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Leaders United

Each of our three academies is different. Some trusts decide to impose a template -"it works at one place so it'll work everywhere". We don't. There are some aspects which we insist upon. Quiet, orderly assemblies - usually led by senior staff. That's not negotiable. There also has to be a behaviour management system which focuses upon sanctions and rewards. However we (and by we I mean the "Trent Academies Group") recognise that each school has its own history and personality. To ignore that creates huge problems and we haven't followed that route. This makes it trickier perhaps because if there is a weakness at one school and a leader from another is asked to move across for a while they have to spend time learning how the place operates. There won't be dramatic differences but there will be some. I'm delighted that some colleagues have moved from one place to another and made a big difference.

Take Dave Salter. English teacher at Rushcliffe for 10 years and moved to Farnborough. Doing a great job. Respected by the staff and pupils. Leon Jackson is leading Science at Arnold Hill having been Head of Science at Rushcliffe for a few years. He's immersed himself in Arnold Hill life and is making a big impact. Ben Chaloner, Alison Hallam and Richard White were highly respected members of the Rushcliffe staff and now work with Clare Watson in leading Farnborough with energy and imagination. They've been joined by Simon Ward for the rest of the year - and last year he spent two terms at Arnold Hill. And then Maria Collins and Vanessa Roper travel between sites on school improvement missions. Marian Beaumont, Saeed Latif, Angela Brown, Robin Harrison and Lee Roberts travel between sites ensuring HR, ICT, Finance, Site and Catering matters are under control.

So there is a lot of activity taking place and those with responsibilities across the sites have to adapt to new conditions and new people. Like me they don't expect sympathy but it's helpful if others are aware of the challenges faced. It's important that all 400 employees realise that the Board is totally committed to the objective of helping all pupils in the trust (4000 of them) achieve their potential and that will increasingly mean people will be asked to work across sites. Not only does it help children it also develops staff, broadens expertise and helps career development. But no one said it would be easy. Interestingly I was talking to someone from a major company with sites across the country and he was telling me about the importance of leaders seeing a problem at one site as a problem that faced them all. It's not only educational trusts that realise the power of the group in changing destinies.

Phil Crompton