Astrea Academy Trust

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Astrea Academy Trust is a school chain that runs 18 schools predominantly in the North of England, but it says it 'will ultimately be based all across England'.

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.

Operations

Staff cuts

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'.[1]

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'.[2]

People

Leadership

As of July 2017:

Trustees

As of July 2017:

Former Trustees

  • 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.[6]
  • 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.'[7] 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.'[8] 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.

Regional Board

Related companies

Contact

Website: https://astreaacademytrust.org

References

  1. Sheffield primary school to become first in country to get rid of all its teaching assistants, unions claim, The Star, 4 July 2017
  2. Assembly press release, 26 January 2017
  3. Adam Goldstein profile, Macintyre Academies Trust website, accessed Oct 2016
  4. Trustees, REAch4 website, accessed Sept 2016
  5. Matthew Robb profile, Linkedin, accessed Sept 2016
  6. Biography, John West-Burnham website, accessed Sept 2016
  7. Job Description for Ashoka UK Changemaker Education Volunteer, Ashoka website, May 2016
  8. Trustees, REAch4 website, accessed Sept 2016