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More support needed for trust leaders

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Thursday 5th September, 2019: The Key has today released initial findings from a report into academy trust leadership, which indicates a large proportion (87%) of trust leaders are regularly* collaborating with other trusts to establish best practice, in what is still a relatively new, complex and varied operating context.

The findings, gathered from over 155 leaders of 2 or more school trusts, are being released to coincide with the launch of The Key’s new support service - The Key for Trust Leaders.

Created in the same format as The Key’s leading information service for school leaders, The Key for Trust Leaders encapsulates the needs, experiences and feedback of over 80 central teams who worked in partnership with The Key to develop the service. It also showcases leading practice from across the academy sector, along with The Key's proven format of quality assured, practical resources.

Conducted in partnership with Forum Strategy, The Key’s research shows that trust leaders are operating in a challenging environment, with the majority (46%) of those surveyed stating they only feel ‘somewhat well-prepared’ in their ability to make the right strategic decisions across their trust. Almost 9 in 10 (89%) believe the threat of accountability inhibits innovation across their trust to an extent**.

In evaluating trust leaders’ current access to support from within the sector, 62% felt they needed more support from the Department for Education in order to be an effective trust.  Over half (53%) said they’d like more support from their Regional Schools Commissioner.

“There’s no blueprint for trust leadership - in many cases, leaders are in new roles and breaking new ground - with an acute sense of accountability” said Richard Jewell, COO at The Key.

“The development of The Key for Trust Leaders has introduced us to some extraordinary leaders doing extraordinary things - our role is to ensure that the best ideas from the maintained and academy sectors are crossing the chasm - and that leaders in every setting are inspired to take meaningful action.”

The full research report: ‘Trust expansion: overcoming growing pains”, is due for release at Forum Strategy's annual National #TrustLeaders conference in a few weeks’ time.

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* The term ‘regularly’ includes all survey respondents who said they were collaborating weekly (17.3%), monthly (37.8%) or termly (31.4%) with another trust.

** When asked: To what extent do you feel the threat of accountability inhibits innovation (trying something new) across your trust? 11.5% said ‘to a great extent’ 42.9% said ‘to a moderate extent’, 34.6% said ‘to a limited extent’, 10.9% said ‘not at all’

For more information contact:
Laura Scott, Head of PR
[email protected] / 0203 907 8076

About the research

The data quoted in this release is taken from ‘Trust expansion: overcoming growing pains’ - a new piece of research conducted by The Key in partnership with Forum Strategy. The full research will be presented at the annual National #TrustLeaders conference on Thursday 26th September 2019, and available to download in full thereafter.

155 respondents completed the full survey between 13 June and 6 July 2019; a further 24 partially completed it. All respondents identified as being in leadership roles in trusts – some lead schools and work in the central team, and 49 are CEOs.

For more information about the upcoming release of this research or to schedule an interview with Nicola West Jones, head of market research at The Key or Michael Pain, CEO of Forum Strategy, please contact The Key’s PR team.

About The Key for Trust Leaders

Trusts can purchase membership of The Key for Trust Leaders from 1st September, 2019. The new service is carefully curated to meet the unique challenges of trust central teams. It provides advice and guidance on everything from policy requirements, to growth strategies, financial management and centralising services.

For more information, please visit:

About The Key

The pace of change in education means there’s no shortage of theory, opinion and advice on what leaders need to do and what they need to know. Leaders themselves are under huge pressure to make a difference with little time to plan, prioritise and learn. In a world like this, ambitious and aspiring education leaders are in constant need of reliable, relevant and authoritative knowledge that’s ready to use.

The Key cuts through the noise to provide up-to-the-minute sector intelligence and resources that empower education leaders with the knowledge to act.  Serving more than 100,000 members, our vision is to be an indispensable partner to education leaders determined to make a difference.

Follow our updates: @thekeysl

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