A key premise of successful multi-academy trusts is their ability to draw upon and mobilise the skills and talents of staff across their schools to achieve improvements in more schools and for more children. Indeed, sustainable and successful school improvement models depend not only on sufficient professional expertise and sound and scalable improvement processes, but also, crucially, on the capacity of a wide-range of professionals to provide coaching, mentoring, CPD, peer review, and – at times – substantive leadership or teaching support.
Yet, challenges and barriers to collective school improvement can easily present themselves. Achieving cultural commitment to whole-trust success, in a context where leaders are highly accountable for individual schools, can be challenging. Leaders are also – quite rightly – invested emotionally and professionally in ‘their schools’. Finding a balance, however, is key to the collective success of all schools and all children in academy trusts. Here, we look at how Focus Academy Trust (Focus-Trust) developed a cultural commitment to ‘collective efficacy’ across their trust and what they plan to do next.