July 2021 edition: Introduction

Introduction

I am pleased to be writing the editorial for this edition of our Trust Journal.

In this edition, we look to the future. Leora Cruddas’ article sets out five strategic challenges that those in both executive and governance leadership roles should consider now. This is beautifully complemented by John Prior’s article, from a trust leadership perspective. John is the Chief Executive of Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust (OHC&AT). OHC&AT is a sixteen-provision Trust and College for learners with a range of special needs, disabilities and mental health challenges, pre-school to twenty-five. John’s article speaks to our collective and civic responsibility to act, collaborate and advocate.

On the same theme, Steve Hodsman, Chair of Delta, reflects on what is likely to be on trustees' minds in the new school year. He reflects that "Whatever the size or maturity of their Trust, all trustees will be looking hard in the coming year at the performance of their Trust’s recovery programme, and how these link to both its improvement agenda and development plans. They will also be giving ongoing consideration to staff wellbeing and how to continue to become better employers.”

On the theme of staff wellbeing and development, Professor Sam Twiselton offers important insights in how and why we need to look after new teachers even more than before. She references the Government’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy, and the "moving parts” of policy which all need to work together. She reflects that it is the Early Career Framework (ECF) and ITT Core Content Framework (CCF) that are uppermost for her.

Staff wellbeing is also top of the mind for Education Mutual’s Nick Hurn. Education Mutual is CST’s most recent Platinum Partner. All our platinum partners are aligned to CST’s values, but the concept of the ‘mutual’ is particularly interesting in this regard. Mutuals are run for and by members, providing an ethical alternative to commercial services which are run to benefit shareholders. A focus on the mental health of staff is therefore key to Education Mutual’s ethic of service.

And bringing the theme of wellbeing to our children, Ash Rahman, Chief Executive of Nova Education Trust, shares that their strategy"is not about ‘catch up’, it is a wholesale commitment to and focus on excellence at all levels for all in our Trust family but, primarily, ensuring our children have opportunities to achieve their best.” Nova’s strategy puts wellbeing at the core.

Continuing the wellbeing theme, Samantha Friedman, a doctoral candidate at the University of Cambridge in the Centre for Family Research, explores a wider theme - the importance of nature. Her research focuses specifically on the benefits that time outdoors extends to all people, regardless of neurotype, but particularly for children with ADHD and autism.

With a more ‘normal’ schedule of Ofsted inspections expected to resume in the Autumn term, Steve Rollett, CST’s Deputy Chief Executive takes time to remind us of key school inspection developments. Some of these were in motion before Covid-19 whereas others have happened in response to the pandemic. Either way, Steve offers five things Trust boards may want to consider if an inspection is on the horizon.

In the context of the Secretary of State’s speech at the CST Conference, two articles reflect from very different perspectives on the landscape of growing, merging and joining. Sue Baldwin, Regional School Commissioner for the East of England and North-East London, recently joined a CST masterclass on ‘Joining, Merging and Growing’ Academy Trusts. She and Hannah Woodhouse discussed how the best Trusts think about their strategies for development highlighted the great maturity of the sector. And Ciara Campfield, Partner in Stone King’s Education Team, advises on how to broker arrangements for successful school partnerships.

Amanda Quinn from YPO focuses on a different future challenge - navigating the challenges of public procurement. The UK leaving the EU in December 2020 raised questions this year on the impact of procurement within education and concerns about new legislation to consider when setting up or renewing contracts.

We hope you enjoy this edition of our Trust Journal – and more than that, that it provides a guiding light on some of the strategic challenges for next year and beyond.