Reflecting its ongoing commitment to excellence, Nene Education Trust has brought one of the leading names in education in the UK on board to assess its policies, progress and plans for the future.
The multi-academy trust, which comprises eight schools in East Northamptonshire and Wellingborough, has ambitious plans to continue to grow, translating its combined expertise and efficiencies into the ability to improve its schools and its teaching provision.
From September, former National Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter, will act as an adviser to Nene Education Trust. Sir David, who was knighted for services to education in 2013, will support the board of trustees as they move forward with a five-year strategic plan.
The arrangement was first discussed when CEO of the trust, Chris Hill, met Sir David at an education event in Corby. Earlier this year, Sir David agreed to work with Nene Education Trust for a minimum 12-month period.
Chris Hill said: “Within the trust we have an ethos of working with the best people and getting the best out of them, so why not go for one of the best education brains in the country. We’re ambitious for the future, and this is a statement of intent. We want the best advice we can get about how to turn our growth and financial efficiencies into improving our schools and the education we deliver.”
Nene Education Trust became an eight-school multi-academy trust this summer when Redwell Primary School in Wellingborough joined Windmill Primary Raunds, Stanwick Primary, Newton Road School Rushden, Raunds Park Infants, St Peter’s CE Junior, Woodford CE Primary and Manor School.
In July, Chairman of the Trustees Dudley Hughes stepped down from his position, to be replaced by former Vice Chair Tony Laughton. The trust’s five-year strategic plan focuses not just on school improvements and educational excellence but also on a broad range of expertise, such as mental health and wellbeing and pastoral care.
Chris Hill added: “We have a lot of skilled people with a broad range of experience and although we’re not the biggest multi-academy trust, we are looking to do things a lot of trusts don’t seem to want to tackle.
“There’s more to education than simply delivering the curriculum and with both pupils and staff, if you get the ethos right, you get the best out of people. We spent a long time looking at other multi-academy trusts and seeing how they had taken advantage of opportunities to scale up and put vital money into improving their schools.
“All the indications are that we are doing things well, but education is about learning and we are learning all the time about what our priorities are, and should be, and how we can scale up. Having someone like Sir David working with as a strategic consultant will be a fantastic opportunity.”
Sir David will be involved in at least five strategic sessions with Nene Education Trust over the next year or so. Chris and his team have already outlined to him the background and journey of the trust, its values and what it aims to achieve. It is hoped that his input will not only help the trustees to develop and deliver their plans, but also to provide them with an independent appraisal of Chris and his team, so that they can feel confident they have the right people in place.
Sir David Carter said: “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the leadership team and trustees at Nene Education Trust. This is a trust that is based on values that place the child at the heart of every decision.
“At a time when we have a national civic challenge to help children recover their learning after the pandemic, the strategy at Nene, that looks at education and beyond to determine exactly what help children are going to need, is visionary and, to an extent, unique.”
Chris Hill added: “We’re in an excellent place now to continue to grow, to put people in roles that see them grow and develop in a way that is not only good for our own schools but to deliver important skills that other schools need.
“Our ethos is to deliver educational excellence and this is a major step for us because it reinforces what we are all about and how by being ambitious we can do what we want to do, and do it in the right way.”
Find out more about Nene Education Trust on 01933 627081 or at www.neneeducationtrust.org.uk