Press Release from the Headteacher of Three Towers Academy

Following an Ofsted Inspection on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th February 2018, Three Towers has been judged as Outstanding.

Everyone connected with Three Towers is immensely proud of our academy and this Ofsted report recognises the high standards and expectations that have been achieved in a relatively short space of time, particularly given the framework which is so much more demanding than previous ones.

Our learners consistently achieve better than the regional and national averages for PRUs and alternative provision academies and it was gratifying to see pupil outcomes recognised as outstanding.   I am thrilled that the inspectors obviously recognised the tireless hard work, commitment, determination and dedicated professionalism that occur every day in all aspects of our provision.

It is pleasing to read that ‘Leaders, governors and the multi-academy trust (MAT) – have worked with determination to provide the very best for all pupils.  As a result, Three Towers is an outstanding place to learn. Leaders are passionate about making a positive difference to pupils’ lives. Together with the whole-staff team, they remove barriers to learning and create a nurturing environment where pupils feel secure’.

We are delighted the inspection team recognised that ‘Pupils’ outstanding personal development and welfare are central to the work of the school’ and that ‘Pupils feel very safe and extremely well looked after in school. They said that adults are ‘supportive and understanding’.’

The inspectors were also extremely impressed by our ‘uncompromising belief in each individual pupil and the potential that can be unlocked.’

This is a tremendous achievement for our first full inspection and one that could not have been achieved without the unwaivering support, guidance and challenge of The Rowan Learning Trust.

Likewise I must acknowledge and thank parents for their continued support and contribution to Three Towers on a daily basis as well as through the inspection process.

Roy Halford, CEO of The Rowan Learning Trust said:

“I am so proud of the staff and governors at Three Towers. Anne Isherwood has worked so hard to develop and inspire Wigan’s vulnerable children. We now have two Outstanding schools in the Rowan Learning Trust. I am delighted.”

Please click the link below to view the report:

Three Towers Final Inspection Report

Hawkley Hall High School chosen to help train the next generation of teachers


national-teaching-school-logo-low-res - website useHawkley Hall High School has been selected to become a national teaching school.

Teaching schools take a leading role in recruiting and training new entrants to the profession. They identify and develop leadership potential, provide support for other schools to bring about school improvement, and work with schools across their teaching school alliance to raise standards of teaching.

Hawkley Hall High School is one of over 65 schools in England to be granted teaching school status in the latest recruitment round.

Introduced in 2011, teaching schools are excellent schools that work with partner schools in an alliance to provide high quality school-led initial teacher training and professional development opportunities for teachers at all stages of their career.

They raise standards through supporting other schools, especially those in challenging circumstances, and ensure that the most talented school leaders are spotted and supported to become successful headteachers.

Roy Halford, Chief Executive of the Rowan Learning Trust, said: “We are delighted that Hawkley Hall has been awarded Teaching School status. We can now build on and extend the National Support School work we have conducted for seven years supporting over 45 schools.”

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has responsibility, in partnership with headteachers from the Teaching Schools Council, for the appointment of teaching schools and the quality of the teaching schools programme. There are now 750 teaching schools across England.

Roger Pope, Chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said:

“I’d like to congratulate Hawkley Hall High School – they should be very proud of this achievement.

“Teaching schools are at the heart of school improvement. They’re supporting other schools, attracting and training the best new teachers and developing the next generation of leaders. At NCTL, we want to do all we can to support their work.”

The new cohort of teaching schools will be invited to attend a national teaching school induction event.
Notes to editors

For further information contact: Headteacher, Hawkley Hall High School on 01942 204640.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) is an executive agency of the Department for Education.

The Teaching Schools Council, made up of teaching school headteachers, represents all teaching schools.

For more information about the programme visit:






An ambition that all Rowan Learning Trust children are clear and confident communicators is the life blood of what the wider Trust community stands for. Literacy is not just about reading, writing and comprehension. Literacy is not something that is ‘learned’ at school and then simply forgotten. Literacy is crucial to all aspects of life. The Rowan Learning Trust views high standards of literacy as one of the main keys that can unlock potential in all students and as such is committed to raising standards in literacy to help young people as they venture out into the world beyond formal education.
In 1921, school inspector George Sampson stated that, ‘Every teacher in English is a teacher of English’. There is a collective responsibility for all teachers across the Trust to model high standards in terms of all forms of communication. Whether teachers are asking questions, providing verbal feedback, offering explanations, written feedback or indeed simply discussing a topic, it is their responsibility to demonstrate clear communication skills.
Schools in the Trust enjoy creative freedom in their approach to improving literacy however, providing students with a ‘house’ approach to writing where they concentrate on how they are thinking in terms of vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation (VCOP) is a work in progress and helps to raise standards in writing. A culture of providing students with modelled examples of answers to exam questions and other assessments, in addition to providing opportunities to discuss the same, is proving to be a success. Teachers focus on key words specific to subject and wider vocabulary which enhance both written and verbal communication.

Activities in form time are provided to encourage reflection on a range of topics, encouraging literacy for thinking. Students are provided with opportunities to express their opinions and are encouraged to do so appropriately. Use of an online current affairs magazine also provides students with a stimulus that boosts standards of literacy.

At KS3 across the Trust, reading ages are tested and recorded in order that teachers can use accessible yet challenging materials for students and an online reading program is followed by the majority of KS3 students. There is also appropriate intervention to support literacy skills development, where the need arises.

Many activities occur in schools in the Trust to encourage reading for pleasure. Inspirational and literature loving English teachers inspire many students to read although it is acknowledged that this is an ongoing challenge. Books and other reading materials are selected carefully with deep consideration to each school context and the interests of the students.

The Rowan Learning Trust website refers to the following ‘simple but powerful’ ideas: ‘valuing all children, young people and adults; providing safe and nurturing settings; creating opportunities for continual growth and development; developing exceptional professionals; delivering a culture of mutual respect and fostering a learning community’. High levels of literacy will enable our students from the wider Trust community to reach these goals and to become fully functioning, happy members of society.

What is school-to-school support and how does it define what we do?

Here at The Rowan Learning Trust, we provide extensive support to the schools that work alongside us to achieve a better future for students and teachers alike. We strive to create and maintain a strong relationship between students and teachers so that everyone involved can reach their full potential.

What is school-to-school support?

Our school-to-school support encompasses the whole range of school life and we have the expertise to provide support and advice to the students and teachers, within the schools that we work alongside, regardless of the subject or area of responsibility. We develop and foster an environment where students are able to learn as well as gain life skills in the classroom. It is important to us that every student reaches their full potential and succeeds, regardless of ability.

Our executive head teacher and chief executive officer, Royston Halford, is a National Leader of Education and has won ‘Headteacher of the Year’ at the Teaching Awards. Having such a celebrated and expert teacher overseeing the trust means that each of the schools with whom we work will receive support which is second to none. Roy specialises in important areas of education including school finance, human resource matters, strategic planning, whole school diagnostics and pupil premium reviews so his knowledge can be transferred to each of our schools in a practical and worthwhile way.

At The Rowan Learning Trust we have a dedicated team of experts committed to improving the teaching standards and student outcomes within the schools that we work with. The school improvement team bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to the trust, and work with the staff and students of our schools to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the journey towards a better educational environment.

Our Director of Education, Phil Rimmer, has co-ordinated and led the support focus for more than 20 schools – so his expertise in this field comes from his wealth of experience and passion for improving education.

There is a large, and growing, number of Specialist Leaders in Education (SLEs) across all subject areas and other areas of school including teaching and learning, use of data, intervention, curriculum, target-setting and CPD. This means that our school-to-school support is something that benefits every single student and that the learning environment that we create is somewhere that is inclusive of all students, not just the higher achievers academically. Furthermore, our school improvement team has extensive expertise in working with children who have special educational needs and looked after children (LAC).

We offer continual development for all of the teachers involved with the trust. With mentoring, coaching and formal training, we provide the professional development that all teachers need to grow within the profession, and in turn The Rowan Learning Trust is constantly improving.

Our school-to-school support is what defines The Rowan Learning Trust, and we take pride in reaching out to our institutions to work towards a better future for all of our students and teachers.

Ideal Exam Preparation for Students


The lead up to exams can be a stressful time for both students and teachers, so it is important to encourage revision and prepare your students for their exams in the most effective way. You can do this by using some of the following techniques. 

Set realistic individual targets

One of the best ways to prepare your students for their exams is to set some realistic targets for each individual student. Revising material for exams can be tough on students, so it is worth setting individuals a target for what to learn, with a deadline so that it can be ticked off when completed. It is important to set realistic targets, so it is a good idea to hold one to one conversations with each individual student to discuss what to revise and when this should be completed. Not only will this help to ensure that your students are revising for their exams, but it will also give them a sense of achievement once the target has been ticked off, thus encouraging them to revise more.


Encourage students to mark each other’s practice tests

Having practice tests in the classroom prior to the actual exam is a very useful way to help prepare your students for their exams. It’s also very beneficial to let your students mark each other’s practice tests from model answers. Doing this not only gives them a better understanding of how their exams will be marked, it will also play an active role in encouraging them to remember how they can improve their marks on the day of the exam.


Get students to assess each other

In the weeks leading up to the exams, it is worth encouraging your students to test each other on what they have learned. Encouraging students to assess each other on their revision material will allow them to see how much progress their peers have made, and will introduce an element of competition. However, it is important to match up or group students with similar ability levels to test each other, otherwise you run the risk of disheartening some students.


Use visual technology

Revision lessons can be tortuous because you are revisiting material students have been taught previously. This is where it can be useful to involve visual stimuli such as video clips, tablet apps, music or other types of media in the classroom. For example, if you have taught your students all about a specific event during World War II, it could be worth showing them a newspaper cutting from that time period about the event when you revisit it in the revision lesson. This will encourage more interest in the material and therefore your students will be more likely to remember the key points.


Try and make it fun!

It is common knowledge that students learn more when they are enjoying the lesson. This also applies to revision lessons. It is a good idea to have a weekly reward for the student who has got the most points in the practice test, or even create revision games for your students. This is also more fun for the teacher too!

Staff Support Statement

Rowan Learning Trust maximising potential

The Rowan Learning Trust supports schools on their journey to be outstanding so that everyone becomes the best they can be. Our priority has always been to maximise potential.



Our key values:

  • Mutual respect
  • Fairness
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Individual growth
  • Kindness

As a Trust we believe in developing all of our staff. The key values we live by, to do the best we can for our young people, also apply to our staff. We constantly look for opportunities to grow and improve our organisation and by doing that we create new opportunities for colleagues to grow. To support them in that growth, we provide continual professional development coupled with mentoring and coaching and give them responsibility and autonomy within an accountability framework.

The logo for the RLT was chosen with care. It depicts the three categories of people in our Trust community reaching for the stars to be the best they can be. The blue character represents primary children, the yellow character represents high school students and the red character represents all of the adults in the Trust. This highlights the support provided across the three categories of people we want to help develop and improve themselves both personally and collectively.

Another element that we believe to be absolutely fundamental to our overall mission, and part of our mutual respect key value, is honesty and transparency. We talk to and consult with our staff regularly. We have an open door policy and encourage staff to come and talk. In that way any areas of concern can be highlighted quickly and resolved effectively but also suggestions from staff can result in new opportunities for growth.