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The Skinners’ Academies Trust

Over the last 12 months Education Office has been working closely with five of the schools in the family to set up a new multi-academy trust (the “Trust”). This Trust will bring together our five academies – Skinners’ Academy, Skinners’ Kent Academy, Skinners’ Kent Primary School, Skinners’ School and the Marsh Academy – under a single legal structure with a single Board of Trustees. A formal application to form a Trust will be submitted to the DfE this autumn and we aim to launch in September 2023.

The ultimate aim of moving to this structure is to improve the quality of education each of our schools can offer its students. A multi-academy Trust is a group of schools with a single point of accountability, a central team and a culture in which working together and sharing ideas is the norm. The experience of schools across the country, and in our own family, suggests that much more effective collaboration can be built through this sort of structure than through looser arrangements.

Learning from the work of the best Trusts across the country, we expect our new Trust to focus on:

  • Investing in the best possible professional development for our staff, and a more joined-up approach to teacher recruitment and progression.
  • Enabling our leaders at all levels to meet regularly, to exchange ideas and solve problems.
  • Sharing specialist expertise and best practice in areas such as SEND or mental health.
  • Identifying economies of scale and buying power in what will be a much larger organisation.

An important element of the context for this decision was the recent Education White Paper, published in May 2020, which set a policy expectation that all state schools will be in a Trust, or have plans to join one, by 2030.

The Trust will be sponsored by the Company. As under our current arrangements, the Chairman of the Trust and a majority of its Trustees will be members of the Company. It is proposed that the Board of Trustees will be chaired by Johnny Aisher, a former pupil of one of the Skinners’ schools, former Chairman of Governors at Skinners’ School and a past Master of the Skinners’ Company. The first Senior Executive Leader would be Ian Anderson, our Director of Education.

Recognising the diversity of our schools, a founding principle of the new Trust is that it will leave as much autonomy as possible with our schools’ leaders and local governing bodies. The governing bodies of each of the schools will become committees of the Trust Board, but will continue to have direct oversight of finance, education and other aspects of their school’s business and we do not expect their structure to change. Each school will be represented on the Trust Board and our headteachers will be the key voices shaping the Trust’s strategy. The Trust is supportive of diversity and autonomy amongst its academies, being inclusive of both selective and non-selective schools, and of a variety of academic journeys that include IB, A level and vocational courses.