David Ross Education Trust

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David Ross Education Trust (DRET) is a multi-academy trust in England.

It operates 33 state-funded, but independently-run academy schools across the East Midlands, East of England and Yorkshire & Humberside, over 20 of which are primary schools. The schools are grouped into regional hubs, or clusters.

In 2016 it was described as one of 11 ‘system leader’ academy chains in England.[1]

The Trust is sponsored by the David Ross Foundation, the philanthropic fund set up by Carphone Warehouse founder and Conservative Party donor, David Ross.

Virtual learning at DRET

The Trust launched a new ICT package across its 33 schools in October 2016, which it says could be used to deliver virtual lessons in the future. The packagae includes professional development for teachers to help them to make the most of new technology in the classroom, as well as online resources for students with a virtual library and lesson planner. DRET's head of ICT, Guy Shearer, told Schools Week that over time the “end game” could be “full-on virtual teaching” but that would have to be developed “over several years".[2]

Google and DRET

DRET has adopted Google Apps for Education in its schools. By 2015 it had 3,000 Apps accounts and 500 Chromebooks at 13 schools, with plans to double this by the end of the year.[3]

In March 2014 DRET schools received a 'special visit' from Adam Stewart, Regional Manager for Google Education.[4]

Guy Shearer, Head of IT at DRET, says that the Trust is 'really embracing the digital age... the internet is becoming a big influence on our academy’s approach to learning'.[5]

Sheerer presented during Google's 2015 'Education on Air' online conference (8-9 May 2015), on 'Creating impact by rolling out Chromebooks across a network of schools' during a section called 'Shaping the classroom today'.[6]

Dixons Carphone and online learning

Dixons Carphone, part of which was co-founded by David Ross, is lead sponsor of a campaign to get more technology in schools. Techknowledge for Schools, formerly Tablets for Schools, is an educational charity that promotes the use of mobile technology in teaching and learning. As well as the electical retailer, other sponsors include Google, Samsung, HP, TalkTalk and others.[7] The campaign's original aim was for all eleven-year-olds to have access to individual tablet computers in schools, a goal supported by then Education Secretary Michael Gove[8]


As well as state funding, academy schools can accept charitable donations, which normally goes towards funding initiatives and activities for pupils.

David Ross Education Trust recieved a donation of £4.2 million between 2014-16 from its sponsor, the David Ross Foundation.[9]


As of 2016[10]


As of 2016[11]

Former Trustees

Selected governors

As of 2016:

  • Stephen Dorrell, chair of governors of Charnwood College, a DRET school. Dorrell is former MP for Charnwood. He also Chairman of Uniform Brands, whose beneficial owner is David Ross. Dorrell is also an advisor to KPMG.
  • Ben Brown, governor of Eastfield Academy, a DRET school.[14] Brown was until June 2016 CEO of Edde, a company that supports digital learning in schools through systems that let parents and schools fund devises, insurance and tracking for devices.[15]

Linked companies



David Ross Education Trust, 2 Hill Court, Turnpike Close, Swingbridge Road, Grantham, NG31 7XY.


  1. [http://schoolsweek.co.uk/11-academy-trusts-now-have-more-than-30-schools-and-are-labelled-system-leaders/ 11 academy trusts now have more than 30 schools and are labelled ‘system leaders’], Schools Week, 30 November 2016
  2. Virtual Lessons Difficult to Make Work, Schools Week, October 2016
  3. Case Study, Google for Education website, 14 Sept 2015
  4. Pupils grasp how Google can support their learning, DRET website, 7 March 2014
  5. Pupils grasp how Google can support their learning, DRET website, 7 March 2014
  6. Speakers and sessions for Education on Air, Google for Work Official Blog, 14 April 2015
  7. Partners, Techknowledge for Schools website, accessed Sept 2016
  8. Cave and Rowell, A Quiet Word: lobbying, corny capitalism and broken politics in Britain, Vintage, 2015; page 261
  9. Philanthro-philes – meet the donors propping up our education system, Schools Week, 17 June 2016
  10. Team, DRET website, accessed Sept 2016
  11. Trustees, DRET website, accessed September 2016
  12. Lord Blunkett, register of Lords interests, accessed Sept 2016
  13. Mike Lovett profile, Linkedin, accessed Sept 2016
  14. Register of Governor Interests, Eastfield Academy, accessed Sept 2016
  15. About Us, Edde website, accessed Sept 2016