Become a Member Academy of the Trust

If you are thinking of joining a Trust and would like to know the next steps, or are interested in having an informal chat about what joining our Trust would mean to you, please contact us:

Our experienced team will ensure your transition to academy/trust member status is hassle-free and successful by supporting you right through the consultation process, including:

  • The registration processes, including engagement with the Regional Directors' office
  • Due Diligence
  • Stakeholder engagement and communication strategies
  • Land transfer and lease arrangements
  • Staffing structures & TUPE process
  • Trust board and local Governance structures
  • Integrated curriculum financial planning and financial budgeting with Academies Handbook
  • Risk management process

What does it mean to join GST? 

Becoming part of Great Schools Trust means joining a genuinely supportive family of academies with many benefits including:

Strong Strategic Management:

Our experienced CEO, Executive and team of Directors are available to provide personalised advice and guidance to your school leaders and governing bodies. A key function of the ‘Faculty for Education’ is to provide our academy leaders with the assurance that, within a continually changing political and legal landscape, they are keeping up to date with statutory requirements, school compliance obligations and management of risk.

Strong Educational Leadership:

Outstanding leadership from numerous National Leaders of Education, with significant experience as Ofsted inspectors (including HMI) in both Primary and Secondary and national reputations for sustained school improvement.

This highly skilled team of lead professionals have responsibility for the quality of provision, curriculum, teaching and assessment and curriculum-led financial planning and strategic leadership. Every school is an equal partner, and every principal has a seat and an equal voice on the Trust Leadership Team we work together to develop the best curriculum possible with fantastic resources available to enhance student learning.

Strong Governance & Compliance:

Our expert team will be able to advise and guide your governors to ensure they can deliver their three core functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding leaders to account for the educational performance of the school
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

You will have access to training and development resources alongside an experienced clerk and with access to existing governing bodies within the Trust. Policies, schedules of business, and terms of reference are all provided as part of our comprehensive service.

Strong Financial Management:

We provide a customised service for you, which lifts the burden of financial compliance and keeps things simple. By managing this centrally we can take advantage of economies of scale, whilst ensuring we are fully compliant with the rules of the various funding and statutory bodies. Efficiencies in administrative functions and joint procurement programmes allow you to operate a financially sustainable organisation, characterised by exceptional Value for Money.

Strong People Centred Leadership:

We have a fantastic weekly CPD programme providing inspired learning to all colleagues; regular networking events and conferences ensure that we remain cohesive and at the top of our game. Our colleagues work across multiple sites, sharing ideas and reactively developing our teaching methods.

The Trust provides a People and HR service that is personalised and helps your leadership team achieve their aims to improve and develop your school. Our HR policies are models of best practice; reflect the trust’s ethos and are structured to build a culture of continuous improvement and development. Our People team works closely with you to fit your individual needs.

Strong Specialist Resources:

High expertise and large savings, both in time and finances, for back office support including finance, HR, marketing and communications, IT and estates management leaves academies free to concentrate on developing the capacity of your leadership schools and teams and allowing these savings, in both time and money, to be redirected back into teaching.

ICT Services

As an EdTech ambassador trust, GST provides a comprehensive IT infrastructure; ensuring data integrity, security and platform flexibility to allow your school to develop its unique systems but within a secure infrastructure.  Our experienced team will help with major projects and assist with strategy, procurement and installation, as well as providing advice and guidance.

Capital, Estates, Facilities & Health & Safety Services

Our experienced estates and technical services team will be able to support your school with professional advice and hands-on service across key areas. All to help you to ensure a ‘safe place’ for teaching and learning, and make the most of your estate assets. Where necessary we can help improve policies and procedures covering, for example, health & safety, site maintenance and regulatory compliance. We have a breadth of experience in delivering effective capital buildings programmes through to operational estate management, including CIF and major project developments.

Personal Development

The Personal Development Team have a proven record of the successful establishment and delivery of a wide range of leadership development programmes for both staff and students, including the establishment of 6 Cadet Contingents for each of our academies, one of the highest Duke of Edinburgh participation rates nationally, as well as annual leadership residentials for all of our students.

Marketing & Communications Services

Our experienced Marketing & Communications team will support your school with professional advice and hands-on service across key areas. Our breadth of experience in delivering web design, web content development and ongoing maintenance of all website and digital/social media services ensures compliance with DfE/ESFA governance requirements.  We have extensive experience of developing student recruitment campaigns, PR and reputation management strategy and delivering marketing training and support to school staff, whilst producing high quality design and artwork for marketing materials, prospectuses and newsletters. 

Common Principles of our Member Academies


  • The trust’s Scheme of Delegation will apply to all academies, even for schools which opt to retain their name, ethos and identity (including faith designation).
  • All trust schools will be expected to follow statutory policies as shown on the trust website and within the trust handbook (albeit some policies will require localising to the context/situation of the individual school)


  • The white paper has now set out the DfE’s expectation that MATs retain local governance arrangements. As such, each school must adopt the governance structure of the trust, in the form of a Local Academy Council (LAC), as a subcommittee to the Board of Trustees. LACs operate and are structured in a very similar way to more traditional Local Governing Bodies, but can focus more of their time and energy on the Quality of Education in their academy with finance and HR being centralised.
  • All LACs will use the same meeting schedule and reporting templates, which will be reviewed every 100 days by the Director of Governance/Compliance to ensure their appropriateness and effectiveness.

School Improvement

  • Each headteacher/Principal will join the Trust Leadership Team (TLT) and appoint a deputy to the Trust Quality Alliance team. Both groups meet weekly and are led by the Director of Education and Director of Quality Systems respectively. If a school has a business manager or equivalent role, they will join the Principal Administrator’s forum led by the Director of People.
  • All schools will support the trust school improvement strategy and education team led by the Director of Education and the trust will place quality assurance obligations on all schools (i.e.100 day systemic review cycles) irrespective of performance. This is a key part of our one academy, one trust, one community faculty of education model of continuous improvement.
  • School improvement support will be allocated proportionately to circumstance and quality of Education risk/need. For a school joining the trust who has an NLE/LLE postholder on their staff, they will communicate and agree on outreach work with the relevant Teaching School Hub with the trust’s Director of Education.

Central Services

  • Finance, HR/People, MarComms, IT and PD will be fully managed centrally by the Faculty for Education with operatives/links in each school, then with more specific operational remits and functions for school improvement, quality systems and MIS/data that are centrally driven but more locally led. This model may adapt over time or be localised to more specific needs and circumstances.

The GST Hub

As we operate across multiple local authorities in the northwest, to provide optimal time, resources and support to each academy, the trust’s ‘Faculty for Education’ operate as geographic ‘Hubs'.

This enables the necessary structural and capacity changes in governance and central services to ensure the continued effectiveness of trust systems. Furthermore, the hub model also generates efficiencies in the operational support provided to all schools with the MAT dividend benefit each academy (a lower central charge for better service). 

The GST Hub model ensures for your academy that:

  • The trust and its vision is shared and promoted locally, both at the governance and school leadership level;
  • One of the trust’s membership principles, a radius between all schools within a hub of no more than 3 miles, is complied with to ensure the right level of support can be provided at both the strategic and operational levels.
  • The trust’s school improvement model is led/overseen locally by a hub lead (working directly for the Director of Education) so it can be implemented and monitored locally within the hub
  • Talented leaders and teachers work within and across their hub of schools to provide additional capacity to the central ‘Faculty for Education’ team.
  • The hub has visible and dedicated trust leadership and central services support across the hub of schools as well as within the educational leadership of its ‘Entrust’ schools. This operates at two levels:
    • Strategic support from the central team executive and directors, time proportionate to the needs of the hub and/or a particular school within the hub;
    • Operational support from a dedicated central hub team of officers (finance, HR, estates, IT, PD etc) who operate across a single hub;
  • The hub becomes self-sufficient with its allocated hub central team but can be developed and added to over time as more schools join.

Our Impact

Our Mission into Action