More than 450 teachers, staff and governors from Cumbria’s fastest-growing education trust gathered together ‘As One’ to set out plans for the new school year.
The multi-academy Cumbria Education Trust (CET) is now responsible for the education of more than 3,700 students across three secondary and four primary schools.
Staff from across Cumbria were welcomed to the conference at Carlisle Racecourse and heard from keynote speakers from the world of education. The growing trust also introduced its new Chair, Cumbrian businessman George Beveridge and a new Director of Primary Education, Chris Wilkins.
The trust’s Chief Executive Lorrayne Hughes said: “There was a buzz that was electric. We bring staff and governors together to ensure that CET develops as an organisation of choice to support students in achieving their full potential.
“We have been extremely fortunate to have attracted a wealth of talented and dedicated professionals to the organisation so are extremely excited about the new year ahead.
“The theme of our conference was ‘As One, Students First’ something in which we firmly believe.”
The charity was formed in September 2015 and its annual event was attended by staff from CET’s three secondary schools – William Howard in Brampton, Workington Academy and The Whitehaven Academy – and its four primary schools – Longtown, Tebay, Yanwath and Yewdale.
CET’s vision is to enable each young person to reach their potential by providing an innovative and inspiring learning experience for students aged 3-18. The schools share the same core values, Respect, Responsibility and Resilience, as well as the motto ‘Be the best you can be’.
The trust has a growing reputation after stepping in at schools going through difficult periods, including taking over The Whitehaven Academy after a controversial period under the Bright Tribe Trust.
Three of CET’s schools have been awarded ‘Good’ Ofsted inspections in the last year – Yewdale in Carlisle, William Howard and Longtown.
The conference provided an opportunity for CET staff to network, reflect on recent successes, learn from one another and plan for the future.
The keynote speaker was Alistair Smith, one of the UK’s leading trainers in modern learning methods. He gave two presentations based on the topics of ‘What we can Learn from High Performing Organisations’ and ‘How to develop more Independent and Resilient Learners’.
Fellow speaker, Mark Lehain, is a Director of Parents and Teachers for Excellence, a group encouraging schools to adopt best practice in the area of behaviour, knowledge-rich curricula, assessments, and cultural enrichment.
New Chair and Director of Primary Education at Cumbria Education Trust George Beveridge is the newly appointed Chair of the Cumbria Education Trust Board.
Mr Beveridge is a prominent figure in the nuclear energy industry with more than 30 years of experience in a variety of roles, including an eight-year assignment as Deputy Managing Director of Sellafield Ltd from 2008 to 2016.
He has played a key part in the wider development of the areas in which he has worked. He was a founding Director of the Cumbria Inward Investment Agency as well as founding Chair of the Cumbria LEP, member of the Transport for the North Board, Chairman of Inspira Ltd and former Regional Chair of CBI NW.
Mr Beveridge is a non-Executive Director on the DfE Northern Regional Board. He was appointed Chair of Business North in April 2018 and has served on its Steering Group since inception in 2015.
He said: “The trust is at a very exciting stage in its development. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to bring my experience to the organisation and make a difference as it continues to grow and develop stronger outcomes for children across Cumbria.”
Chris Wilkins, a well-known face within the Cumbrian education community and beyond, has joined the trust this month as its new Director of Primary Education.
The former executive headteacher at Carlisle-based St Ninian Catholic Federation, brings vision and focus to the role, possessing more than 25 years of experience within the primary education setting.
He also played a key role recently in the organisation of the highly successful Northern Lights Inspiring Education Conference in Carlisle, aimed at all those who wish to explore and share strategies and practice dedicated to improving educational outcomes.
He said: “I am delighted to have joined such a forward-thinking organisation at such an exciting time. There are some fantastic opportunities for our pupils and staff, and I am really pleased to be part of the team.
“CET has an excellent reputation and my experience to date provides a robust platform for sharing best practice and allowing me to work with a greater number of schools and therefore make an impact on improving the life chances of a greater number of children.”