quality education for children within our local community during these very turbulent and changing times. We all believe that no school should work alone and that by working together we can deliver higher standards, more opportunities for children and fantastic opportunities for staff development.


We were the first trust of its kind in the country where non C of E schools and C of E schools came together to form a local multi academy trust. As such, each academy has its own distinctive nature and ethos, but underpinning this is our shared vision for high quality education for local children. The academies have agreed, therefore, to support each other in any way possible and this has already led to many exciting joint school projects which are proving beneficial, not only for the children within the Trust, but also for the development of staff working within the Trust.


The day-to-day local operation of each academy remains the responsibility of the Headteacher, their staff and the Local Governing Body. Both the Board and the Local Governing Bodies are supported by various Committees. To view the Vale Academy Trust Structure Chart CLICK HERE. To see the current Scheme of Delegation CLICK HERE.



The Future

Our aim is to ensure that every child within the Trust has access to high quality and exciting education from 2-18, with staff being able to focus on the important aspects of Teaching and Learning whilst leaving the non-teaching aspects of the Trust to a dedicated specialist support team.


At the same time, the Trust is engaging with other stakeholders within education across our region to help develop our vision for the Trust. This includes discussions with Oxford Board of Education so that we will be able to welcome current voluntary aided (VA) schools into our Trust from September 2018. We are also talking with other local multi academy trusts to strengthen our collaborative style of working, which may, in future, lead to a closer working relationship with regard to both Teaching and Learning and School Improvement, and an expansion of ‘back office’ support.

Team Members


Chief Executive of Vale Academy Trust

Simon Spiers

Charlton Primary Headteacher

Steve Rose

King Alfred’s Headteacher

Jon Smart (Interim Apr - Sep). Rick Holroyd from Sep 2018

Larkmead School Headteacher

Chris Harris

Millbrook Headteacher

Jane Ratcliffe (also Executive Headteacher across the Trust)

St James C of E Headteacher

Janice Peacock

St Nicholas C of E Headteacher

Elise Keymer (Interim Apr - Sep)

Thameside Primary Headteacher

Anna Grice

Wantage C of E Headteacher

Evy Boehm (Interim Apr - Sep). Andrew Browne from Sep 2018

VAT Finance Director

Richard Quayle

VAT HR Directo

Jean Creagh

VAT Financial Controller

Shelley Cook

VAT Senior Finance Officer

Sarah Keane

Head of Governance and Policy

Vicky Roberts

Operations Manager (P/T)

Hayley Munro

Operations Assistant (P/T)

Suzy Smart

VAT Assistant Headteacher – Inclusion

Will Harvey

Director of Learning - Primary and Transition

Hazel Pittard

VAT Specialist Literacy Teacher (P/T)

Kate Wigley

VAT Specialist Numeracy Teachers (P/T)

Sarah Read / Katie Mallinson

Assistant Headteacher - Teaching and Learning (Primary) (P/T)

Kerry Cottrell

VAT Primary Music Specialist

Gordon Campbell

VAT Public Relations and Media Specialist

Roxie Boulter

VAT EYFS Specialist

Alison Base

VAT Head of Primary PE

Paul Chadwick

VAT Data Officer

Robert Hosking

Peer Reviewer (Responsible Officer)




Further V.A.T. Information


See the website

Wantage CE Primary School, Newbury Street, Wantage, Oxon OX12 8DJ

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