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Growth Strategy Group Meeting 26.04.24

By Fiona Schneider, Marketing and Communications Officer, OWN Trust

The Growth Strategy Group met at Nene Valley Primary School to discuss the next steps on our pathway to growing OWN Trust. 

A range of people from across the trust were involved including Sadie Wiles (CFO), Stuart Mansell (CEO), Becky Ford (Woodston Primary School Headteacher), Nick File (OWN Trust Executive Deputy Headteacher), Neil Reilly (Nene Valley Primary School Headteacher), Sarah Levy (Director of Education), Jan Neish (Governance and Compliance Manager), Craig Phillips (Estates Manager), Adam Charlton (IT Manager), and Fiona Schneider (Marketing and Communications Officer). Mary Foreman (Chair of Trustees) and Sally Williams (Deputy Chair of Trustees) sent their apologies.

We discussed a range of topics including:

MAT growth developments nationally and locally

The DfE has made changes to the process of joining a MAT.

"From 1 September 2024, the terms and conditions for the grant will be updated. It will be paid only to schools approved to convert as part of a group of 3 or more schools joining the same trust. Special and alternative provision schools (also known as pupil referral units, or PRUs) will continue to be eligible to receive it as part of a single-school conversion process."

Source: Convert to an academy: guide for schools - 3. Set up or join an academy trust - Guidance - GOV.UK (

We discussed how OWN Trust will incorporate these changes into its growth strategy.

The OWN Trust EPM Readiness to Grow Report

The group discussed the very positive EPM Readiness to Grow report that was undertaken in February and March 2024 to assess the current position of OWN Trust against the seven enablers for successful growth:

  1.  Vision, culture, and ethos,
  2.  People and partners,
  3.  Teaching and learning,
  4.  Curriculum and assessment,
  5.  Quality assurance and accountability,
  6.  Governance and capability,
  7.  Resource management.

Key findings from the report highlighted the following strengths:

The Trust has a strong, clearly defined ethos that is articulated well in external communications.  There is internal alignment of the Trust’s values, and these are at the heart of everyday operations.

School improvement is a growing focus of the Trust, alongside a culture of learning and development.  Curriculum development and a rigorous process of review have led to results that are in line with or above the national average.  This is not seen as an end result, but a baseline for further development. 

OWN demonstrates an exceptionally proactive approach with all stakeholders, resulting in strong relations with staff, parents, and local schools. 

Staff CPD is strong, with academies, and Trust wide networks and leadership programmes.

OWN is supported by a highly skilled and effective group of Members and Trustees – the backgrounds and experience of both Boards are diverse.  It is evident that Members and Trustees lead the Trust well in terms of strategy and accountability.

The findings of the report will be taken into account as we move into our next phase of growth planning.

Trust Quality Descriptors

We spent the last part of the meeting looking at the DfE Trust Quality Descriptors. Different members of the Growth Strategy Group have been assigned an area to look at as we gather evidence for our self-evaluation report.

The next meeting will take place on Tuesday 16th July.