The Board of Directors and staff of Aquila believe that:

· the quality of education in our academies depends on the quality of our teachers
· strong leadership is needed at all levels to drive and sustain improvements
· we need to build openness, trust and respect across our academies
· we can offer development opportunities to good and outstanding schools to develop their strengths beyond the confines of a single organisation
· we should welcome into the Trust community schools who share our vision of high quality, inclusive education which will change the lives of children and young people across all communities
· we have the drive and capacity to sponsor church schools which are directed to academy status by the DfE
· we will operate a simple, efficient low-cost organisation
· we operate an effective and strong governance framework

As a new trust we face significant challenges in the first two years of operation to establish ourselves into a longer term sustainable position. We are likely to face significant requests to convert into the Trust, but we need to be clear that our priority must be to schools already in Aquila and any expansion must be of benefit to those already in the Trust. We cannot solve fundamental issues of financially unsustainable schools and need to remain mindful of this, especially as the pressure on school budgets increases. We have to focus on building a brand recognised for excellence and the highest level of core Christian values.

We need to ensure that all local schools understand the solution we offer so we become the sponsor of choice for all Church schools in the Diocese and are considered a strong sponsor by community schools wishing to convert. We are developing clear messages for schools at risk of being forced to convert as to the benefits of joining the Trust, but are also clear on the problems we cannot solve. We are developing a strategy and capacity that builds on the model of targeted intervention, leading to self-supporting groups of schools and developing a clear and attractive offer to schools graded good and outstanding.

There are five strands to our business development plan.

A. Corporate Governance and Trust growth:

To ensure that the Board of Directors of Aquila acts on behalf of its moral and legal obligations in the best interests of the Trust. It will govern lawfully in accordance with its Articles of Association and have governance arrangements that demonstrate legitimate and visionary leadership, clarity of governing and managerial relationships, effective oversight, adequate support structures for sustainability and achieve the greatest possible economies. To grow the Trust in a way which is economically viable and focused on the needs of our academies.

B. School Improvement - Teaching and Learning:

To ensure that our academies provide the very best teaching in order to promote and provide high quality learning for our children and young people and that there is support in place for teachers to achieve this and make a difference for all our pupils.

C. Continued Professional Development and Well-being:

To implement a CPD programme for our academies to ensure that our staff at all levels have the right skills to further raise standards, deliver good teaching and learning and disseminate good practice to ensure rapid improvement. To evaluate each school’s approach to staff and pupil well-being and provide well-being services for academy leaders, staff and pupils.

D. Quality Assurance:

To ensure that there is a rigorous and robust programme of Quality Assurance that helps to support teachers, build expertise and capacity and raise standards in our academies to deliver positive outcomes for pupils. We will provide access to quality assured value for money services to meet all our academies’ needs and to offer these to schools more widely if appropriate.

E. Integrated Support & Shared Services:

To ensure that the Trust has efficient, effective business arrangements that enable it to deliver on its commitments to grow and prosper and deliver value for money across all of our operations. This includes delivering best practice, minimisation of risk and for management of resources to be concentrated to the front line of our academies. We aim to achieve a sustainable financial and school improvement model that allows room for further expansion, but not at the risk of those schools we are committed to supporting.

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