Strategy Consultancy

We provide strategy consultancy in a number of areas exclusively for Trusts where the CEO, COO or Education Executive is currently a member of Forum Strategy, including the following:

Visioning and Strategy Development Days

Forum Strategy delivers this one day event for trustees and executives in order to reflect on contextual wisdom – drawing on key social, economic, educational, and demographic trends – to refine their vision and to set strategy across the Trust. As well as providing a rich analysis of research and key trends, Forum Strategy enables trustees and executives to work together to reflect on their own growth and development within that context – and to undertake a number of activities in order to set strategy in response. We also provide an overview of key education and trust sector developments; drawing on analysis of successes and failures across the system – as well as identifying examples of new and innovative practices that contribute to sustained organisational success.

These days provide a rich mix of high quality professional development; practical activities that inform strategy; and a written summary of the event.

For more information on how to access a visioning and strategy development day for your trust board and executives, please email 

“David and Charlie are incredibly impressive professionals who delivered a superb day. They challenged our thinking / paradigms and offered case studies, questions, and thought pieces as well as facilitating group dialogues. Most importantly, though, did so through a shared moral purpose and compass of commitment to children and young people.”

Katrina Morley

CEO, Tees Valley Education

“Thank you Forum Strategy for supporting us through today, I am so excited about what comes next. The feedback on the event has been fantastic… I think we will look back on this as a significant turning point for the Trust.”

Chair of Trustees of a Multi-Academy Trust

Employer of Choice Strategy

Forum Strategy supports Trusts to develop their employer of choice strategy; drawing on our research and analysis of evolving employee expectations and approaches undertaken by successful organisations across private, public and third sectors, and our analysis of new and innovative practices within the trust sector.

As part of this process we undertake consultation and training with trustees and senior executives on employer of choices issues; review current practices and approaches within the organisation; and make a full set of recommendations – including providing a draft employer vision statement – for the board and executive team to take forward. We present all our findings and strategic recommendations to the board.

To engage us in helping you to develop your employer of choice strategy, please email:

“Delighted with the work you have done for us on being an employer of choice. So impressive and really aligned with our thinking and practices. It has also helped us to focus more clearly on what we need to do next.” 

Phillip Hedger

CEO, LEO Academy Trust

Academy Trust SEND Reviews

Forum Strategy offers the opportunity for Trusts to undertake a review of their offer for children with special educational needs and disabilities, facilitated by Natalie Packer, author of ‘The Perfect SENCO’. The aims of the review are to support the trust to develop an understanding of the key strengths, areas for development and next steps around SEND provision and outcomes; and to provide a developmental opportunity that promotes on-going discussion and reflection over time in a supportive manner. The review makes use of the Whole School SEND (WSS) MAT Review framework and focuses on evaluating 5 key areas:

    • Leadership
    • Identification
    • Tracking and monitoring
    • Intervention
    • Provision

The process is based on a peer-review approach. The nature of the review process can be flexible, according to the needs of the trust, but often includes the following:

  • Discussions with the CEO and other members of the executive team
  • Review of any available paperwork / policies / documentation
  • Discussions with Principals / Headteachers
  • Discussions with SENCOs
  • Analysis of any available SEN identification and/or outcomes data
  • If Analysis of evidence from any individual academy SEND Reviews that have taken place (this can be from the trust’s own reviews or can be carried out as part of the MAT review)
  • Written report highlighting key strengths, areas for development and next steps agreed

To find out more about accessing this offer, please email 

“The experience was extremely beneficial and insightful. It has provided the foundation for the next phase of our Inclusion and Diversity Strategy and the deployment of our newly appointed Directors of Inclusion and Wellbeing. Natalie was excellent to work with too.” 

Jenn Plews

CEO, Northern Star Academies Trust

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy Development Sessions

Forum Strategy delivers this half day session for Trust Boards and executive teams to guide the shaping of a Trust wide strategy to drive equality, diversity and inclusion across the organisation. Drawing on the expertise of our partner organisations, the latest research and intelligence on EDI issues (including but not limited to our national report on diversity amongst CEOs) and sharing good practice from within the education sector and beyond, we provide the opportunity for open and honest dialogue and support Trusts to set some realistic, measurable objectives that align with their overall vision and strategy. We broadly explore the following (but tailor content depending upon where the Trust is currently up to with the work):

  • Legal obligations and considerations (including the Equality Act 2010 and it’s implications at Trust level)
  • Strategic aspects (how the work will enable the delivery of wider objectives for the Trust)
  • Uncover challenges and guide honest, open and respectful discussions
  • Setting of objectives that meet strategic aims and are realistic, measurable and time specific
  • Resources and skills/knowledge analysis (exploring gaps that may need to be addressed)

For more information on how to access an EDI strategy development session for your trust board and executives, please email

“The experience was extremely beneficial and insightful. It has provided the foundation for the next phase of our Inclusion and Diversity Strategy and the deployment of our newly appointed Directors of Inclusion and Wellbeing. Natalie was excellent to work with too.”

Jayne Foster

CEO, Ethos Academy Trust

Building collective commitment and cultural cohesion across your trust leadership team: Development Days

One of the most important aspects of being a successful multi-academy trust is the ability to generate a sense of collective commitment and cultural cohesion amongst the organisation’s leaders – both within the central team, but also, crucially, across the trust’s schools and sites.

The power of the collective group is that – through shared commitment and understanding – we can create something greater than ourselves by drawing on our individual strengths and facilitating improvement across the group. A group of leaders that share common goals and a shared sense of belonging is an essential foundation for any trust. It’s also key that leaders across different functions recognise and embrace the diversity of skills and contribution that can be made by all those leading within and across academy trusts. Research and experience tells us that not only is creating cohesion and belonging essential to the effective day to day running of an organisation but also an essential element to recruiting in, and being able to retain, the best people.

In this bespoke offer for Trust leaders, run over six sessions, Jeanie Davies and Georgina Newton – Forum Strategy Associates – can work with you as a CEO and your wider team to provide dedicated sessions to enable you to further build upon the foundations of collective commitment and cultural cohesion across your trust’s leadership teams. Through evaluating your current trust culture, exploring possible cultural models to fit your values and looking at a range of implementation strategies, Jeanie and Georgina can help you to find the space and time to invest in the necessary reflection as a team and help to identify the conditions necessary to keep leaders engaged and satisfied in the longer term; essential for any trust’s growth as a centre of improvement and innovation that makes a difference to all its pupils in every school.

At an initial consultation, Jeanie and Georgina will help you kick off the new year by taking a fresh look at your Trust culture and facilitating you to identify your values-based priorities. Further sessions will enable you to empower leaders to bring these to life so that all Trust employees can flourish in 2022 and beyond.

 For more information please email 

Jeanie Davies

Jeanie Davies is the author of The Trust Revolution in Schools published with Routledge in 2020 and co-founder of the social enterprise Schoolgenie. She has worked in education for nearly two decades in the guise of teacher, senior school leader, coach and most recently as Head of Learning and Organisational Development for Oasis Academies. Jeanie has run her own consultancy for the last seven years specialising in coaching, culture change, leadership and performance development, and promotes a trust-based approach to school leadership through bespoke school support. Jeanie underpins her in-school work with extensive research, culminating in her book, and has a Masters in Coaching from the University of Warwick.

Georgina Newton

Georgina Newton is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick and has had a long career as a teacher, working internationally and in large comprehensive secondary schools in the North West and Midlands. She has researched why teachers leave the profession and what could be done to keep them and has presented her research findings widely. As a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Teaching Profession, Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and a member of the Ethical Forum she works nationally to advocate for teachers. In her work in Initial Teacher Education she works with hundreds of new teachers every year, to ensure that teachers’ work is ethical, research-informed, sustainable and rewarding.

Generating collective commitment across a trust (governance, strategy and operations)

Alongside the importance of generating a strong sense of shared culture, values and behaviours to support collective commitment, it is also important to ensure these efforts are reinforced by the practices and processes within a trust – covering governance, strategy and operations. When culture and systems are aligned and compliment one another, powerful and longstanding change can be achieved.

We recommend the expertise provided on cultural and behavioural change to support collective commitment across trusts is combined with this second strand of our consultancy on how strategy and operations can embed collective commitment.

This strand covers key areas such as:

  • Performance management
  • The development of high quality professional networks and learning communities within trusts
  • Staff induction
  • Governance processes and practice
  • Trust School Improvement model processes and practices; and
  • Internal communications

This work is led by two highly experienced trust leaders, based on their significant expertise and impact in growing and sustaining a mature trust. As well as informing trust-wide planning and development work, this consultancy can also include the development of key resources and documentation to reinforce these plans and ensure they are achieved in practice.

To find out more, please contact us at

Summary evaluations of academy trusts – update and reflective discussion sessions for boards & exec teams

Based on our recent work analysing the key developments around Ofsted’s academy trust summary evaluation model, together with recent emerging evaluation reports, our associate Frank Norris MBE is running update and discussion sessions for trust boards and executive leaders to both inform and help them reflect on the implications. Frank is the former CEO of the Co-op Academies Trust, a former HMI, and a leading commentator on trust and school sector issues.

These sessions include:

  • An overview of the oversight of trusts
  • The role and scope of Ofsted’s academy trust summary evaluations
  • Key insights and learning from reports published so far, and the implications for trusts and trust leaders
  • A carefully facilitated opportunity to reflect on the implications for your trust and its ongoing development and improvement 

The sessions can be delivered face to face, or online, and run for up to two hours in duration. There is also some pre-reading including key articles on this topic from over the last few years. These sessions are designed to inform and involve both board members and trust senior leadership teams.

To commission a session with Frank either this term or next term, please contact us at and we can provide a quote and potential dates; Please note that these sessions are not related to or endorsed by the work of Ofsted and are entirely independent from them. These sessions also do not constitute an inspection or evaluation of any kind, and are based on analysis of documents in the public domain. 

In addition to the above, if your Trust has a particular strategy consultancy need that is not covered here, please do contact us and we may be able to help or link you to relevant organisations.

* Please note this provision is subject to availability and is not included in the price of membership, but subject to separate pricing. This specific consultancy offer is not available to non-members.