South West Region Steiner Academies – sponsorship and Avanti Schools Trust

Earlier this month (June 2019) The Department for Education approved Avanti Schools Trust (AST) as the sponsor in principle for the Steiner Academies in Bristol, Frome and Exeter.

AST is now undertaking a due diligence process with a view to the schools formally transferring into the trust during the autumn term of 2019.

The RSC for the South West Region has specifically asked AST to review the all-through operating model and consider whether this is educationally and financially sustainable in the longer term.

In addition, AST has also been asked to undertake a listening period for stakeholders before the end of the current academic year. This is to allow parents and staff to discuss the trust’s vision for a new culture of high educational standards and child development within the three schools, as well as changes to aspects of teaching and the schools’ curriculum. We are visiting each of the three academies in the next few weeks where representatives from AST will be available to meet with small groups of parents between 15.00 and 18.00 as follows:

  • Exeter Steiner Academy: June 24 2019
  • Frome Steiner Academy: June 25 2019
  • Bristol Steiner Academy: July 1 2019

Please read the information below that provides details of how AST currently operates, its track record and some answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that you may find helpful.

If, having read the information below you want to make any comments or observations please click here to be taken to an online form that will allow you to provide feedback to us directly. Please note that because of the volume of anticipated responses we will not be able to respond to individual questions. Our intention is, the light of feedback received, to update the list of FAQs and to provide an overall feedback report to our MAT Board which we will share via our website.

Avanti Schools Trust (AST)

Avanti Schools Trust is a successful and growing multi-academy trust (MAT) with a track record of delivering strong outcomes for children in both the primary and secondary phases of education. AST has established seven successful schools with one in the pre-opening. This includes five primary schools and two secondary schools currently educating over 3000 learners aged 2 to 18. At their last Ofsted inspection, all schools were judged ‘good’ overall and demonstrated significant strengths in aspects of their work, with behaviour, SMSC and well-being of pupils judged as outstanding.

Avanti Schools Trust (current primary academies)

Academy Location Current Ofsted rating
Avanti Court Redbridge Good
Avanti House Harrow Good
Krishna Avanti, Harrow Harrow Good
Krishna Avanti, Leicester Leicester Good
Krishna Avanti, Croydon Croydon Good

Avanti Schools Trust (current secondary/all-through academies)

Academy Location Current Ofsted rating
Avanti House Secondary School Harrow Good
Avanti Fields all-through School Leicester No Ofsted yet

Vision and ethos

The Avanti purpose and ethos document is available here: The document outlines our core principles and approach to education.

Ofsted reports

Our MAT has not been formally inspected by Ofsted. As previously stated all of our open academies are rated ‘good’ by Ofsted and the majority are significantly over-subscribed. It is possible to access all of the inspection reports for our schools via the link below.

Curriculum offer

All AST schools work to a comprehensive operating model for leading learning. This model includes a set of principles and non-negotiable expectations that must underpin the curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment of pupil achievement and standards in our schools. This ensures consistency in the quality standards applied to school accountability and the evaluation of Avanti Schools’ effectiveness.

Primary curriculum

Subject/activity Hours per week Mandatory/voluntary
English 7.5 Mandatory
Mathematics 5 Mandatory
Science and Environmental Studies (including time taken out for visits) 1.5 Mandatory
History and Geography 1 Mandatory
Computing 1 Mandatory
PE, Sport and Yoga 2 Mandatory
MfL 0.5-0.75 Mandatory
Performing Arts 0.75 Mandatory
Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) 2 Mandatory
Enrichment Programme 7.5 Mandatory

Secondary curriculum: KS 3

Subject/activity Hours per week Mandatory/ voluntary
English 4 Mandatory
Mathematics 4 Mandatory
Science 3 Mandatory
Life Skills (Citizenship/PSHE) 1 Mandatory
PE 2 Mandatory
History 2 Mandatory
Geography 2 Mandatory
MfL 2 Mandatory
Performing Arts (Music/Arts/Drama) 3 Mandatory
Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) 3 Mandatory
Technology (Resistant/Textiles/Food/Computing) 1 Mandatory
Art 1 Mandatory

Secondary curriculum: KS 4

Subject/activity Hours per week Mandatory/ voluntary
English 5 Mandatory
Mathematics 5 Mandatory
Science 3 Mandatory
PE 1 Mandatory
History & Geography 3 Mandatory
French/Spanish 3 Mandatory
Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) 3 Mandatory
Design Technology (Resistant Materials) 3 Voluntary
Art 3 Voluntary
Combined Science 3 Voluntary
Triple Science 5 Voluntary
Media 3 Voluntary
Performing Arts (Music/Arts/Drama) 3 Voluntary
Classical Civilisation 3 Voluntary
Computer Science 3 Voluntary
History/Geography 3 Voluntary
PE 3 Voluntary
French/Spanish 3 Voluntary

Examination and test results

Results for our primary and secondary schools are significantly above national averages – click on the following link:


Our MAT Board of Trustees are listed via the following link:

The Board has three main committees: Remuneration, Audit & Finance and Standards.

School Stakeholder Committees

The MAT Board appoints School Stakeholder Committees (SSCs) for each Avanti school. AST understands the critical importance of good governance throughout the organisation, including its schools, and has established a strong governance structure, with clear and transparent lines of accountability.

AST’s Accountabilities Framework – – reflects best practice governance and defines the lines of accountability and areas of responsibility across the Trust. This is in conjunction with a biennial external review of governance across the organisation.


The Department for Education (DfE) has made a decision in principle for all three schools to join Avanti Schools Trust (AST) but this is subject to a formal due diligence process and confirmation by both DfE and the AST Board of Trustees.

Due diligence is undertaken by the incoming trust to understand each academy’s position. The outgoing trust must cooperate and provide all the information requested. The extent of due diligence is determined by the incoming trust. This may vary on a case-by-case basis, but it will usually include assessment of education provision, pupil population, finances, staffing, governance and the school buildings and estate. The incoming trust must fully assure itself that sufficient due diligence has been carried out, confirming to the department that due diligence has been completed and that the trust is aware of any ongoing issues ahead of transferring.

Our expectation is that the due diligence process will take between 4 to 6 weeks


There is a very wide spectrum of beliefs about what constitutes a ‘Steiner’ (or ‘Waldorf’, as they are known everywhere else in the world) school. If and when the schools join AST they will be, first and foremost, Avanti schools. AST does value aspects of the educational insights of Waldorf education and this has been an important consideration for why AST chose to express an interest in sponsoring these schools. AST will seek to retain/introduce such Waldorf principles where they are found to be compatible with the expectations of AST and the Department for Education.

No. These schools will not be faith-designated nor faith-ethos schools. They will retain their non-denominational status.

Yes. AST places a lot of emphasis on creativity in the curriculum and a teaching methodology which strives to develop pupils’ intellectual, artistic and practical skills in an integrated and holistic way. We are supportive of schooling that provides parents and students with a coherent learning experience.

As for our existing schools, the name Avanti will appear in the name of each school. They may also carry a tag that will state ‘inspired by Waldorf principles’.

This will be a matter for further deliberation, but our MAT Board is not wedded to the principle of school uniform having to be worn by all students.

AST is open to the notion that the curriculum offered in the three schools should be aligned with aspects of Waldorf principles which are in synergy with the Avanti Way. However, there is clearly a balance that needs to be struck in order to ensure that what is offered is a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.

In anticipation of Ofsted’s proposed new inspection framework AST wishes to use the academic year 2019/2020 to commission an external report that will make clear recommendations regarding the curriculum offer in each school from September 2020. AST’s desire is to provide a curriculum that is coherent and planned to be able to offer a sequence of learning opportunities that will provide cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for students’ future learning and employment.

Our MAT Board believes that all teachers in its schools should have QTS. There may be exceptions for specialist teachers, but in these instances staff will be strongly encouraged and supported to gain QTS.

AST’s aspiration is to develop a high-quality Waldorf-inspired CPD offer for all teachers who are deployed to the three schools in the SW region. However, we cannot at this stage be more precise about the timing of such an offer.
The RSC for the South West Region has specifically asked AST to review the nature of school provision in each locality, and we are therefore aiming to make a recommendation to the DFE at the end of the due diligence process. As emphasised in the various meetings with parents and staff during the past two weeks AST is committed to the all-through model in principle but believes the challenges in maintaining the current structure in operation at both Frome and Bristol to be particularly acute.

Existing AST schools all have their own principal. We will however look carefully at how we can build, add to and if necessary enhance leadership capacity in each academy and potentially across all three academies.

Yes. It is our intention to establish a regional team (HR, Finance, and School Improvement) possibly sited at one of the three academies.

Our MAT Board will appoint School Stakeholder Committees (SSCs) for each of the three schools. For more information about the role of SSCs please read our Accountabilities Framework & Scheme of Delegation which can be found by clicking on the link below.

Yes. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) allows staff to automatically transfer their terms and conditions from the outgoing to incoming trust. The incoming trust will need to work with the outgoing trust on the TUPE consultation. Trusts will need to confirm to DfE that the TUPE consultation has taken place and staff have been TUPE’d across to the new trust.

Yes. However, before an academy can transfer, the outgoing trust will need to seek the Secretary of State’s consent to dispose of the land/lease to allow it to move to the new trust.