The Rodillian Multi Academy Trust has its roots in the 1930s. Rothwell Grammar School was founded in 1933 to educate the children of the small Leeds town and the surrounding areas. The school’s alumni have long been nicknamed “Rodillians”.
The first Headmaster, Mr Manley, established many of the principles upon which the Trust is built. He was a committed socialist and was driven by social mobility, he strived for the young people of Rothwell to compete on equal terms with their peers in independent schools. He saw sporting activity as of paramount importance, employing a rugby coach and introducing school camps where the resilience of the students was tested.
Mr Manley also believed that students should be proficient in a foreign language. He chose French (another parallel with Trust), and introduced annual French exchange visits to the Le Mans area, often visiting the Loire area for canoeing and kayaking. Mr Manley also believed that education was not just concerned with academic success, though he recognised the importance of qualifications to the working class students in his care.
My idea of an educated person is a man or woman with a fearless and unprejudiced mind, who has developed his natural powers to the point at which he can delight in good things, so that he can himself have a full life, and by the fullness of his own life benefit all with whom he comes into contact.
he said at the first Speech Day.
Rothwell Grammar School became Rodillian High School following the Education Act 1976. By 2007, Rodillian High School became Rodillian Performing Arts College and, after a period of underperformance went into special measures. A local school, Morley High was asked to come in and support during this period, and they successfully helped navigate this very difficult time. In June 2008, Andy Goulty was appointed as Headteacher, and he oversaw the move to the new building in September 2008.
The school quickly came out of special measures and its examination success followed; moving from 19% 5+ A*-C GCSEs, including English and Maths, in 2007 to 78% in 2018. This showed the school being recognised as the 'most improved school in the North of England' by the Department for Education.
The success of the school led to measured system leadership and school improvement work across the sector, followed by academisation in 2012 and Multi Academy Trust (MAT) status in September 2014.
Since 2014, the Trust has grown to four academies and an alternative provision independent school (Southway).
The Featherstone Academy and BBG Academy were both special measures schools when they joined the Trust and have gone through rapid transformation to become rated as 'good' with significantly improved examination performance.
Southway has come from special measures to becoming the highest performing Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) nationally for the last six years.
Brayton Academy joined the Trust when faced with closure by the local authority. The Trust worked with Governors and the local community to keep the school open, the Academy examination performance has increased dramatically, and Brayton Academy was judged 'outstanding' by Ofsted in 2019.
The performance of the Trust has been incredibly strong, and it was named as the highest performing MAT by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) report of 2018:
Examination performance and its importance to our students is permanent. This however, goes in hand with our groundbreaking work on our resilience curriculum, our commitment to provide private school opportunities for state school students and the building of self-confidence which allows out students to compete with children from all backgrounds.