Astrea Academy Trust
Established in 2015, it was launched in January 2016 as part of the government's 'Northern Powerhouse' initiative that seeks to boost the economies of the Midlands and North of England.
It was established by the school chain Reach Academies and was originally called Reach4 as part of the Reach 'family' of schools. It was rebranded and spun off in March 2017.
In July 2017 it was reported that Hatfield Academy, one of Astrea Academy Trust's primary schools was the first school in the country to get rid of all its teaching assistants. The school is restructuring its staff and Unison claims that part of the plan is to getg rid of its nine teaching assistants and employ six unqualified teachers – or 'fellows' – in their place in a bid to save money. The school confirmed that it is restructuring, but said that the unions' claims were 'entirely inaccurate'.
Technology and data
Astrea Academy Trust, or Reach4, part of the Reach Academies school chain, as it was then known, is a partner in Assembly, an education technology venture led by the Ark school chain. Assembly is billed as 'a new cloud-based service to break open the market for start-up education technology companies'. 'The Assembly service will store data from school management information systems (MIS), i.e. pupil data, which companies can then apply to use for the creation of apps with “school improvement at their heart”, it says. Reach4, as Astrea was then known, is a collaborator with Ark on a new tool from Assembly called Assembly Analytics, which allows multi-academy trusts to benchmark their performance based on 'core operational metrics such as attendance, exclusions and financial health' and standardised assessment data. It was developed, it said, because of the need for multi-academy trusts to be able to see a 'single, combined dashboard of all their main performance indicators'.
As of July 2017:
- Libby Nicholas, CEO; formerly Director of Education at Academies Enterprise Trust
- Lee Francis, Head of Projects; former Academy Sponsor Relations Manager at Department for Education
- Adam Goldstein, Executive Director of Operations. Goldstein was previously 8 years with PwC and has 'a wealth of expertise in strategic advice, policy and legislation and business planning support to not-for-profit organisations within the education and health sectors.'
- Laurence Mosley, director of finance.
- Dean Anderson, director education (secondary)
- Benedick Ashmore-Short, director education (primary)
As of July 2017:
- James Muir, chair of trustees; Head of Group National Sales Companies at Volkswagen, based in Germany.
- Matthew Robb, Managing Director at Parthenon, a business consultancy firm, which became part of Ernst & Young in 2014, specialising in the education sector, particularly the privatisation of it. Robb has worked on 'school improvement, academy development, the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme and on children’s services technology and management information' and is described as 'a major player in market leading work across the education industry'. Formerly of Tribal education.
- Jonathan Simons, lobbyist at the Varkey Foundation, Member of Advisory Council of UPP Foundation and Member of Advisory Council of Parents and Teachers for Excellence; ex-head of the Education Unit at Policy Exchange; formerly of Serco where he was Director of Strategy and Market Development in both the company’s specialist education and health practices. Prior to that, he was Head of Open Public Services in the Cabinet Office, where he co-authored the Open Public Services White Paper, and Senior Policy Adviser and then Head of Education in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit under both Gordon Brown and David Cameron.
- Prof Sam Twiselton, Director of the Sheffield Institute for Education (SIoE) at Sheffield Hallam University, described as 'a national centre of education research and practice, recognised for its excellence and innovation in teaching and learning.'
- Professor Simon Gregory, Regional Director and Dean of Education and Quality at Health Education England
- Valerie Dunsford, head of private school; member of the Department for Education’s Independent/State School Partnership Committee
- Glen Fendley, described as a 'senior professional fundraiser for 20 years', he currently oversees the fundraising strategy for the Girls’ Day School Trust, a network of private girls’ schools. He is also Trustee of education charity Generating Genius, and Chairman of the Institute of Development Professionals in Education, the schools’ fundraising membership organisation.
- Steve Lancashire, founder and Chief Executive of REAch2, part of the Reach Academies chain; former adviser for the Department for Education; knighted in 2016.
- Prof John West-Burnham, described as a 'teacher, writer and consultant in leadership development', West-Burnham is a consultant to many projects including Microsoft's Innovative Schools Project.
- Ross Hall, Director of Education Strategy at Ashoka, a 'social entrepreneur', which it refers to as 'changemakers' network. Ashoka says it is 'bringing together the UK’s most innovative and impact-focused schools and partners... to re-imagine learning for the 21st century.' Ross previously worked for Pearson, which REAch4 says 'involved ministries, employers and educators to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of education systems, institutions and programmes around the world.' It says he 'continues to advise organisations and entrepreneurs on innovation for growth'. Also director at Whole Education.
- Peter Little, investor in and director of a number of software businesses in the financial technology sector. Little, for example, is a director of Twigkit, a 'search' software company.
- Khadine Taylor, an 'independent HR Business Partner'
- Ranjit Das, Executive Coach
- Nick Cragg, career in the steel industry
- Chris Melia, Partner Director at AMION, a financial and economics consultancy.
- Sheffield primary school to become first in country to get rid of all its teaching assistants, unions claim, The Star, 4 July 2017
- Assembly press release, 26 January 2017
- Adam Goldstein profile, Macintyre Academies Trust website, accessed Oct 2016
- Trustees, REAch4 website, accessed Sept 2016
- Matthew Robb profile, Linkedin, accessed Sept 2016
- Biography, John West-Burnham website, accessed Sept 2016
- Job Description for Ashoka UK Changemaker Education Volunteer, Ashoka website, May 2016
- Trustees, REAch4 website, accessed Sept 2016