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Our Journey and What Next?

EPA was the first multi-academy trust nationally that comprised a community secondary and primary school, and voluntary aided and voluntary controlled church schools. This required a significant amount of detailed preparation and negotiation, but left us with a distinctive set of articles of association.  We have now been joined by a 3-19 school and more primaries so we like to think of ourselves as unique and certainly have lots of opportunity for discussion and innovation.

Since the Trust’s formation, all schools have been working together under the guidance and direction of a single Board of Trustees who work closely with the Local Governing Bodies at each school. In addition, the Trust has benefited from the involvement of the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education as a corporate member and together from our overall governance body who meet at least twice a year to consider the long-term plans for the Trust.

As more schools have joined us, we have had more opportunity to think about where next.  For us, though growth is not the first priority, retaining the best staff and offering children and young people the best education and opportunities is the key priority.  We have plenty of partnerships with other schools and external organisations and these will develop over time and stimulate our own thinking and best practice. Our primary team recently visited one of the most impressive high-achieving primary schools serving an area of huge disadvantage. However good we are, we know that there is even better practice out there for us to learn from.

As we grow, of course, there are more opportunities for our leaders (middle and senior) to work flexibly across schools in a collaborative partnership.  This has brought us significant benefits, and we are probably closer professionally now, than at any time in the past. 

This has also given us the chance to create some (at least partial) solutions to those issues that most challenge school leaders. The Eynsham Early Intervention Hub and Parent Support Adviser Pilot are both examples of cross Trust initiatives which grew out of discussions with Headteachers and SENDCO's.  

All of our innovations start, led by our middle and senior leaders in school.  Cross phase Mandarin, Cross phase 5-8 Curriculum Planning, Instructional Coaching, Artificial Intelligence Group etc. – there are many. 

We don’t do ‘top-down’, and we encourage school-led innovation and then help the partnership learn from their best colleagues at EPA and a few elsewhere too. This is what will keep us actually achieving what we have written on the ‘Our Vision and Values’ page.