Pupils ‘thrive’ at The Littleton’s CE First School

The Littletons Church of England First school has been judged to be a good school in its recent Ofsted inspection. In their report, the inspectors highlighted the fact that the pupils ‘thrive’ at the school and ‘the headteacher’s calm and supportive approach makes everyone feel welcome.’

The Littletons First School has 133 pupils aged between 5 and 10 and is part of the Diocese of Worcester Multi Academy Trust. It was inspected by Ofsted in January when inspectors met with subject leaders for English, Mathematics and History, carried out lesson visits and looked at pupils’ books. Meetings were held with teachers and pupils to discuss teaching and learning.

The resulting report said: “Pupils at this small, rural first school are very happy. Teachers have high expectations of pupils’ behaviour; which pupils live up to. They live and breathe the academy’s values of caring, honesty, perseverance, respect and responsibility. Pupils are polite, kind and helpful to each other. Parents and carers say that their children flourish here [and] are nurtured and supported well to understand the wider world and their part in it as they grow up.”

Headteacher, Helen Brambani said: “It is a privilege to work at this fantastic village school where everyone is dedicated to achieving the very best for our children. We are delighted with the outcome of this glowing report”

The report praised the school’s teaching of reading, writing and maths, ‘Pupils love reading. There is a real buzz about reading in school’. Ofsted comments that the curriculum is ‘consistently well planned and delivered’ and ‘pupils behave well in lessons because they know what is expected of them.’ The report highlights the fact that ‘pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) receive effective support to succeed.’

Ofsted also said: “Learning at the Littletons extends well beyond the curriculum. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is well supported. They take part in lots of extra-curricular activities. For example, pupils meet at lunchtime to discuss how they can reduce plastic use in school and at home. Pupils run awareness campaigns and fundraising events such as collecting donations for the local food bank. Some pupils lead worship in school or take part in Young Voices, an annual, regional celebration of music.”

Claire Davies, CEO of the Diocese of Worcester Multi Academy Trust said: “We are exceptionally proud of all the staff, pupils, governors and families at The Littletons CE First School who have worked so hard to make this school such a special learning environment. This Ofsted outcome was well deserved and is an accurate reflection of the excellent provision in place for each pupil at the school.”

By Sam Setchell



Congratulations to Crowle CE First School for receiving a Good judgement from Ofsted

Crowle Church of England First School has been judged to be a good school in its recent Ofsted inspection. In their report, the inspectors highlighted the fact that the “pupils love school” and that they “thrive and achieve well”.

Crowle First School has 66 pupils aged between 5 and 9 and is part of the Diocese of Worcester Multi Academy Trust. It was inspected by Ofsted in October when inspectors met with subject leaders for English, mathematics and history, carried out lesson visits and looked at pupils’ books. Meetings were held with teachers and pupils to discuss teaching and learning.

The resulting report said: “The family atmosphere here means that staff know all the pupils very well. The school’s vision is that pupils are supported to become caring, confident and committed to learning. This underpins everything staff do. As a result, pupils thrive and achieve well…The headteacher and other staff have ambitious aims for all pupils to achieve their very best. Pupils respond well to this challenge.”

Headteacher, Martina Abbott said: “Crowle First School offers children a wholly holistic education. We have very high academic expectations of every child in the school, but recognise that you only get this when first and foremost children are safe, confident and happy. I am so proud of all the children, parents and staff at Crowle First School and feel this positive Ofsted report is a true reflection on all that we do. We continue to strive to be the best we can possibly be, every day!"

The report praised the school’s teaching of reading, writing and maths, with the majority of children achieving well in these areas compared with other pupils nationally. Teachers identify pupils at risk of falling behind in reading, helping them to catch up quickly and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well supported with their work.

Ofsted also said: “Pupils enjoy interesting activities beyond the classroom. [They] sing in church or take part in writing, sporting or spelling competitions. Older pupils act as playground buddies or run assemblies for the whole school. Trips to places of worship help to broaden pupils’ horizons. Pupils build confidence and resilience from the day they start school. They know that they can learn from their mistakes [and] are encouraged to set goals and keep trying until they achieve them.”

Claire Davies, CEO of the Diocese of Worcester Multi Academy Trust said, “Crowle is a delightful school, with staff and Governors all prepared to go the extra mile to ensure their pupils are happy, safe and achieve of their best. We are so pleased with this superb outcome.”

By Sam Setchell


Welcome to Mrs Judith Tinsley and Mrs Sandra Jennings

We are very pleased to welcome two new members of staff who are joining our Executive Team of DoWMAT Headteachers, this year. 

Mrs Tinsley has taken up a temporary post as Executive Headteacher of the Pinvin Federation (Pinvin CE First School and St. Nicholas CE Middle School) following the departure of Mr. Steve Payne, the previous Executive Headteacher. Mrs Tinsley's post is temporary while the Trust and the Local Academy Board seek to recruit a new person into this role for September 2020. 

Mrs Jennings role as Head of School for St. Nicholas CE Middle School is likewise a temporary post while Mrs Rushton is on maternity leave. 

We wish both a successful and fulfilling year. 



A very warm welcome to all our staff, Local Academy Board members, pupils and families for what is undoubtedly going to be a busy and exciting year.


We are very pleased to announce that @D0wmat now has a Twitter account!

Do follow us to find out all our news! 



  1. DoWMAT operates on a day-to-day basis by having a ‘Scheme of Delegation’ that sets out what decisions are reserved to the Board of Directors, and what decisions are delegated either to DoWMAT executive officers or to individual Academies.
  2. Experience has shown that our current Scheme of Delegation is not really ‘fit for purpose’. But rather than replace it unilaterally, the Board of Directors has decided to seek the views and opinions of stakeholders in the DoWMAT family on the enclosed Draft Scheme of Delegation.
  3. Our general approach is to delegate as much as possible to individual Academies save where the law requires matters are determined at DoWMAT level or where the Board feels that decision-taking should be retained at DoWMAT level. Where the law requires that a decision is taken by a Headteacher, then obviously the Scheme of Delegation does not seek to disturb that.
  4. We have also taken the opportunity to introduce some terminology that will apply across DoWMAT in our policies and procedures in future:
  5. DoWMAT will be referred to as “The Trust”, and its Board of Directors as “The Trust Board”.
    b. Individual schools in The Trust are referred to as “Academies”.
    c. “Local Academy Boards”, or LABs, are the new name for what were known as “Local Governing Bodies”. This reflects the change in legal status from pre-academisation “Governing Bodies”, and the fact that they are expected to act as “Boards” at a local level in holding their executive (the Headteacher and SLT) to account.
  6. We very much look forward to receiving your consultation responses on the proposed Scheme of Delegation. You can do so either by making ‘tracked changes’ and ‘comments’ on the draft, or in a free-standing document. Please ensure that all responses are received by the DoWMAT Chief Executive by 5pm on Tuesday 9th April 2019 – email to claire.davies@dowmat.education will suffice.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Richards


International Harry Potter Book Night - celebrated in style at St. Barnabas CE First and Middle, Drakes Broughton

Pupils and Staff from St Barnabas CE First & Middle School hosted a Harry Potter Book Night last night. Over a 100 pupils joined in with over two hours of Harry Potter themed activities including potion making and riddle solving. 


Business and Finance Update

The DoWMAT school's Business and Finance Managers met on Monday 28th January 2019 for the first of their two termly meetings. This meeting saw Russell Dalton, Chief Operating Officer, and Claire Rushton, Trust Finance Manager, update everyone on the recommendations received after the annual audit, set out the way ahead to implement the recommendations and how processes and systems will be streamlined. The morning session was extremely interactive with everyone agreeing that the new processes and reports will ensure the financial procedures are significantly improved and reporting to Governors and senior management can be done in a much more accurate and timely manner.


Curriculum Update

Many thanks to Jane Howard (Babcock) for leading all our Headteachers, this morning, in a very purposeful session about the Curriculum.

The time to reflect on the Intent, Implementation and Impact of the Curriculum in each of our individual academies - and the time taken to review the expectations outlined in the draft inspection framework - were particularly well received. 

We all left with renewed clarity of purpose for our next steps.


New Finance Manager of the DoWMAT

Claire Rushton has been appointed as Finance Manager of the Diocese of Worcester Multi Academy Trust (DoWMAT)

Claire Rushton took up her post as the new Finance Manager of the Diocese of Worcester Multi Academy Trust (DoWMAT) on Monday 5th November, this year. Claire joins the DoWMAT from Pershore High School, where she spent 13 years, progressing from School Finance Officer to the role of School Business Manager, when the school formed Avonreach Academy Trust. In her role as School Business Manager, she offered financial support and guidance to all of the schools in the Trust. Before joining Pershore High School in 2005, Claire spent 8 years working in various roles at HSBC.

Claire said: “I am thrilled to be working for the DoWMAT and working with all the academies in the Trust. There are many challenges that lie ahead for academies, in particular with funding. We all face these struggles together and I am looking forward to assisting all academies within the DoWMAT over the coming years, to achieve the highest of standards in the most challenging of times.”

The DoWMAT currently includes twelve first, middle and primary schools, and looks to welcome further schools into their family of academies over the next few years. As the DoWMAT’s Finance Manager, Claire’s key role is to provide day-to-day financial management for the Trust. In addition, she will assist and advise headteachers, School Business Managers and finance staff, within the academies, on all financial management matters. Her role will involve working both in the DoWMAT offices and offsite, in the academies.

“I am always up for a challenge and always willing to ‘roll my sleeves up’,” continued Claire. “I am very much looking forward to meeting the staff and pupils in the DoWMAT schools over the coming months and supporting wherever I can.”

Claire is married to Tom and they have a young daughter, Kate, who keeps them very busy outside of work! In her spare time, Claire loves cooking, listening to a wide variety of music and supports the Worcester Warriors rugby team.


Building Improvement Projects Completed in DoWMAT Academies

Vital building improvement projects took place in several academies in the Diocese of Worcester Multi Academy Trust (DoWMAT) during the summer break, after DoWMAT successfully secured governmental Condition Improvement Funding (CIF) earlier in 2018.

A total of £703,209 was received by DoWMAT and was used to complete projects including fire safety work, the replacement of structural features and cloakroom refurbishments. The majority of projects were completed over the summer break, with the remaining few currently in the final stages of completion. Thanks to the improvement works, the academies started the new term better equipped and refreshed.

Claire Davies, CEO of DoWMAT, said “The CIF is an annual bidding round, through which academies can apply for essential funding to keep school buildings secure and in good working order. We are determined to do all we can to ensure the buildings, in which our pupils spend such a large part of their school life, are safe, welcoming and conducive to learning. To find out that our bids, on behalf of 7 of our academies, were successful, has been a great delight to us all!”

Sue Parker, headteacher of Malvern Parish CE Primary School, said the works had “completely transformed” their toilets and cloakrooms. “They are now bright, spacious, modern and pleasant for children to use,” Sue continued.

Martina Abbott, headteacher of Crowle CE First School, said, “We are delighted with our new windows. They are aesthetically very pleasing and will hopefully help save on heating bills in the coming winter months. The classrooms feel lighter and brighter, and they have made a real impact to our learning environments. We are grateful for the CIF money received, and for all the hard work that has gone in to making this project complete."

DoWMAT hope to be similarly successful in this year’s round of applications for funding.

by Laura Farmer


New Phase for DoWMAT!

This September sees the start of a new phase for DoWMAT.

Our expert Central Team is now fully in place to offer a truly excellent level of support for all our academies – both in terms of Finance and School Improvement.

In addition, we have a growing team of teachers able to work across all our academies to develop good practice in key areas of provision.

Together with the increasingly collaborative nature of the relationship between each of the DoWMAT academies, this will ensure we are all in a strong place to take on the challenges and discoveries of a new academic year.


Welcome to Two New Academies

This summer, we have welcomed two new primary schools into our DoWMAT family. Castlemorton and Powick CE Primary Schools (Malvern) joined the Trust on 1st July 2018.

Since the Trust was established in September 2016, we have now grown to 12 academies. All are fully determined to work together to develop and secure high quality educational provision in our schools, so that each and every one of our 2,500 children benefits from an excellent school place.


DoWMAT Headteachers Conference

Our first DoWMAT Headteachers Conference ran without a hiccup and was a very successful event where we were able to focus on our priorities for next year  - and, of course, the subject on everyone's lips - GDPR compliance.

The high point was the  thought-provoking key note session led by Floyd Woodrow on the importance of having set goals, clear plans and a determined, principled stance. Two DoWMAT schools are already using Floyd's Compass for Life strategies to great effect with their students and were very positive about the significant impact this is having in developing the key  attitudes needed for successful learning. We all appreciated Floyd's message and came away from the conference buzzing with ideas on how this would help not only our school journeys but our own personal way forward in our individual leadership roles.

Headteacher comments following the event:

"Thanks again for organising last week, I've been thinking lots about Floyd's presentation and how his principles may help to move our thinking and practice on; especially thinking about our boys in my school and for some of the boys I met on my NPQH partnership visit  and even for my own son. It's so good to be introduced to new ideas and then to have the opportunity to think about how they can be adapted for our own situations."

"I have also been meaning to email and say that I felt the head's conference last week was really beneficial in lots of ways. It was good to hear the bigger picture and the expectations from the RSC , and the speaker was very engaging. Every time we meet it feels as though the trust and team spirit is growing and developing and the opportunity to meet in such a location, with the added bonus of a lovely day made it. Thank you."


Russell Dalton becomes DoWMAT COO

From 1 April this year, Russell Dalton became the new Chief Operating Officer of the Diocese of Worcester Multi-Academy Trust (DoWMAT). Russell joins the DoWMAT from Pershore High School where as Finance and Business Director he helped the school become an academy and form a small multi-academy trust. Before that he spent 23 years in the Army.
Russell said: “I’m looking forward to using my leadership experience to provide strategic input to a much larger multi-academy trust. I moved into education to try to improve learning outcomes for young people and I believe strongly in the ethos of the DoWMAT to ensure schools are focussed on the child and their achievements.”
The DoWMAT currently includes ten primary schools, with more lined up to join shortly. “It has grown rapidly in a short space of time,” continued Russell. “That’s great, but it means there is a lot to do. My role will be to help achieve a level of standardisation across the MAT, helping our schools to focus on teaching and learning and improving standards. I’ll also be ensuring that every school is financially viable.
“However, the aim is to give our schools as much autonomy as possible. I definitely don’t have a monopoly on good ideas! I am confident that I can ensure there is transparent and open dialogue about what is required, listen to the views of everyone involved and then give clear direction.”
Russell joined the army when he was 16 and rose to the rank of Regimental Sargeant Major before moving into education. While at Pershore High School he was nominated as School Business Manager of the Year and was an advocate for the National College of School Leaders. He is married to Angelique and they have two grown up children. In his spare time Russell enjoys outdoor activities, running, dancing, going to the gym and baking exceedingly good cakes!

By Sam Setchell


Mr. Russell Dalton starts as Chief Operations Officer for DoWMAT

Russell, formally the Business Manager of Pershore High School is now a full-time member of our DoWMAT Central Team. He joins CEO Claire Davies and Academy Support officer Claire Roberts at the DoWMAT office in the Old Palace, Worcester.

Russell will looking after the Trust finances and operations and can be contacted by the following email address;



Successful CIF Bids for DoWMAT academies

Today we are celebrating after hearing the good news that several of the bids we put in for the Conditions Improvement Fund have been successful. The work we will now be able to complete in these academies will definitely benefit our pupils. Altogether, the grants amount to £703,209 across the following schools.

Pinvin                                       Flat roofs
St. Nicholas                              Fencing
The Littletons                           Window and door replacements
St. Barnabas                             Window replacement works and roof replacement works
Malvern Parish                          Toilet refurbishment
Madresfield                              Fire safety work and boiler replacement
Crowle                                     Windows


St. Oswalds Primary School joins DoWMAT

We are very pleased to welcome St. Oswald's in Kidderminster into our DoWMAT family. St. Oswald's is the 10th school to join our team.

St Oswald’s CE Primary School and Nursery opened in September 2007 (having previously been St Oswald’s First School), and caters for children, aged 3-11 years of age.


School Business Managers' Day 

A great day for everyone to share ideas and ensure our finance systems are robust across all our academies. Thank you to St. Barnabas CE First and Middle for hosting - and for Chris Dryer from Services 4Schools for leading the session.


Welcome to Mrs Abbott - new Headteacher at Crowle CE First School

As many of you may be aware, Crowle CE First School and the DoWMAT family of schools said a very sad goodbye to Miss Biggs at the end of the Autumn term 2017.

However, the school has since appointed a new Headteacher and Mrs Abbott starts her new post this month. We wish her every success in this new role.


Netherton CE Primary School in Dudley joins DoWMAT

We are thrilled that Netherton C of E Primary School is now part of our DoWMAT family. The school is a voluntary controlled (V.C.) primary school and has its origins in the early part of the 19th Century. In 1989 the school was relocated to its present site, after refurbishment of the former Yew Tree Hill First School.

The school is a one and a half form entry primary school, with a Nursery Unit, and is soon to be going to a two form entry with the addition of two new classes.

The school continues to retain a close affinity to St. Andrew’s Church, Netherton and with the Dudley Church of England Schools Foundation, which continues to support the school with grants and donations from time to time.


We are pleased to welcome two new members onto our Trust team this September.

Mrs Claire Davies is joining us as our new Chief Executive Officer for the DoWMAT.  Mrs Davies will be working with us for two days a week until the end of December, alongside our Interim CEO, Mrs Karen Surrall. From January, Mrs Davies will be joining us full time.
Also joining the team is Mrs Claire Roberts who will be providing business support for all our academies.


Claire Davies has been appointed as the new CEO of the Diocese of Worcester Multi-Academy Trust.

Claire Davies, currently Headteacher at St Matthias CE Primary Academy in Malvern and Executive Headteacher of Elmley Castle CE First School, has been appointed as the new CEO of the Diocese of Worcester Multi-Academy Trust (DoWMAT). The DoWMAT provides a route to becoming an Academy for any school across Worcestershire and Dudley wanting to join a trust with clear Christian values and vision. There are currently eight primary schools in the DoWMAT with a number of others in the pipeline to join.

Claire will take over from Interim CEO, Karen Surrall, who has been responsible for the initial set up of the DoWMAT; turning the diocesan vision into a robust reality. Claire will now look to grow and develop the offer for schools, ensuring that those who are part of the Trust continue to be supported effectively and standards across the schools continue to improve.

Claire said:
“Karen has done an amazing job in establishing the DoWMAT and I’m looking forward to working alongside her for my first few months as I start to build strong professional relationships with each of the schools. From January, I will take on the role full time, co-ordinating the Trust and building capacity within the DoWMAT to enable each of the schools to flourish. I am very excited about working with a group of extremely committed and dedicated headteachers, their staff teams and the local governing bodies of each academy.”

Claire brings her experience of working as Headteacher of three very different church schools. She has a background in school development and effectiveness; always looking for ways to improve the schools in which she has worked so that children have the best possible chance to achieve of their best. She has also looked after school budgets; working with Academy Boards to keep schools financially viable and sustainable.

She said: 
“This post will be a new challenge for me and I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with schools from a different perspective. The Diocese is committed to creating and sustaining a family of academies working collaboratively to achieve excellent outcomes for children. This is very reassuring for our headteachers who face many challenges in today’s educational landscape and I am pleased and excited to be part of such a worthwhile venture.”

Claire joins the DoWMAT part time in September, gradually increasing her hours over the first three months. The DoWMAT is still relatively new with the first schools joining last February. Claire will help to develop the structures of the Trust, providing strategic leadership and direction as well as support for the schools involved. She will also work closely with the Diocesan Education Team to ensure that church schools within the Diocese of Worcester continue to be both challenged and supported at a time of significant change within the education landscape. 
By Sam Setchell