Aspirations Academies Trust update: Listening Ear six months, Oxford Uni Professor visits and staff spotlight

By Aspirations Academies Trust [email protected]

Published: May 14, 2024 | Updated: 14th June 2024

Welcome to the May news roundup from the Aspirations Academies Trust, a group of 16 academies in the South of England, including seven in Dorset.

This month, staff and pupils at Bovington Academy welcome Garrison Welfare Officer, Ady Ingham along with visitors from BJF Group to mark six months of the ‘Listening Ear’ cabin, we meet Atlantic Academy assistant principal Juliette Frampton, and students at Magna Academy receive a visit from an Oxford University Professor. 



Staff and pupils at Bovington Academy recently welcomed Garrison Welfare Officer, Ady Ingham along with visitors from BJF Group to the school, six months on from the construction of the ‘Listening Ear’ – a self contained, furnished cabin they helped create.

The Listening Ear is a dedicated space for children to share worries, make friends and find solace away from the classroom. It was the brainchild of the school’s Pastoral Lead, Lowry Stone:

“Seventy percent of our children are from military families,” she explains, “and they experience unique challenges not shared by other children. For example, they may change schools often, saying goodbye to their friends. Deployment of a parent causes anxiety and of course they miss that parent and worry about them, making it difficult to learn. I wanted them to have a space where they could bring their concerns,  somewhere they could make a new friend, where they felt safe, supported and welcomed. We’d had a little Wendy house, but it was rotten and had become an eyesore. I mentioned it to Ady and we hatched a plan together.”

Ady understood the issues the children, known as Dandelion Kids for their ability to thrive wherever they find themselves, face: “Children of service families can often feel isolated. I could see what Lowry wanted to do for them and I approached a number of our contacts including Will Loates of Vivo who works across the MOD estate, the armed forces charity SSAFA and BJF Group who all agreed to help.”

Inspecting the cabin, Scott Walsh, Facilities Management Director for BJF is thrilled that the cabin, which was opened in an official ceremony led by the Head Boy and Head Girl in September, is in regular use:

“It’s great to see the positive impact we’ve been able to make and to know the kids are using it all the time. These sorts of contracts where we can make a difference in the community are very important to us.”

Charlie Cheeseman, Project Electrician with BJF agrees:

“Keith [Rimmer] the Senior Project Manager and I are based at Bovington camp and drive past the school quite frequently. To know we’ve had an impact on the children and helped to make their transitions to school just a bit easier, is nice. We worked with O’Neills, our subcontractor who did the slab work and just about two weeks later the whole project was ready for use.”

The children who showed the team around couldn’t be happier with their new facility, which was cited in a recent Ofsted inspection. “We were very proud that the Ofsted inspection team described our pastoral care as ‘exceptional,’” beams Lowry. “The Listening Ear is a big part of that.”


Aspirations Staff Spotlight: Juliette Frampton

Juliette Frampton was promoted to the role of Assistant Principal at Atlantic Academy, Portland, at the beginning of the academic year 2023/24.

When did you join Atlantic Academy?

I joined Atlantic during the third lockdown in Feb 2021 – an interesting time to start a new job!

I’d come from a local school in Weymouth where I was a class teacher and also in charge of PE but I needed a change and wanted to develop myself and become a leader. I arrived at Atlantic Academy as a Year 2 teacher and Key Stage 1 Lead. I’m absolutely delighted to be working as Assistant Principal now.

What attracted you to the school?

I love the way that fun and excitement is placed at the heart of the primary curriculum – every topic, every trip, is constructed to engage the children. The relationship between the school and the families it serves on Portland is very close; unique. Every single day is special. And of course, we have Beach School for every class, every week. Beach School is a real highlight; something the children and parents talk about constantly!

Have you always lived in Dorset?

I was born in Weymouth! My family’s from Weymouth and I went to Southill Primary then, Wey Valley. I ventured into Dorchester for Sixth Form at Thomas Hardye and then went to Brighton University where I studied Sport Science. 

What do you enjoy about the area?

I just can’t be away from the sea! When I went to university it was to Brighton because it’s by the sea and even when I went to Canterbury for my teacher training I lived in Whitstable and commuted! I have to be near the sea. 

What do you do to relax?

I play netball in a local league, so I play two nights a week at least, and I coach. On Saturdays I do Park Run. I love sport and did my first degree in Sport Science. I did try to pursue a career in netball; unfortunately I was just a bit too short!

Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher?

I think I did. I was that child who came back from primary school and played teachers! 

My mum tells me I was bossing my little brother around getting him to sit still while I read him stories! Mum actually encouraged me to become a Teacher Assistant at Westfield Arts College – a Dorset special school. I did that for a couple of years and realised teaching was what I really wanted to do. Being Assistant Principal at Atlantic is a privilege and a joy.



Students at Magna Academy, Poole, recently welcomed Professor Danny Dorling from Oxford University to speak.

Professor Dorling is a renowned social geographer who writes on issues related to social inequalities, housing, health and democracy. His visit aimed to develop students’ understanding and awareness of the world around them.

Assistant Principal, Katie Stafford, was delighted by the students’ engagement and enthusiasm: “Encouraging critical thinking is at the heart of what we do,” she explains. “Speakers like Professor Dorling broaden our pupils’ experience and ask them to consider social and cultural issues from a new perspective. It was great to see them so engaged.”

One hundred and thirty students from Years 8 – 12 attended the presentation. Head Prefect and Member of Youth Parliament, Ryan Cornish, thanked Professor Dorling on behalf of the school and commented, “We are grateful to Professor Dorling for giving up his time to introduce his ideas to us. As somebody who is learning about the political landscape, the issues he raises around inequalities really resonate.”

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