New Name, New Image And New Outlook For Multi-academy-trust

Issue 80

By the end of May, Kenton Schools Academy Trust will become known as Northern Leaders Trust and will proudly display its new strapline 'Achievement, Students and Leaders matter' throughout its schools.

Currently responsible for the management of two schools – Kenton School, one of the largest 11-19 academies in the North of England with 2010 places and Studio West, an enterprise and innovation campus located in the west end of the city with around 600 students – the trust’s new name and branding marks a step change in its evolution.

New appointments

The story of this next phase began at the end of 2021 when the trustees appointed Ian Kershaw as CEO, a well-known and highly respected educationist and independent consultant with expertise in leading and supporting complex organisations and improving outcomes for young people.

His appointment was shortly followed by that of Lee Kirtley, who took up the post of executive principal with a brief to oversee improvements across both academies operated by the trust with a particular focus on improving outcomes at Kenton School. Mr Kirtley, who has worked in education for twenty years, joined at the end of February. Prior to this, he led Manor Community Academy in Hartlepool from Requires Improvement to an Ofsted Good judgement.

Time for change

With a new vision and plans for future expansion, the name Kenton Schools Academy Trust was felt to be geographically limiting, as Mr Kershaw explains: ”The Board of Trustees decided to change the name of the trust because its current title is associated with only one school, which was of concern when we became sponsor for Studio West. The trustees wanted to project an image that was more open; one that recognises that our schools are unique.

”Our new strapline, Achievement, Students and Leaders matter, indicates where our priorities lie and encompasses the idea everyone is a leader and can be encouraged to develop leadership skills whether as a student, teacher or member of the support staff. We want our staff to feel proud of their employing organisation as one which invests in its people and future leaders.” Reaching for the stars

Various concepts for the new branding were presented to the trustees, teaching staff and students, with feedback overwhelmingly in favour of one design which included stars, as they were felt to convey the thought that nothing is impossible, and all students can reach for the sky.

Students also liked the idea of belonging to a trust that wants everyone to be a leader, while one trustee sees the rebrand as ‘an exciting opportunity to regenerate the organisation and portray the values of the trust to everyone’.

The rebrand comes as Kenton School’s current recruitment campaign is proving hugely successful with more confirmed students for the Year 7 September intake than ever before at this stage in the school year. Studio West, which is oversubscribed lower down the school, is also relaunching its Sixth Form, which is making a welcome return following a break of some years.

One Trust Rule

Very soon, if visitors walk around either school, they will be aware of the One Trust Rule, which is visible for all to see on signage in every classroom. Setting out a standard of expectation for every adult and student in the trust, it establishes a clear rule for expected behaviour, which is readily understood by parents and carers.

In the future it is anticipated that the Trust will grow over time with other schools joining, but at a pace where trustees can guarantee the highest quality support for school improvement and strategic leadership. This is something that will happen once Kenton School receives a Good judgement by Ofsted, which the trust expects will occur by Spring 2023. Studio West is already a Good school.

Bright future

Looking ahead, Dr Therese Quincey, chair of the board of trustees, is enjoying seeing the transformation take place so quickly. ”The board is delighted by the progress already being made since Mr Kershaw and Mr Kirtley’s arrival. ”We have exciting plans in store for the development of the Trust in the future and see these recent changes, together with our new branding, as the start of the next phase in our journey. ”We are also strengthening the senior leadership team with two new associate principals to assist in the drive to raise achievement alongside new directors of the core subjects of maths, English and science. The future is certainly looking bright for both the Northern Leaders Trust and our ability to deliver the highest standards of teaching and learning for all our students.

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