Letter to Parents

A letter from Peter Little – Chairman of BEMAT
26th November 2015

Dear Parents,

On 6 October 2015, at the invitation of the Department for Education and the Board of Directors, I accepted the position of Trustee and Director of BEMAT. I have been the Chairman of Reach2 Academy Trust since 2012 during which time Reach2 has grown from 6 schools to nearly 50. This experience has been invaluable during my first 8 weeks at BEMAT as I have become familiar with many of the more pressing issues facing the Trust.

At BEMAT, we believe that all children deserve a great education – an education that allows them to achieve, extend their potential and follow their dreams. The route to achieving this is through excellent leadership and the educational excellence of the individual academies. Each academy has its own distinctive ethos and character and expects support and challenge from its local governing body and from BEMAT itself.

Over the recent months, the leadership, support and challenge from BEMAT has been questioned. In many people’s eyes it has fallen short of their hopes and expectations. In response to this, your directors have been busy driving through a program of change that I would like to highlight.

BEMAT is a charitable company limited by guarantee and has two layers of governance:

  • The members of the trust, who operate at a strategic level
  • The directors, who have the responsibilities delegated to them by the academy trust.

The constitution of an academy trust is set out in its articles of association, which are agreed with the Secretary of State. On 24 November 2015 a general meeting of BEMAT was held where a new set of Articles of Association was adopted, and the Members of BEMAT were changed. The minutes of the general meeting are available here. Today the Members are Peter Little, David Shelvey, and Carolyn Devereux.

The Board of Directors has been refreshed, and we are a newly-formed team that retains the experience of David Shelvey. He is joined by Lorraine Macdonald, Julie Hollings, Paul Walker and myself. There are profiles of each of the directors available here. The Executive Leadership of the Trust comprises the Principals of the individual BEMAT academies.

BEMAT has recruited a new Chief Executive Officer who will take up his post as soon as possible. Dr Alan Lee has held the post of Executive Principal at the St Francis of Assisi Academies Trust in Bedford since 2010 and is an exceptional leader and educationalist. Alan is a National Leader of Education and qualified as a lead inspector for Ofsted in 2013. We are all looking forward to the impact Alan will have on the organisation.

The re-establishment of the local governing body at Robert Bloomfield Academy (RBA) is an urgent priority and is being led by another new face, Chris Hilliard. Chris is a National Leader of Governance and has been introduced to BEMAT by the Department for Education. Chris will provide independent guidance to the trust and RBA as the new governing body is established. He will be working in close collaboration with Julian Axford, the acting Principal and Paul Walker. I am optimistic that Chris’s role will be complete by the end of term.

I hope you will agree that the influx of new blood to the Membership of the Trust, the Board of Directors and the Leadership Team has already made a significant difference to the leadership and governance of the trust. These are the first pages of the next chapter of BEMAT’s future.

My final point is about communication. I am committed to keeping the parents, staff and governors at BEMAT fully informed. We have a new website, www.bemat.co.uk which will be growing and becoming an ever more important means of communication for us all. You will find more details surrounding the announcements in this letter on the website. It is not intended to be a substitute for the individual academies’ websites and will concentrate on trust issues. Please keep in touch via the website – your comments in the news section will be seen and responded to where required.

Yours sincerely,
Peter Little