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Paul Murphy, CEO of E21C

Crossing paths

Paul Murphy explains cross-phase collaboration in a multi-academy trust

Posted by Stephanie Broad | February 12, 2016 | People, policy, politics

There are now over 5,000 schools in England that have become academies and this is a number that will continue to rise. Each school chooses to join an academy and become a part of a supportive family of schools – both primary and secondary - and this cross-phase collaboration has the ability to drive improvement. 

At E21C we have a very clear vision of what we want to provide for our students: we want each child to be the best they can be and enjoy an educational career that prepares them for life beyond school – moving into the 21st century world of work.

Using joint planning and school development schemes that span both primary and secondary schools within the trust better enables us to achieve this. Not only do trust schools have financial gains, but also added resources that benefit students in terms of equipment, shared information and an extended pool of staff expertise.

As a recent report published by the NGA in September 2015, Forming or joining a Group of Schools, underlines there is a greater benefit for students in terms of collaboration and improvement. The report links strong collaboration and joint accountability, across an academy’s schools, with better progress and attainment for pupils and better performance for schools overall. Why though?

Being part of an academy trust facilitates interaction between schools allowing them to work much more closely. It is often felt that through the transition from primary to secondary school students can lose a certain grounding, foundations are unravelled.

However, the schools in our trust work towards a single goal supporting students and helping them achieve their best from start to finish – from primary to secondary. Working and growing together helps break down barriers, promotes dialogue and ultimately aids the transition between two educational phases previously distinctively separate. 

Further, as a trust there are certain liberties permitted that facilitate innovation and raise standards for the pupils in our schools. Flexibility means we can deliver a tailored curriculum that fosters a more cohesive approach to education. Essentially, taking control of the curriculum means that the trust can unify how certain subjects are taught. 

We want to provide an academic blueprint that provides students with the greatest opportunities and the support required for success from primary to secondary school. 

Paul Murphy is CEO at Multi-Academy Trust E21C. 

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