Blog by James Pope, the programme director for Whole Education’s Trust Leadership Series.
The context for TLS
Following years of rapid, sometimes exhausting political reform, a Brexit-induced lull means the education system is finally beginning to settle.
The system that emerges is characterised in part by fragmentation – partial academisation (varying dramatically between regions), diminished and competing roles for Local Authorities, RSCs, the DfE and Ofsted, and a school-led system with little clear guidance or support for those tasked with leading and improving it – including trusts and their leaders.
What is clear, however, is that the role of trust leaders as agents of change, improvement and support is vital- and likely to grow in importance. Within this context, the vision and values that school and trust leaders hold will be key in determining the direction of the system, and how well it provides a ‘whole education’ to our young people.
How WE can help
We believe a ‘whole education’ is central to the mission of most trust leaders – to lead a family of schools that provides excellent outcomes but is not solely defined by doing so.
Since our founding in 2010, the Whole Education network’s programmes have been based around co-operation, helping leaders learn from each and from the best that the national and international education system has to offer.
The ‘Trust Leadership Series’ (TLS) has been created in collaboration with trust leaders in the Whole Education network. They have consistently told us that with the role still so new and emergent, they would value a peer group to share ideas and build solutions to common challenges.
The TLS has been based around our four key principles:
It aims to give trust leaders a space to learn from and with each other, and support and develop the practice of those taking the strategic lead for groups of schools.
Whether the trust is newly emerged or firmly established it will be an opportunity for CEOs, their central teams, trust HTs and Trustees to network with those in other trusts and share their experience. As trust leaders the series will allow you to validate, support and challenge your progress.
I am delighted to be taking the lead in this exciting series as programme director, supported by the Whole Education team. We aim to provide a vibrant and challenging series of events.
The series will include:
- a deep and reflective diagnostic. This will focus on the strategic development journey of each trust around the key interest groups
- 3 face-to-face ‘learning residentials’
- the opportunity to visit and learn from other trusts and their schools
- inputs and provocations from national experts from the education sector and beyond
- bespoke, individual coaching sessions to support and challenge you
The interest groups
The series will be based around a set of high-level interest groups (see flyer below) which will evolve and develop to reflect your interests and expertise.
You may wish to take a high-level view of all of the interest groups, or dive more deeply into a particular area. Either way you will be connected to peers who will share their own experiences and learning.
The sector is facing a range of challenges, particularly around funding and accountability. It is right that we use our influence to push for solutions to these challenges. However we also cannot wait for this government to respond.
Rather we must work collectively and collaboratively to find the solutions that will enable us to deliver an entitlement to a whole education for all our young people.
Trusts allow us to work collectively and the Trust Leadership Series provides an opportunity for us to collaborate. We hope you will join us.[scribd id=406731434 key=key-op8YmCj0eoMVcTbviaci mode=scroll]
To arrange a conversation with the Whole Education team about the Trust Leadership Series or to register your interest, please email Charlotte (at) wholeeducation.org.
James Pope is an experienced educational leader having worked in school leadership for over a decade. Most recently James was Headteacher and executive Headteacher within the Southwest, working in schools facing significant challenges educationally and financially. His school featured in BBC 2 documentary ‘School’. James was described as having acted with principles and dignity in exceptionally challenging circumstances.