October 2019 edition: Introduction


Welcome to the first edition of Trust for the new 2019/20 academic year. I am pleased to provide my synopsis of the range of topical subjects covered in this issue.

In her lead article, Leora Cruddas, CEO of CST, builds on her previous Trust article ‘Changing the Story’ to counter some of the misinformation and misrepresentation of the work of trusts in the media, focusing instead on the many positives. She advocates that we should now use the new language of School Trusts – education charities that run schools helping communities to thrive by giving children the best opportunity to learn inside and outside the classroom. Leora then goes on to draw on part of CST’s recently launched White Paper – the Future Shape of Education in England and proposes that school trusts should see themselves as new civic structures with their trust leaders being civic leaders who work with other civic partners to advance education in their localities as a public good.

Richard Greenhalgh, Chair of United Learning Trust Board writes about governance within growing school trusts and highlights some of the inherent tensions between local independence and central control. He explores how trusts can seek to achieve the fine balance between optimising opportunities for organisational added value whilst avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy and control and stresses the importance of trusts always remaining focused on the needs of their pupils and staff and remaining true to their values.

Amelia Walker, National Director for Strategy and Quality Improvement for Ormiston Academies Trust offers her perspective on the vital importance of effective self-evaluation and improvement within school trusts. She stresses the need for the sector to work together to agree an appropriate common standard and not to delegate this work to an organisation that knows us less well than we know ourselves. She shares the outcome of work that OAT have done internally to produce an initial self-evaluation framework.

Andy Wolfe, the Deputy Chief Education Officer (Leadership Development) for the Church of England considers the importance of trust. He draws on the vision of the Church of England Foundation for Education Leadership of which one of the 4 pillars is ‘Educating for Community and Living Well Together’ which reminds us that trust is built in a community through the way that our actions, decisions, diaries and budgets all reflect our stated vision and values.

Unity Howard, Director of The New Schools Network reflects on the success of the Free Schools Programme ten years in. She shares her organisation’s thoughts on how, based on the learning so far, Free Schools policy can be invigorated to the benefit of the wider education system by providing genuine innovation and competition to drive progress and dynamism.

Leila Mactavish, Strategic Lead for Ark Teacher Training, discusses how seriously they take their responsibility as custodians of future generations of teachers, to ensure that they are nurtured and protected. Welcoming the introduction of the Early Career Framework, Ark fully support the need to invest heavily in a teacher’s early career to ensure they are able to thrive in a profession of which they are proud. Leila shares the three key principles that underpin their highly regarded approach to developing early career teachers, which they deliver in partnership with NTA (National Teacher Accreditation) as their Appropriate Body accrediting their induction processes.

As online technology in education is evolving, with cloud-based applications, social media, and great educational resources online all becoming commonplace in the classroom, Steve Forbes, Principal Product Manager at RM Education considers how schools and trusts can balance enabling staff and students to benefit from these technological advances while also protecting them from the greater level of online threat it can expose them to.

Finally Emma Hughes, Head of HR Services at Browne Jacobson LLP highlights two of the key areas where it is particularly important for trust boards and their executive teams to have discussions and reach a common understanding and an agreed approach. Emma offers some helpful practical advice to help inform and guide these discussions in relation to the wellbeing of staff and reward strategy, both areas being highly influential in increasing the level of engagement and productivity of employees, as well as on an organisation’s ability to recruit and retain talented staff.

As ever I would like to take the opportunity to thank all concerned for their stimulating contributions to this edition of Trust – I hope you will find it of interest and of real value. We continue to welcome feedback from our growing readership both on the choice and value of the topics covered so far and suggestions regarding subjects that we may seek to cover in future editions.