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We caught up with Claire Maclean, CEO of Tudor Grange Academies Trust to discuss the current education landscape, the lasting effects of the pandemic on the sector and what the future holds for the Trust.
“Originally the Trust was three schools and it’s now twelve, so it is a much more mature and close-knit model today. At the beginning the role was similar to that of Executive Head with a focus on shared values, quality assurance and community vision. Whilst these challenges are still important the role has become even more strategic.
Like many CEOs I have a real focus on risk management, governance, finance, and non-educational functions. I believe in experts governing experts which is why we outsource a number of functions such as facilities, catering, and supply recruitment. Therefore, I engage with partners who share the values of TGAT but can offer added expertise. This allows us to focus on what we are expert in, education.”
“Covid really exposed the inequalities and fragility in our different communities. I think this has helped our staff better understand those challenges and respond to them in schools, particularly around mental health, and resilience. This does mean that the burden of response in schools is higher as the impacts are far more visible, which, in turn means as leaders we have to help manage the extra workload that creates.”
“We believe in one identity but different stories at TGAT. A sense of belonging is hugely important, and a mature Trust can achieve this through collaboration. For example, whilst we have a common assessment policy, in terms of behaviour policies we encourage individual interpretations and a distributed model. Our policies are designed for each school to have alignment with the TGAT vision but also have space for their own unique personality and circumstances.”
“Recruitment is an ongoing issue. As it stands, the sector is not agile and fast enough to respond to the demand of work patterns, particularly post-Covid. There is also an increasing number of teachers who now don’t start or stay in education for life. This can be a good thing but at the same time teaching is, and needs to continue to be, seen as a vocation. And that as a vocation, it is not always easy and as well-rewarded as private sector work. Reconciling the vocation v career flexibility challenge will be important.
I also believe that there needs to be more recognition of the development gap that is becoming apparent from and within cohorts of children who were impacted by Covid during the primary phase. There are gaps in social skills as well as academic development which need to be supported when they come into the secondary setting.”
“The Trust is continuing to grow which is always hugely exciting because whenever we grow our group of schools we grow our social and intellectual capital as well, and this benefits everybody. We are continuing to mature into a fantastic organisation and one of the main signs of this is that our innovation is coming from our teachers and support staff, more so than our leaders. It feels like we have and are continuing to evolve into a really natural and collaborative group. This is a hugely exciting prospect for all of our community, but especially for our children.”
We are proud to be the recruitment partners of Tudor Grange Academies Trust, a family of academies based across the Midlands with a shared ethos, common values and collective goals.
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