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Aurora Academies Trust


In 2017, City Academy Whitehawk was very proud to become an Aurora Academies Trust academy. We have excellent, collaborative working relationships with our network of seven settings and benefit from sharing expertise.


Our Headteacher, Mr. McMorrin, became the Interim Executive Headteacher of another AAT school (Heron Park Primary Academy) and we were very proud to achieve a richly deserved judgement of Good in our May 2022 Ofsted inspection.


To find out more about the other Aurora Schools, please click below:


Bexhill: King Offa Primary Academy

Bexhill: Glenleigh Park Primary Academy

Eastbourne: Heron Park Primary Academy

Eastbourne: Oakwood Primary Academy

Crawley: The Gatwick School

Horley: Westvale Primary Academy


For more information about Aurora Academies Trust please click below. 



James Freeston - Chief Executive Officer


James has worked for the Trust since it was formed in September 2012, initially as Headteacher of King Offa Primary Academy before taking on Executive Headship of schools within the Trust. Prior to this he held senior leadership positions in a number of schools and has taught internationally. He has a strong record in bringing about rapid school improvement and building sustainable and successful schools. James is also vice chair of East Sussex Schools Forum, Chairs the Rother, Rye and Hastings Education Improvement Partnership and is a member of the East Sussex Primary Board. In addition to this, James has significant experience of conducting Ofsted inspections as a contracted inspector.

Aurora Mission, Vision and Approach



Aurora exists to provide opportunity and create success for all our pupils.



  • Aurora is dedicated to providing the best possible standard of education to pupils in our nursery, primary and secondary schools across the south-east of England.
  • As a trust, we are committed to doing everything we can to support our schools and pupils to achieve personal excellence.
  • We want pupils to leave our schools achieving their potential and enjoying learning with the ambition, resilience, curiosity and self-belief for success in life.
  • Our ambition is for all our schools to be excellent and inclusive schools serving their local communities with achievement levels above similar schools nationally.
  • Over the next five years Aurora plans to grow because we want to support more schools and pupils.


How we work together as a group of schools


Collaboration lies at the heart of the work of Aurora. Each Aurora school has its own unique identity and place in its local community. However, we have developed common approaches in key areas that contribute to our collective improvement. 


The Aurora Approach


We asked our school leaders, staff and local academy boards what sort of trust we are and what it was like to work at Aurora, and this is what they said:


  • We are ambitious as a trust - we all share an aim to get better at what we do – this is shared by all staff working across the trust and driven from the top by trustees.
  • We have a strong track record of impact –all our schools are good or outstanding schools. We have developed and agreed key elements of our school improvement approach that have worked in supporting our schools to improve.
  • We focus on the children and communities we serve – we are a civic institution that make a strong contribution to all the communities we serve from towns and cities to rural areas and coastal communities. We strive to provide fantastic pastoral care and extra-curricular opportunities to help pupils achieve excellence in all that they do.
  • We believe in deep and purposeful collaboration – we work together and learn from each other to make things better for our pupils, communities, and staff. We learn from other schools and trusts and our schools are all part of local partnerships.
  • We support and challenge each other to improve – we share a collective responsibility for the outcomes for all our schools and pupils; what goes with that is a genuine willingness to offer help and support whenever it is needed.
  • We have developed shared and effective practice in key areas like the curriculum - this common practice is reinforced through shared professional learning and development. At the same time, we recognise and respect the unique characteristics of our schools and they have lots of freedom to decide what works best for them.
  • We are strongly committed to supporting and developing all of our staff – including growing our own teaching assistants, teachers and leaders and there are lots of professional development opportunities for staff at all levels.
  • We are part of a global partnership which gives opportunities to staff and students - our sponsor, Pansophic Learning, runs schools internationally in the US, Dubai, Switzerland and Africa. This provides opportunities for professional and cultural development for our staff and students.

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