The purpose of Cheshire Academies Trust is to inspire hearts and minds through care, collaboration and creativity. We believe coming to work in our schools should be a joy, where staff find real job satisfaction and make a genuine difference. It is incumbent upon governors and leaders across our Trust to create the conditions for success so that children receive a great education, as a consequence of providing teachers and leaders the environment they require.
Our schools are unique. We believe in standardisation only when it provides obvious real world benefits or aligns to government and regulatory guidance. We consult widely on our policies because we care what our staff and leaders believe is right for their schools. What is right for one community will not be the same for another. We pride ourselves on our focus on equality seeking to build unity because we appreciate teamwork drives effective collaboration, which in turn promotes creativity and innovation.
We care deeply about out team. The health and mental wellbeing of our staff is a carefully considered aspect of our decision making at all levels and we have managed workloads throughout the pandemic so that staff can continue to come to work with the energy to inspire.
Across our Trust we ask our staff how we are doing and what impact our work has on their roles. Their feedback is overwhelming positive. They tell us they feel looked after and understand our policies and practice. As part of our Trust staff would join as equals and have access to collaborate with all of our talented staff, who collectively have passion to provide the very best educational experiences. Leaders will be empowered to do what they believe is best for their schools, teachers and communities. Teachers will be offered the best training and knowledge so they may thrive within their classrooms. Fundamentally we believe that being part of a family of schools has afforded our staff opportunities across a wide spectrum of areas that has a real world positive impact on the learning experiences children receive.
How do we achieve our purpose?
We value uniqueness
Each school in our Trust is unique. They serve unique communities and should retain their individual identity. The school’s curriculum should continue to bespoke as it should be constructed to reflect the location and needs of the community. We acknowledge and celebrate the role everyone has in our communities and promote tolerance, understanding and engagement, in order to learn and be inclusive to all.
We provide a great education
The schools within our Trust provide a truly wonderful education for pupils. We recognise they deserve the best and in order to do that we provide the tools teachers need to thrive in the classroom.
Our goal is for every pupil in our Trust to be taught by an expert teacher, with strong pedagogical content knowledge and understanding of how children learn, who belongs to a team that continually builds its collective expertise. This requires schools to be effective learning organisations for the people who work in them – nurturing, valuing and rewarding ongoing development of knowledge and pedagogy through regular constructive feedback, professional discussion of practice, observation of others, and opportunity to engage with research evidence.
We share the same values
We are a values driven Trust. We believe in integrity and lead by example. It is our responsibility to make decisions with sensitivity and thoughtfulness based on the best interests of our teachers, pupils and communities. We value collaboration and our staff have open access to learn from each other. Respect, hard work and dedication have enabled everyone to flourish. We strive to deliver a learning environment in which pupils and staff can be healthy and happy; where success means making mistakes and challenging oneself.
We build unity and autonomy
We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we trust, respect and care for each other. No school should see itself as an island within our Trust and by working together across CAT and networks more broadly in a structured way, our teachers and schools can improve faster and more sustainably. CAT recommends that schools benefit from looking beyond local and regional boundaries to ensure they remain outward-looking and open to new ideas. There is clear value in finding out more about other schools that serve a similar or a contrasting demographic but who achieve different outcomes.
We believe in empowering leaders to make local decisions with flexibility and agility. They know best for their schools and we believe in giving them high degrees of autonomy. We trust our leaders and are there to support them when required.
We empower communication
Our Trust believes in transparency because we recognise that through clear and consistent communication leaders will be better able to drive improvements within their schools. Local Governing Bodies have open communication to the Trust board through link Trustees, Chairs Meetings and our bespoke quality assurance documentation. The scheme of delegation has been drafted to delegate almost all of the responsibility to local levels so that the operational management of the school can be retained by Headteachers and local governors. Our IT infrastructure allows for efficient communication to staff across the Trust, whether that be video calling or the use of shared online spaces. It ensures deep collaboration can continue in the absence of face to face communication; although that is always our preference.
We invest in people
We believe in people and not metrics. We imagine a world in which the vast majority of our staff wake up every day inspired, feel safe wherever they are and end the day fulfilled by the work they do in our schools. We appreciate that being alone in any position is hard so we know being together as a team is simply better. Our staff support each other, work together and learn together. As a trust we look after our staff who in turn look after our pupils.
We create the conditions for success
Our Trust aims to provide the financial and operational conditions for success for each of schools.. We ask ourselves what can we do to help a school succeed? What does it need to fulfil its vision? The central team provide a wide range of services that help schools and leaders to focus on the important work of teaching and learning without distraction.