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Chris Tweedale

Aldridge Foundation MAT appoints new CEO

Aldridge Foundation launch national multi-academy trust and appoint Chris Tweedale as chief executive

Posted by Stephanie Broad | September 05, 2016 | People, policy, politics

The Aldridge Foundation, the education charity which sponsors ten academy schools and University Technical Colleges in England, has launched a national multi-academy trust, Aldridge Education, as of 1 September. 

The Trust will initially be formed of Aldridge schools in the North West which are already part of a regional MAT, and will assume sponsorship of the schools and UTCs presently operating as individual trusts. Chris Tweedale, currently Chief Executive of CfBT Schools Trust and previously UK Director of CfBT, has been appointed as Aldridge Education CEO and will take up the role at a date yet to be finalised. He has previously held positions as Director of Schools & Young People Group in the Welsh Government and as a Deputy Director at the Department for Children, Schools and Families (now the DfE). 

The Aldridge Foundation was formed in 2006 by Sir Rod Aldridge after retiring from Capita Plc, the business he set up and which became one of this country’s most successful companies. Its non-selective community academy schools and colleges have a strong focus on developing entrepreneurial skills and on rapidly improving the quality of education on offer in order to transform the life-chances of young people. 

The Foundation’s first sponsored school, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, opened in 2008, transforming GCSE results from its predecessor school and opening a sixth form where this year nearly 70% of students got their first choice University place and which offers a strong focus on vocational qualifications alongside A-levels.  Its approach to developing students’ entrepreneurial skills in tandem with their academic qualifications is typical of Aldridge schools, and has placed it at the centre of the regeneration of its community, as well as bringing national and international awards.

Since opening Darwen Academy the Foundation has sponsored further schools in the North West, London and in the South, as well as being Education Partner of Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, a new specialist further education college opening in September. The Aldridge Education MAT will take over responsibility for all of the schools, with the Foundation continuing as a separate charity supporting social change and community regeneration through entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education, with a strong focus on the communities in which Aldridge Education operates. 

Sir Rod Aldridge said: “This marks a big and exciting change for us. It is a natural development and a mark of our ambition. It will enable us to better grow and retain our key leaders and teachers by providing greater opportunities, training and development, and foster the sharing of curriculum development and specialist resources. Our school leaders will have more time to focus on school improvement and our academy Governors will be able to support the local community focus of their school without all of the legal and administrative accountabilities which increasingly seem to absorb so much time. 

“We remain unwaveringly committed to Aldridge schools being individual, inclusive, community focussed and able to provide outstanding entrepreneurial education to all of our students. Aldridge Education will initially be organised in four regional clusters to ensure that our schools retain their individual community identities, and that we can attract and support new schools to strengthen the family. 

“We set out to attract an outstanding CEO to lead the MAT and in Chris Tweedale I am delighted that we have found just that. Chris’ wide experience leading one of the UKs largest multi-academy trusts; in educational transformation; and as a Headteacher for eight years make him well equipped to support high performance in all our current family of schools as well as to those who will seek to join us.” 

Chris Tweedale said: “It is a great privilege to be appointed as Aldridge Education's first CEO.  I am excited to be given this fantastic opportunity to build upon the excellent legacy of the iconic schools in the Aldridge Foundation and lead their development into a single, highly effective multi-academy trust as Aldridge Education. 

“I hope to build upon my previous experience as CEO of a large multi-academy trust to work collaboratively with school and college leaders, staff, governors and trustees to ensure every student and young person gets an outstanding education in an Aldridge Education Academy. 

“We will be focused on providing opportunities for the young people in our schools and colleges to prepare them to enter the world of work or further study as inspired, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial life-long learners. The Foundation is committed to supporting the Aldridge family of schools and their communities, providing a unique advantage for us over many other MATs.

Beki Martin has been appointed Chief Executive of the Aldridge Foundation charity and is fulfilling the role of Aldridge Education’s Interim CEO until Chris Tweedale takes up post. 

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