Why academy trusts should employ community organisers

Forum Strategy Thinkpiece; January 2020

Why Academy Trusts should employ Community Organisers

Neil Jameson CBE

‘We should not, must not, dare not be complacent about the health and future of British democracy. Unless we become a nation of engaged citizens our democracy is not secure!’; Lord Irvine of Laird, Lord Chancellor, 1998 (quoted in The Crick Report or ‘The Advisory Group on the Teaching of Citizenship and Democracy in Schools’).

In his recent blog,  ‘Academy Trusts at the Heart of their Communities’, Michael Pain of Forum Strategy set out the new narrative for academy trusts. In it he says: ‘There is an enormous opportunity for the Academy Trust sector to finally find its place in the  world in the coming decade, to find its reason for being, and to lead the way, with trusts defining themselves as community- focussed organisations’. He ends with: ‘Academy Trusts have a choice to make. They can become the caricature that seems to have stuck a little- distant, removed, obsessively focussed on growth, bigger numbers and what the ‘powers that be’ define as successful – often seen to be working in spite of our communities. Or do something more profound, with a spirit of partnership, looking outwards to the passion, knowledge, capacity and aspirations of those around us – within and beyond Trusts – to find the best way forward and to achieve sustainable success together.’

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