Growth Plan

Synergy Education Trust has been formed by three Blackpool schools with a desire to bring greater local stability to the school landscape by formalising an already strong and established school-to-school network of support. This network has been paramount in facilitating school improvement within the founder schools to raise standards through our collective strengths and ability to provide timely and effective local support. The three founder schools each bring their own areas of outstanding practice and expertise to this new trust and they are focused on opportunities and positive outcomes children, families and the communities we serve.

The Synergy Education Trust Founders are Highfurlong Special School (All- through. Outstanding), Boundary Primary (Primary – Good/Outstanding) and Stanley Primary (Primary – Good).

There is great capacity and significant local interest for this Trust to grow and further stabilise the school network in this locality. Synergy has been created to offer a viable alternative to already existing Trusts in the local area and encourage maintained settings to join us.

As a cross-phase organisation, Synergy Education Trust is well placed to expand and grow to ensure that the Trust and its schools are in the best possible position to benefit fully from economies of scale and to continue to have a substantial educational impact over a number of institutions.

As a cross-phase group, we already have evidence of improving inclusion and outcomes for the most disadvantaged pupils and this Trust will enable us to continue this work on a greater scale throughout the Synergy schools. Placing an all through Special School with an outstanding national reputation for school-to-school support as one of the founding schools is deliberate to ensure that the Trust are able to support all schools to meet the wide range of needs of their pupils through appropriate training, curriculum development and the availability of effective early help and partnership working.

Synergy Education Trust aims to have an overall total student number of approximately 6000 (likely to be between 8 and 10 institutions, of all phases and sizes) by 2025-2026. This must be a careful and measured growth plan, incorporating schools with significant school improvement capacity, as well as those that are vulnerable at the point of entry into the Trust. Beyond this initial milestone, Synergy has the desire to continue to grow within the local area and provide essential support to all settings as a Trust of choice and a nominated sponsor for schools experiencing significant challenge.

Growth Principles

We have agreed the following growth principles:

  1. To maintain the moral values and vision of Synergy Education Trust
  2. To further enhance our partnerships with good/outstanding schools as part of our School-to-School support and School Improvement offer
  3. To build Trust based central services to enable targeted and effective support with the Trust schools, and ensure both financial and operational stability and growth
  4. To become a DFE Sponsor Trust as this underpins our principles and vision for improving educational outcomes across this local area
  5. To become a Cornerstone Employer and support the Access to Work scheme as a

Growth Strategy

The strategic plan for growth for the first three years of Synergy Education Trust is based on the following four guidelines:

  • There is a recognition that the educational landscape can change suddenly. We will respond positively if the right opportunity for growth presented itself, or to accommodate a request from a relevant body (as a sponsor Trust) – this is a key driving principle of Synergy Education Trust
  • As the Trust increases, we will consider geographical clusters within the structure e.g. Blackpool and Lancashire. However, we will also endeavour to maintain a boundary on the geographical range of growth i.e. within one hour’s drive from the central team
  • We aim to grow by approximately 1-3 institutions per academic year, unless there is a strategic reason to consider more rapid expansion e.g. a strong, established cluster of schools requests entry or an opportunity to provide greater stability to the local area through the merger of an existing local trust, Stand Alone Trusts or other local maintained settings
  • We will maintain an effective balance between school improvement capacity (good/outstanding schools) and schools facing challenge. We recognise that an Ofsted grade can sometimes not give an entirely accurate picture of a school, this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis through a rigorous process of due diligence and collaboration with each setting.

Trust Accountability for Continuous Improvement

  • Synergy Education Trust will have a range of settings, all with individual strengths and areas of improvement. Each setting will be able to operate on individualised accountability plans based on their staffing experience, expertise, financial stability and education outcomes. The level of autonomy and accountability will be decided in partnership with each setting and reviewed at least annually.
  • Accountability and support will be appropriately rigorous through peer reviews, appraisals, monitoring and scrutiny. Synergy Education Trust has established relationships with external expertise who will continue to support the individual schools and the Trust as a whole. This will provide the executive leadership, advice and support for Heads of school and leadership teams and will advise the Trust Central Leadership and Board
  • The Trust will be engaging in alternative strategies to demonstrate accountability and facilitate improvement in each of the settings – accountability will be through partnership and support, joint working and open and honest discussions and planning
  • The trust will revisit its core values and principles annually to consider if they need to be amended
  • By appointing a strong chair of members and trustees, and experienced leader as CEO and CFO, Synergy will have the capability to provide a high standard of leadership, financial management and governance which will bring security to the Synergy schools
  • Synergy Education Trust will co-produce and implement a code of conduct with its settings in line with good practice in the charitable sector which will set out the general standards of behaviour expectations in how trustees deal with each other and employees
  • Synergy Education Trust is committed to improving education outcomes and opportunities within the Trust and on a local and national landscape, in partnership with other MATs, local authorities and wider stakeholders to influence and champion developments in this sector