Leora Cruddas: “Time to celebrate school trusts as education charities whose purpose is solely to improve children’s lives”

England’s state schools are living through an “education renaissance” driven by charitable trusts whose core purpose is to give children the best future possible, school leaders will hear today.
Leora Cruddas, Chief Executive of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST), will say that these trusts, which run schools in which 50% of children are now taught, have at their heart a “core charitable purpose to advance education for the public benefit – to make children and young people’s lives better”.
But she will also warn that the narrative about academy trusts has become “dominated by those who want to believe the motive is about business interest.”
Speaking at the CST’s Spring Conference in London today, Ms Cruddas will say it is time to celebrate that “academy trusts are education charities that run schools to give children a better future”, adding that academies are like any other state school – free to attend, inspected in the same way, and with their children taking the same tests and exams.
“Trusts are groups of schools working in collaboration as one entity to improve and maintain high educational standards across the group,” Ms Cruddas will say.
“They improve their children’s education by sharing ideas and expertise with each other. They help their local communities thrive by giving children the best opportunities to learn inside and outside the classroom. They work closely together and share expertise, which creates great opportunities for children and teachers. They share good practice on the important things – curriculum, assessment and behaviour. They offer structured career pathways for teachers, supported by high-quality professional development so teachers and leaders learn together.
“We are contributing to creating a great education system and making a better world. We are living through an education renaissance – a re-birth of a conversation about ethics, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment – and how education charities that run schools are the enablers of these most important professional conversations.
“There is an energy in education now that I have not felt for many years – a sense of optimism about what can be achieved.”
Ms Cruddas will say that in some other countries, such as the Netherlands and Canada, the fact that schools are organised into strong and sustainable groups led by education leaders is considered “normal”.