December 2018 edition: Introduction


Welcome to the second edition of Trust, our Journal for Executive and Governance Leaders.

We launched the journal at the inaugural conference of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) on 11th October, and we were delighted that the Rt Hon Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education made the opening keynote speech.

The Secretary of State made a strong case for freedom and autonomy and the vision of groups of schools coming together to achieve more than they can on their own.

CST will stand up for school trusts, both big and small – we will advocate for the sector – because I believe we really are doing something very special in England. School trusts are no longer a policy initiative – a small project in a much larger and impervious education system. Almost half of children and young people in England are in education in the academy sector. We have come of age.

So why do school trusts exist? At the heart of what we do lies something grand and aspirational – to advance education – to make children and young people’s lives better. To change lives.

CST and our sister organisation, National Teacher Accreditation (NTA) will help you to build a great education system in England.

And how should we behave? If as a sector we are tolerant of everything, we will stand for nothing. We need a set of principles that guide our behaviour. I can think of no better set of principles than those determined by the committee of standards on public life.

All of us must be able to say, collectively and organisationally, that:

  • - All our decisions have been taken in the public interest;
  • - We have acted with integrity – we have not acted or taken decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for ourselves, our family, or our friends;
  • - And we have taken decisions in an open and transparent manner;
  • - Our decisions have been taken impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias;
  • - We are comfortable submitting ourselves to external scrutiny;
  • - We have been truthful in our actions, decisions and reporting;
  • - We have demonstrated the highest standards of public life in our individual and corporate behaviour.
  • - The vast majority of trusts are confident about this. But how do we ensure these principles permeate into the deepest organisational cultures of every trust in the country?

 To do this we must get governance right. Governance of trusts is an entirely different proposition from governance of maintained schools. CST exists to support trusts. Above all, we want to build the evidence base and the capacity of the system’s executive and governance leaders to lead with confidence and integrity and build great education organisations that change children’s lives.

We hope this journal makes a contribution to that aspiration.