Launch of The Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust

Apr 3, 2014

“I'm delighted to be able to say that The Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust is ready to move forward as a powerful driver for improvement and support for education within Cumbria.”

The launch event of The Good Shepherd Multi Academy TrustThat was the key message delivered by Michael Mill, the Diocese of Carlisle's Director of Education, Children and Young People at last night's official launch of the new Trust.

More than 40 invited guests including education officials, senior County Council cabinet members, Headteachers, governors and union representatives gathered for the event at the Newton Rigg Conference Centre near Penrith.

The launch included a presentation delivered by Mr Mill on the benefits of joining The Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust.

He told those present: “We started on this journey last June when we were approved as academy sponsors.  It came about as schools were placed under more pressure to think about academy status, particularly if they had had difficulties with outcomes of inspection.

“We wanted to make sure that we were there for those schools as a potential sponsor should that be required.

“We felt that it was important, as we looked at the changing landscape and at what lay ahead for church schools – the pressures of Ofsted, issues around recruitment and governance recruitment particularly in small rural areas, issues about funding, issues around falling pupil rolls in parts of the county – that we create an organisation which could potentially provide the glue that would hold everything together.”

Those at the launch were also given a copy of the Trust's newly published prospectus. The document includes reference to the Trust's core aims; that everyone has something to offer and that the work of the Trust is underpinned by Christian values of trust, honesty, empathy and social responsibility.

Mr Mill also identified key benefits for those schools becoming academy members of the Trust. These potentially include improved funding, a reduction in bureaucracy, and equality, flexibility and autonomy for academy members.

He added: “Where there is a shared vision there is purpose and where there is purpose there is success when we work together.”

Delegates also heard from two Headteachers of schools in existing Multi Academy Trusts about the benefits of joining, including greater economies of scale

Dr Peter Mackie, Headteacher of St Gregory's Academy, part of the Carmel Education Trust, told the audience of educational benefits, adding: “Before joining the MAT our percentage of good or outstanding lessons was 65%. It is now 81%. We're seeing outstanding lessons that we've never seen before.”

Anne Harvey from Croxton Kerrial CE Primary in Leicestershire joined the launch via a Skype connection. She said: “Academy conversion has been a response to change but it has also been an opportunity for us to drive change which has been a wonderful opportunity for us to have.”

The Trust's Business Manager Alison Gerke later gave more details on how schools can engage with the Trust as they explore academy status.

And giving the welcome address, the Bishop of Penrith, the Rt Rev'd Robert Freeman, told the audience: “I am delighted to give my personal support, and the support of the Diocese of Carlisle, to the launch of the Multi Academy Trust; and to give my support for the resources and help this will give to enable schools to be strengthened and equipped while also maintaining local flexibility and identity.”

For further information about The Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust go to


For more information please contact Communications Officer Dave Roberts on 07984 927434 or at or Alison Gerke, Business Manager of The Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust, at

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