CEO’s Blog: “You blow in one end, and move your fingers up and down the outside.”

It was wonderful to see our schools full again earlier this month when, in accordance with the national ‘roadmap’ all children were enabled to return – re-joining their classmates, vulnerable and key worker children, who had remained in our schools throughout. 

This return, like so many of our activities in schools, was only possible as a result of meticulous planning and attention to detail.  This included revised risk assessments, clear communications, and the introduction of new procedures – not least lateral flow testing.  I want to thank all my colleagues who have helped make the return of the full complement of our school populations such a positive experience, and thank our parents and children for just how brilliant they have been in their re-engagement with the expectations and requirements of the traditional school day. 

Such attention to detail extends through to all our staff, irrespective of their roles.  Our teachers and pupil support staff have been tailoring their planning to accommodate the learning needs of children who will have had a diversity of experiences of home learning and in-school provision.  Our site teams and administrative colleagues have been making adjustments to sites, managing matters such as financial changes, reprographics, first aid requirements, letters home and calendar changes.  Everyone has been examining their own responsibilities, and those of colleagues around them, to ensure nothing is missed. 

Like the clichéd swan on the lake, we see only the serenity above the surface and not the effort underneath.  This effort is supplemented, of course, by vast amounts expertise and experience – again which goes largely unseen. 

In a pastiche of children television from the era, the Monty Python comedy team performed a sketch, their own “take” on BBC’s Blue Peter, entitled “How to do it”, in which the presenters share incredibly superficial help for children to achieve amazing feats such as how to secure global peace, how to construct box girder bridges and – infamously…

“How to play the flute:  Well, you blow in one end, and move your fingers up and down the outside!” 

“Great, Alan.  And next week….”

Simply because we don’t always see the detail, or have it explained to us, does not mean that something is without complexity.  We all see things in our lives “from afar” and sometimes when a task is executed with real skill we may even note that the individual to be admired “makes it look easy”.  We know in reality that it is not.  Playing the flute requires mastery of facial muscles, a detailed understanding of musical notation, empathy with the composition and perfect timing – together with the lung capacity (‘blow in one end’) and manual dexterity (‘move your fingers up and down’) alluded to by “Alan” in “How to do it.”  So it is with our schools and those who work within them.  They too may make it look easy – and I hope they do – but I can confirm that it is anything but!

Thanks for reading. 


Fradley Park Consultation

Statutory Consultation
Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School, proposed to open in September 2022.

Consultation Period: Closed

Consultation Period: 12 noon Wednesday, 10th March 2021 – 12 noon Wednesday, 21st April 2021

Consultation Events

We look forward to welcoming you to one of our Zoom drop-in Consultation Events to find out more about the primary and nursery school and ask any questions:


John Taylor Multi Academy Trust will establish a primary and nursery school between Burton on Trent and Lichfield, Staffordshire in order to meet a demonstrable and increasing need for primary school places in the locality, created by new housing developments.

Our proposal, endorsed by local schools, Staffordshire County Council and the Regional Schools Commissioner (West Midlands) will ensure effective provision for local demographic growth, and we plan to admit 26 children into the school’s nursery and 30 children into Reception in September 2022.

This new school is a core part of Staffordshire County Council’s on-going education provision.

Staffordshire County Council

This Statutory Consultation gives us the opportunity to continue to seek the views of prospective parents, students and stakeholders, giving them the opportunity to help shape the primary school so that it meets the needs of the Staffordshire community.

Thank you for your interest.

JTMAT Fradley Park Free School Team

Your views and feedback are very important. 

Please take the time to read this page and complete the questionnaire, or download a copy and return it by post. You can also email us at

The consultation period ends at 12 noon on Thursday, 21st April 2021, so we would appreciate your views and feedback by this date.

Our Vision

John Taylor Multi Academy Trust wishes to build on the success of its ten primary phase schools and its existing Free School and use their expertise and educational leadership in the area to replicate many of the key areas of the curriculum in the new primary and nursery school. The Trust will encourage a wide range of youth, community and sports groups to use the school facilities to enable all age groups to come together and access its excellent facilities.

The Trust will facilitate summer schools, weekend activity courses and some learning opportunities for the local community.

The curriculum for the new school will mirror many of the successes of the broad and balanced curriculum on offer across our schools and build on the Ofsted-praised ‘STRIPE’ (Self Manager, Team Worker, Reflective, Innovate and Create, Participate, Enquirer) skills curriculum that enables children to become independent learners with excellent attitudes to their own development and progress. The new free school will follow and further develop the high quality pupil leadership programmes at all levels, as enjoyed by pupils and students across the Trust.

Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School will collaborate closely within the family of schools that is the John Taylor Multi Academy Trust. It will participate in Trust-wide arts, sporting and academic events and projects, and its staff will benefit from Trust-wide professional development opportunities, delivered by the Teaching School Hub and the Staffordshire Research School, both of which come under the auspices of the Trust.

The Trust already has strong relationships with business, charities and universities. We will use these relationships and expertise to enable the school to encourage all children, whatever their background, to achieve their very best.

The School will:

  • Have an inclusive approach that offers the best education for all local 3-11 year olds.
  • Be non-selective, welcoming children of all faiths, social, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
  • Offer a broad, balanced, high quality curriculum, underpinned by exceptional support, care and guidance.
  • Be a learning hub for the wider community, seeking to contribute to cohesion in an area of new housing development with limited alternative local amenities. Referencing the Fradley Neighbourhoods Plan 2017-2029, we would welcome the opportunity for the school to be used in the first instance to support some of the gaps identified such as a Library and inside sporting area.
  • Work effectively alongside the many neighbouring schools, both primary and secondary.
  • Equip its children with the knowledge, experiences, skills and attributes to enable success into the next phase of their formal education and beyond.
  • Further the innovative culture of John Taylor Multi Academy Trust, through the extension of our strengths: securing high achievement and progress, the acquisition of key learning skills, and the development of leadership attributes and experiences –both within and beyond the taught curriculum.

Admission Arrangements

The school has 26 nursery places available, and an admission number of 30 for entry into Reception (i.e. one form of entry). The school will accordingly admit this number of pupils if there are sufficient applications. Where fewer applicants than the published admission number(s) for the relevant year group are received, the Academy Trust will offer places at the school to all those who have applied.

The school will process applications within the normal local authority process for co-ordinating school offers. When the school is oversubscribed, after the admission of pupils with an Education, Health and Care plan or a Statement of Special Educational Needs naming the school, priority for admission will be given to those children who meet the criteria set out below, in priority order:

  1. Looked after children and children who were previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to adoption, a child arrangements order, or special guardianship order.
  2. Children previously in care outside of England or Wales who ceased to be in care because they were adopted (or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order).
  3. Priority will be next given to children resident within the priority area of the school, a copy of which can be obtained from the school office or Staffordshire County Council.
  4. Priority will be next given to the siblings of pupils attending the school at the time the application is received. Where an elder sibling is in Year 6, siblings will not be prioritised under this criterion.
  5. Children who are attending the nursery at Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School, which is based at the school, and who are in receipt of the Early Years Pupil Premium.
  6. Children who have a parent who has been directly employed by Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School with a permanent contract and for a minimum of 0.5 FTE for at least 2 years at the point of application, or who have been recruited to fill a vacant post for which there has previously been a difficulty with recruitment or retention. The Headteacher of the school will confirm whether or not there has been difficulty with recruitment or retention for the post-holder.
  7. Other children arranged in order of priority according to how near their home addresses are to the main gate of the school determined by a straight-line measurement.


If necessary, random allocation undertaken by the local authority will be used as a tie-break in categories 2-7 above to decide who has highest priority for admission if the distance between a child’s home and the academy is equidistant in any two or more cases.

The Local Authority uses a Geographical Information System (GIS) to calculate home to school distance in miles. The measurement is calculated using Ordnance Survey (OS) data from an applicant’s home address to the main front gate of the school. The coordinates of an applicant’s home address is determined and provided by the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) and OS Address Point data.
Random allocation will not be applied to multiple birth siblings (twin and triplets etc.) from the same family tied for the final place. We will admit them all, as permitted by the infant class size rules and exceed our PAN.

A full copy of the admission arrangements is available at

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a free school?

Yes. Free schools are independent, state funded schools. They have the same legal status as academies.

Will the school be able to make a profit?

No. The school will be operated on a not-for-profit basis by John Taylor Multi Academy Trust. The school will be run by the Headteacher and their leadership team and they will be answerable to the Local Governing Body and Trust Board.

Where will Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School be situated?

We will open off Halifax Avenue, Fradley in September 2022

Will the school be selective?

No. Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School will welcome children of all abilities, of all faiths and none. All free schools have to follow the Admissions Code in the same way as all state-funded schools and our inclusive admissions policy will at all times be open, transparent and fair.

Why are you proposing to open with only nursey and Reception classes?

Our proposed intake reflects the pre-opening requirement set by the Department for Education (DfE). When starting a new school, we believe that it is really important to nurture the first year and establish the culture of the new school. To take children of other ages would require them moving from their current school.

Will funding the school mean there will be less money for other provision in the area?

No. Funding for the school will be equivalent to the funding of other maintained schools and academies in the local authority area. The opening of the school does not mean that the overall funding available in the area goes down. However, the total funding an individual school receives will depend on the number of pupils attending.

Will Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School be inspected by Ofsted?

Yes. The school will be subject to inspection in the same way as other maintained schools and academies. All new schools are inspected by Ofsted before they open.

Have you chosen a headteacher for Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School?

A search is currently underway to appoint an exceptional leader for Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School. The position will be advertised widely and we will settle for nothing less than a truly outstanding candidate.

How will the school be accountable?

The school will be run by a Local Governing Body accountable to John Taylor Multi Academy Trust, who oversee it. In addition, the school will be accountable to the Department for Education through the terms of its Funding Agreement.

How can I apply for a place?

Full details of the admissions procedure are published on the Trust’s website


Rugeley John Taylor FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
Rugeley John Taylor

Rugeley John Taylor – Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions we have been asked about the new all-through free school Rugeley John Taylor.  In line with the requirements of a Section 10 consultation, we will add to this list of FAQs over time, as will look to answer questions asked of us as accurately and clearly as we can. You may also find useful information about John Taylor MAT and its schools on our website (under the “Free School Applications” tab) and on Twitter @JohnTaylorMAT.

on Twitter @JohnTaylorMAT and about Rugeley John Taylor  on Twitter @JTRugeley and our dedicated Facebook page or search for JTRugeley.

When is the school going to be open?

September 2023

Where will it be located?

The school has been apportioned over seven hectares of land on the former power station site.

Is a September 2023 opening of a large new school on this site realistic?

JTMAT has been working with its partners for a number of months to ensure that, should we receive a favourable announcement on our bid, we will be ready to begin work on the design, planning permissions, consultations and construction phases to be ready for opening in September 2023.  Our application would not have been approved had our timescales not been seen as achievable.

Why is the school needed?

There will be over 2000 new homes built on the former power station site, and typically 1000 homes requires a “form of entry” of provision.  The need for a two-form entry 420-place primary school was therefore part of the planning permission for the site regeneration.  These children will ultimately require secondary school places also. 

In addition, The Hart School recently moved all its teaching for 11-18 year olds onto a single site. As well as making improvements to their facilities it also meant there was a reduction in the number of secondary and post-16 places provided by the school..  It has been projected that, without new school places for secondary age children, an increasing number of the town’s children would have to travel further afield to go to school.  A considerable number of secondary age children do so already.  However, the areas to which they currently travel (typically, Lichfield, Hednesford, Cannock and Stafford) are also subject to population growth and will therefore see school places limited.  The town of Rugeley and the areas surrounding it needs to be self-sufficient in the education of its young people. 

Finally, currently approximately four fifths of the town’s young people are educated post-16 outside of the town.  By opening sixth form provision at Rugeley John Taylor, this again provides more options in Rugeley itself for its young people.

How many children, and in which year groups, will the school be admitting in its first year?

It has been agreed with the local authority that in order to meet local need the school will admit one nursery class (3-4 year-olds) of 26 children, one Reception class (4-5 year-olds) of 30 children, and five Year 7 classes (11 year-olds) of 30 children each i.e. 150 children.

N.B: It is planned that as the population in Rugeley grows, the primary phase will expand to two nursery classes (52 children in total) and two forms of entry (60 children per year group).

Why aren’t you admitting children into the other year groups?

The Department for Education specify in applications for new schools that these schools should fill “from the bottom, up”.  This means that children are not having to switch schools mid-phase, causing disruption for their education and for other local schools.

How can I make enquiries about admissions to Rugeley John Taylor?

Please email us at and we will include you on our mailing list.  A little closer to the time of opening, we will send you admission information about the school and how to secure a place.

What will the proposed admission arrangements include?

The admission arrangements will give highest priority to children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and to children in care/previously in care. Any parent can apply for a place but if there are more applications than places available then it is proposed that a higher priority would be given to pupils with older siblings at the school or who live closest to the new school, as measured by a straight line. For, nursery and reception admissions, we would prioritise applications from the new Power Station development.

The school is going to specialise in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. What about the rest of the curriculum?

As with all John Taylor schools, children will be taught a broad and balanced curriculum that includes high quality, specialist provision in the arts (for example music and drama), humanities (history, geography, religious studies), modern foreign languages, physical education and, of course, English alongside the STEM suite of subjects.  Children and young people at Rugeley John Taylor will, however, have access to the latest equipment, specialist visitors and experiences that will enhance their learning in areas known to enhance their employability. 

How can I express an interest in working at the new school, and what positions might be available?

Rugeley John Taylor will require a wide range of postholders from September 2023.  Naturally, this will include primary- and secondary-trained teachers, teaching assistants, school leaders, office and site staff.  Recruitment will take place nearer to opening.  However, to express an interest and be placed on our mailing list, please email us at  Please do not send us your curriculum vitae (CV), as it is our practice to only assess our standard application forms.

What is the position of school transport to the new school?

As with any school, where it is the closest school to the pupil’s home address and over 2 miles away (for primary aged children) or over 3 miles (for secondary aged children), then there would be a statutory entitlement to free home-to-school travel.