The transformative power of parental and community engagement

Marino Charalambous is the Chief Executive of North Star Community Trust in North London in one of the most deprived areas in England, educating 2,600 pupils, employing over 350 members of staff, and working with the wider community to develop over 100 trained volunteers. In this article he discusses the creation and the impact of the Trust’s nationally recognised Community Outreach Service which supports families across the Trust’s schools. The Outreach Service has been praised nationally by Save the Children and The Children’s Society.

I was at home with my family on a Saturday afternoon when I got the phone call.

It was the type of news that makes your spirits soar as a CEO.

As a leader, you have your good days, of course. You inevitably have bad days as well. And, as we all know, some days can be a lot worse than just bad. Then there are those really special days. Often unexpected but nonetheless wonderful to experience.

Juliet Demetriou, from our Community Outreach team, had received a prestigious Pearson’s Silver Award on behalf of the team that is now at the heart of everything we do as a family of four primary and secondary schools. This was the latest mark of recognition for a small but ambitious team that consistently delivers impressive results and who are driven on a daily basis by a common purpose to help our families.

I could not have been happier to receive the announcement that the hard work of an extraordinary team of people that I have the privilege to lead had been recognized again for their outstanding work. Juliet and her colleagues share my unshakable passion for and belief in the transformative power of parental and community engagement to help families.

In a little over 5 years we had been able to build together, from the ground up, a service with a growing national reputation with praise from the Heads of Save the Children UK and The Children’s Society, and Members of Parliament, and with a clear, measurable impact on the lives of our families, especially in improving children’s outcomes. The question I am often asked is, how did a medium sized MAT achieve all of this?


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