By Chris Tomlinson, CEO of the Academies Trust
I’ve been thinking about this week for a few months now, my first officially in role, with some optimism and excitement. I guess I’m not dissimilar to the hundreds of new students we’re welcoming into the schools in our Trust for their first days in reception and Year 7.
Joining an organisation that has such a clear direction and vision was a real attraction for me and I’m determined to build on the solid foundations that we have as we grow in number and continue to make improvements in our schools, for our students and their communities.
I’d like to thank Frank Norris MBE. Frank led the Trust for the past 6 years and has been a real driving force behind Co-op becoming one of the most successful multi-academy trusts in the country.
The support Co-op gives to its academies is excellent, and in my experience unique. It means we can improve the life chances of thousands of outstanding young people, many with extremely challenging backgrounds.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m incredibly proud to announce that one of our academies, Connell in Manchester, will become the first academy in the UK to offer students a paid work placement element as part of their studies in the final year of their course. Students starting on the BTEC Business Studies course in 2019 will have the opportunity to apply for this pathway in 2020, with a programme of guest speakers and other support being explored for students studying other qualifications at Connell.
The potential of Co-op Academies Trust is endless and I fully believe that we can make such a difference to the communities we serve and become a beacon for others.
Over the next few months, I plan to shadow a pupil in every academy for a full day to really get to know what the experience is like for a student on a regular basis. It’s crucial we offer the very best educational learning experience and opportunities in every school, in order to ensure that we achieve the very best outcomes for each student. For pupils to feel safe, supported, happy and successful must be the number one priority for all our academies.
If you’d like to read more about the Academy Trust you can check out our website.