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Welcome from CEO

Great Schools Trust would like to welcome you to our website.  Watch this video to hear our Chief Executive Officer, Shane Ierston, explain his vision for our students, our leaders of tomorrow.

Becoming CEO at Great Schools Trust was an extremely humbling experience for me, reminiscent of my first days as a teacher over two decades ago.  In my early career, I was fortunate to have had a choice in what I did and where I worked after University.  I chose to teach because it’s the best profession in the world.  Done well, it’s a force for good: it empowers children and teachers to become leaders and unites communities behind the common good of driving social mobility.

“To defend a country you need an army, but to defend a civilisation you need education.” Jonathan Sacks, Philosopher

Read more Shane Ierston here

From the Trust’s early origins in 2012, I have been privileged to have worked with a range of extremely talented individuals.  Although we’ve experienced success with our EdTech programmes, Behaviour Hubs, and Research and Character initiatives, as educators our business does not respect the ‘status-quo’ – it respects change. 

This is an exciting time for education, with recent amendments to legislation encouraging greater collaboration between providers.  Let me be clear on that last point – it is important that our partnership approach is not growth for the sake of size, but instead to allow us to have a greater impact on the lives of our children. As education evolves and we evolve with, and ahead of it, our job at the Trust is to ensure that our academy leaders have all the support they need for their schools and students to thrive.

Like most people, a lot of what I do and know has been shaped by my family and life experience.  Perhaps it’s the teacher in me but I still enjoy reading, learning and applying new ideas from other sectors to education. For example, the research in Daniel Coyle’s book the ‘Culture Code’ has become a central theme for us.  At Great Schools Trust, we invest in the Four Ps which are Purpose, Partnerships, People and Performance: through this approach, we have developed our ‘faculty-based style’, which encourages each of our academies to contribute as partners within the Trust leadership structure.

All parents should be able to access outstanding education for their children, Trusts have a moral duty to ensure their students become high-performing and well-rounded citizens.  Without a successful education, people can struggle to provide for themselves or contribute to society. Having witnessed the effects of this throughout my career, we are committed to ensuring that every school in our Trust receives the training and resources they need for ‘teachers to teach and students to learn’.   

I firmly believe that over the coming years, our shared ‘belief’ in every child and strong people strategy will become more important than ever before.  As our students compete at higher levels, it will be those with the right character traits and intellectual habits that will be best placed to succeed in our changing world.  As Tim Peake, the British Astronaut said,

“GCSEs will get you to the interview, but it will always be your character that gets you the job”. 

When we talk about building character, it doesn’t mean that we should start doing more things instead, it means that the work we do must empower our children to believe that they can.  We want our students and staff to enjoy their work, have fun and be successful.   This is the core of who we are at the Great Schools Trust and driving this core are the supportive relationships that exist between each of our schools and the central team.  As educational leaders, we must ensure that the legacy we pass to our successors are communities in better conditions than we found them, more capable of meeting educational needs and preparing children to be upwardly-mobile citizens. If we are to realise our vision, we must empower our people, so that through the influence of education future generations will be more successful.

I’d like to finish with a quote from Steve Jobs who said “my model for success is The Beatles: they were four individuals that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and together their total was greater than the sum of their parts”.  At Great Schools Trust, we are a growing family of successful academies, committed to the well-being of our students and staff, and working together to make a difference in the communities and with the children we serve.

I hope you find this website informative and I welcome you to our family of schools.

Shane Ierston


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