An organisation set up to help academy trusts and schools run their buildings, estates and facilities as efficiently as possible for the benefit of their students has been backed by leading education figures after holding its inaugural conference for the sector.
The Trust Network provides members with an opportunity to share best practice, exchange knowledge and form a single voice to discuss issues or concerns with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and the Department for Education.
It was founded by a partnership of leading academy trusts – Ormiston Academies Trust, Brooke Weston Trust and AET, and held its first National Estates Conference ‘The effective and efficient, estates, business unusual for the education sector’ at Corby Business Academy, in Northamptonshire, which is part of the Brooke Weston Trust.
The conference speakers included Mike Green, Director of Capital at the ESFA; Bruce Crowther, Programme Director at the ESFA; Stephen Morales, the Chief Executive of the National Association of School Business Management; and Toby Young, the Director of the New Schools Network. In all, more than 200 delegates attended, with representatives from as far as Cornwall and Carlisle.
Attendees to the conference had the chance to attend a series of workshops on a range of different topics, including procurement, energy efficiency, and free schools.
Mike Green, Director of Capital at the ESFA, said: “This conference is really important so people can see the way things are being done. There is a challenge around efficiency and saving money and it is important that estates are well run for all sorts of reasons: safety, efficiency or suitability. It is really great to see the profession developing. There have been some great speakers and it has been really worth coming and listening to them.”
Toby Young, Director of the New Schools Network, said: “The Trust Network is an excellent forum where members can discuss ways of working and share best practice for the good of their academy trust or school.
“Professional management of estates, facilities and procurement is essential if trusts are to function as well as possible for the benefit of their students, so I commend Ormiston Academies Trust, Brook Weston Trust and AET for leading the way in this area, and wish the Trust Network every success going forward.”
James Miller, National Director of Estates and Technology for Ormiston Academies Trust, said: “We had a vision whereby academy trusts and schools could come together to explore how to maintain and develop education estates that enhance teaching and learning. Our first National Conference has fulfilled that vision, and we now look forward to building on its success.”
Matt Isherwood, Estates and Facilities Director for Brooke Weston Trust, said: “All our speakers provided us with invaluable insights and engaging debates. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to today being such a resounding success. Effective estates management is such an important part of running a high-quality and well-maintained school or academy trust, and the importance of events like this, where we can exchange ideas and best practice, cannot be overstated.”
Andrew Redmond, Director of Estates and Facilities for AET, said: “All the delegates were engaged and involved, and it was clear that the conference, and the Trust Network, have given people in the sector what they want, so that they can run and maintain their estates and facilities in the most efficient way possible.”
The Trust Network’s founding members are James Miller, of Ormiston Academies Trust; Andrew Redmond, Director of Estates and Facilities for AET; and Matt Isherwood, Estates and Facilities Director for Brooke Weston Trust.