‘The impact on schools and leaders has been considerable'

Elliot Costas-Walker explains how trusts came together to share knowledge in a local hub 

The Aspire Hub comprises 19 schools spanning a large area of the North West, covering Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside. We emerged out of a distinct strategic and creative partnership between two multi-academy trusts, Forward as One CE MAT and Wade Deacon MAT, and Knowsley Local Authority. This presented a challenge in aligning as three separate organisations, but the opportunities in establishing this partnership have proved to be rich and varied, enabling us to collaborate across the system and sector.

Existing links had been created through the Pathways to Success school improvement model in Knowsley local authority — however, the key way the hub was able to launch was in establishing a common “why” and “how”.

The “why” emerged out of a shared desire to collaborate beyond trust, Local Authority and regional boundaries, and through discussion the hub’s three principles were agreed: culture, connectedness and collaboration, with a commitment to ‘looking up, out and beyond’.

The “how” has involved understanding the context and needs of each hub school, including how the hub can add value to their schools. We also have a clear communications strategy with a regular newsletter collating and distilling key information and content, as well as a website www.theaspirehub.com.

The impact on schools and leaders in the hub has been considerable. For those considering Challenge Partners, we hope our Aspire model offers a roadmap for different organisations to come together and form an effective hub in the spirit of purposeful and deliberate collaboration

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