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CEO is keynote speaker at Bristol conference

Brooke Weston Trust’s CEO, Dr Andrew Campbell, highlighted the importance of a collaborative multi-agency approach in order to secure funding and best outcomes for schools in areas of the country that are under-resourced or facing challenges.

Dr Campbell was the keynote speaker at a conference attended by the Principals and leadership teams from secondary schools across the South Gloucestershire region. He spoke about the lobbying work he and the Brooke Weston Trust has done to ensure that Fenland was given Opportunity Area Status, and became eligible for a tranche of additional government funding. Thomas Clarkson Academy and Peckover Primary School in Wisbech are both Brooke Weston Trust schools working in collaboration with others to improve the capacity and resources available in Fenland through this government policy.

Dr Campbell said that, by joining forces with other education providers, local authorities, MPs, District and County Councils, it was possible to put a stronger and more persuasive case in order to bring about change or to tackle other perennial school challenges including recruitment shortages, underfunding and low aspirations, which are all key factors that can affect outcomes for students.

He said: ‘The conference, at Abbeywood Community School in Bristol, part of the Olympus Trust, brought together the MATs, the local authority and other stakeholders in the South Gloucestershire area to look at how secondary education could be improved by working together. They have got some good collaborations but are trying to do more. I was invited to speak to them about our experience, both among our own schools and then across MATs in an area. I talked specifically about our experience in Fenland and how, by pulling information and expertise together and speaking with one voice for the region, the group managed to bring about a change in government thinking.’

Dr Campbell was invited to talk to the 150 delegates by Mr Steve Taylor, the CEO of the Cabot Learning Federation, which has 15 academies in the south west. Although geographically separate, the challenges and opportunities faced by both Trusts are very similar.

‘It was a great opportunity to meet school leaders from the south west and lots of them are working in schools that are making good progress but, like ours, still have a way to go. I am delighted to be working in partnership with Steve Taylor as it is good to have people in different parts of the country looking at what you are doing . We have a strong reciprocal network of support and Steve now sits on our own Education Standards Committee. I look forward to seeing the progress of the partnerships forming across Bristol and the south west region as schools are better when they work together, not in isolation.’

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