Four Nottingham primary schools spearhead drive to improve quality of education with launch of L.E.A.D. Academy Trust

7th March 2012

Children at each member school to celebrate with synchronised balloon release and tree planting ceremony at 2.30pm on Thursday 8 March

Four Nottingham primary schools are celebrating the launch of a new academy trust, which aims to give more children an outstanding education locally, nationally and ultimately internationally.

Huntingdon, St Ann’s Well and Edna G Olds, the three founding members of the L.E.A.D. Academy Trust, became academies in October 2011 and are joined by fourth member Sycamore.

Strong leadership, partnership working across member schools and shared values are at the centre of the Trust’s pioneering model for improving teaching, learning and life chances for children.

The L.E.A.D. Academy Trust (www.leadacademytrust.co.uk) is led by national executive headteacher Diana Owen, who had been headteacher of Huntingdon for 12 years. Part of Ms Owen’s role is to ensure that partnership work and collaboration between member schools impacts on pupils’ learning.

“The L.E.A.D. Academy Trust is an outward looking organisation that is constantly moving forward by using, developing and sharing outstanding practice."

“We believe that our children are entitled to the best education possible. They need a stimulating and challenging curriculum that is delivered through high quality teaching and learning and empowers them to have high aspirations for their future."

“Each of our member schools is committed to delivering this through a fully inclusive approach where all children are equally important. The umbrella trust structure allows schools to move forward and develop through partnership working, but it also allows schools to retain their own identity and community links.”

One of the priorities of the L.E.A.D. Academy Trust, which takes its name from the four principles of leadership, empowerment, achievement and drive for improvement, is the development of outstanding school leaders for the future. Diana explains:

“Strong leadership is key to the success of our schools. We are working strategically to develop inspirational school leaders for the future. All of our member schools are taking part in high quality training, peer coaching and the sharing of outstanding practice. We are also developing pupils, as leaders of their own learning.”

The innovative structure of the L.E.A.D. Academy Trust, approved by the Department for Education, will ensure that the core principles remain strong as more primary schools join.

Mark Blois, partner at Browne Jacobson legal practice and chair of the board of directors, says:

“We’ve developed a model that balances autonomy and independence with mutual support, access to central services like leadership development, HR, finance and marketing and robust governance. It will give us a strong framework for national growth.”

According to Ms Owen, L.E.A.D. is already attracting widespread interest from other primary schools, locally and nationally.

“Primary schools, including those seeking sponsors, are drawn to our vision, values and partnership approach. We expect our membership to be well into double figures by the end of the year.”

Staff and children at all four schools have experienced the benefits of collaboration to raise standards of teaching and learning. Huntingdon head of school Teresa Shrestha says:

“Huntingdon has worked successfully with many schools to raise standards and outcomes for children. We know the value of giving and receiving support, but also having the freedom to lead and manage in a way that preserves individual identity and responds to local needs.”

The heads of the other member schools are enthusiastic about L.E.A.D.’s potential.

Steve Parry, headteacher of St Ann’s Well and a Trust director, said: “Our main priority is to improve outcomes for our children. Every parent wants to feel their child is receiving the best possible quality of education wherever the school happens to be. That’s what our focus on partnership working and shared values is about: guaranteeing consistency of teaching and learning excellence.”

Paul Worley, headteacher of Sycamore said: "Our new academy is buzzing with excitement about working in true partnership to create an outstanding future for children. There will be no excuses for underachievement at L.E.A.D. schools."

Melany Pemberton, head of school at Edna G Olds said: “We are thrilled to be a part of LEAD Academy Trust. Staff and pupils are very excited about all the prospects and opportunities that will evolve from this collaborative partnership work.”

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