May 2019 edition: Introduction


Welcome to the May edition of Trust. I am pleased to provide my synopsis of the topics covered in this issue.

In her lead article, Leora Cruddas, CEO of CST, shares her reflections on autonomy. She considers what we understand by autonomy, where autonomy should sit and whose interests’ autonomy serves? She stresses the importance of the sector understanding the concepts of freedom and autonomy not just as the right to self-govern, but the responsibility and duty to make collectively the best decisions that impact on the life chances of children and young people.

Marie Hamer, Executive Director of Learning Design and Teaching at Ambition Institute, discusses the Institute’s work relating to the Department for Education’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy and Early Career Framework (ECF) and highlights the key role of executive and governance leaders in driving the emerging reforms and ‘taking on’ the teacher retention crisis.

Peter Hyman and Liz Robinson, Co-Directors of Big Education, share their philosophy behind the work of this new organisation which sets out not just to improve their own schools but to also make a genuine impact on the wider system.

In the face of high levels of concern from education leaders and the general public regarding the state of school funding, Chris Jones, CEO of C J Learning, urges the sector to change the narrative from a deficit mind-set to an investment mind-set and when considering what he refers to as a ‘surgical intervention’, examine how the system is structured, led and staffed with more forensic analysis and be open to responding in new ways.

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of NGA, highlights some of the key findings of their recent survey of the chairs of 93 Multi Academy Trusts into the time commitment involved in chairing a MAT board. The findings reinforce the need for the sector to have a frank conversation about the workload of trustees and to seek to make the role of chair sustainable.

Nick MacKenzie, Education Partner at Browne Jacobson, discusses the importance of trust boards providing clarity on vision and purpose and how that translates to operational effectiveness so that school improvement is everybody’s purpose, not just those in teaching and learning.

With the growing importance of positive parental engagement, Ruth Lowe, External Affairs Manager for Parentkind, outlines their work in developing a Blueprint (currently in consultation phase), designed to support schools to develop processes giving parents the opportunities to get involved in a way that works for them.

Finally, following on from Leora’s lead article in the last edition of Trust about the importance of the sector taking control of the narrative, in this edition Ollie Lane, Director and Head of Education at PLMR, provides a communications specialist’s perspective on this highly topical subject. In the face of an abundance of unbalanced, negative press, he encourages trusts to actively publicise and promote their achievements to reassure and educate parents and to celebrate the fact that their contribution goes far beyond their primary purpose. CST’s recently published ‘New Narrative’ can be viewed here.

As ever I would like to take the opportunity to thank all concerned for their stimulating contributions to this our fifth edition of Trust. I hope you will find it of interest and of real value.