Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bedford College Academies Trust?

Bedford College Academies Trust (BCAT) was established to develop and provide the highest quality education to local young people. The specific aim is to deliver world-class education and skills to the communities we serve.

BCAT sees itself as part of a local family of schools and academies and will normally only consider sponsoring institutions if they wish to be sponsored by us. Our commitment to Bedfordshire means that we are fully focussed on this area alone, meaning that all of our resources are locally available at all times.

What are the benefits of being part of an Academies Trust?

  • We will receive additional funding to local authority schools – for schools under local authority control, some money is held back for management and services.
  • We will have more flexibility in how we use the school budget and have more freedom in how we spend it to best meet the priorities of our pupils and the school.
  • We will have the opportunity to share knowledge and teaching and learning with other schools as they join the Trust, which will be exciting and stimulating for the staff and lead to better outcomes for pupils.
  • We will also be able to centralise support functions so they are efficient and cost-effective, thereby releasing more money for teaching and learning.
  • We will be able to tailor the school day and term to suit the needs of our pupils and parents.
  • We will be able to provide pupils with further opportunities to access apprenticeships with local companies.

Wixams Tree Primary

When will the School open?

The School will open in September 2017.

What size will the School be?

The School will have 420 pupils plus nursery of 26 once it is fully open.

What age group will the School be available to?

The School will be for Nursery to 11 year olds.

Will I have to pay to send my child to the School?

No.

Where will the School be located?

Our new school will is on Green Lane, Wixams, at the heart of the community, sitting within large grounds close to what will be the centre of the village.

Being brand new, how can I as a potential parent assess how good you will be?

No new school has a track record it can call upon. We can promise a new and enthusiastic team who will be able to concentrate on your child’s education. We have been able to plan the School based on things from some of the best schools around the world.

What are the benefits of my child going here?

Our vision is to provide all children an outstanding primary school in the heart of Wixams, with a range of experiences and opportunities well beyond the constraints of a normal primary education.

Our new Primary will sit in large grounds in the heart of the Wixams community, alongside the new Secondary School, Wixams Academy. The Academy will offer children unique opportunities to access specialist facilities and teaching designed to enhance their learning experience.

Will Wixams Tree Primary still be inspected by Ofsted?

The school will be subject to the same regime and cycle of Ofsted inspections.

How will you work with the Local Authority?

Wixams Tree Primary will work with the Local Authority on common issues and will be part of the local school network that works in partnership to develop the outcomes for Bedford Borough children.

The Local Authority will have numerous statutory duties, including ensuring sufficient school places and appropriate provision for special educational needs.

How will I be able to get involved in my child’s education?

We will forge strong, constructive partnerships with parents and carers through a range of opportunities including:

  • The formation of a ‘Friends of Wixams Tree Primary’ group.
  • A comprehensive school entry programme for (new) families with children joining the school
  • High quality home school communication will be established with parents throughout the school;
  • Class teachers will be available at the end of each day for short informal conversations, or by appointment for more detailed discussions
  • Regular coffee mornings for all, run by the Family Support Manager and a teacher
  • And much more

The Curriculum

What/how will my child learn?

Wixams Tree Primary provides a vibrant and exciting learning environment where all children feel happy and confident to achieve excellence in everything they do.

A modern curriculum underpinned by inspiring, real life experiences through which children develop key skills across all subject areas.

Access to the best learning equipment and resources, including state of the art ICT.

A culture of continual learning enhanced by a stimulating enrichment programme encouraging personal growth.

Will there be school trips?

We aim to make the learning as engaging as possible, which will include opportunities for school trips. There ask for contributions for some of these trips, but this will not prevent children from taking part.

Applications/entry

How do I apply?

For the first year, you should apply directly on our website.

How will my child be supported to join the school?

We believe in having the most comprehensive and supportive entry and transition programmes possible.

Entry to the school will be supported by a range of information events, meetings and home visits.

What is the catchment area of the School?

There is no catchment area – the School is open to all pupils regardless of where they live.

If the School is oversubscribed then the oversubscription criteria will be applied.

Uniform

Will there be a uniform?

There will be a Wixams Tree Primary uniform. It will be available to purchase locally at reasonable prices.

We are currently consulting with parents and pupils on what this will look like and details and pictures will appear on this website soon.

Pupil Experience & Facilities

How big will class sizes be?

We anticipate the average class size will be 25.

What will be available before and after school as I am a working parent?

The School will provide teaching from 8.30am to 3.15pm each day. Breakfast and after school clubs and activities will be provided from 7.30am to 6.00pm.

This ‘wrap around care’ will be provided by a highly skilled staff team, who will provide your child with a range of activities and the option of food before and after school.

There will be a range of exciting optional clubs and activities after school, which will be run by our ‘Wrap around team’ and specialist coaches and providers.

There will be a charge for ‘wrap around’ and school clubs after school.

Hot lunches and/or vegetarian choices?

Both will be provided. We will also support the governments Universal Free School meals programme in Reception, 1 & 2.

Holidays – will they be different to that of the local authority?

The School will operate to the same academic year timetable as other schools in Bedford Borough.

What facilities will the School have?

We will offer great, modern facilities to ensure all learners have the most inspiring and up-to-date educational experience possible, including:

  • Activity studio
  • MUGA
  • Dining Hall
  • ‘Learning Streets’
  • Outdoor play and learning areas
  • Access to the Wixams Academy campus, with Sports Hall, science labs and other specialist facilities

Pupil Support

My child has special education needs. How can I be confident that they will be given the level of support, attention and care they require?

The Academies Act 2010 requires academies to follow the same statutory framework for special needs as local authority schools. We will receive funding for children with statements of special education needs in the same way, whether we are a School or local authority school.

Where children have special needs, but do not have a statement, once again, academies are required to have regard for the Code of Practice on SEN, in exactly the same way as local authority schools.

Who will be responsible for deciding if a pupil needs a Statement of Special Educational Needs?

The School’s specialist SENCO, working closely with parents, will decide whether to apply for a statement of special educational needs (EHCP).

The Local Authority would retain the responsibility for determining statements, and would decide whether the school is nominated on a pupil’s statement of SEN. The School would then plan and provide for pupils with statements.

Will my child be able to access free school meals?

Yes, subject to meeting the normal criteria set out by the Local Authority. We can help you with this. We will also provide Universal Free School Meals for Years Reception, 1 & 2.

What additional care will be available?

Excellent relationships between all children and staff will be key and specialist support support teams and structures will ensure all children achieve their full potential.