RKLT Update

The Red Kite Learning Trust, who have their base in Harrogate but serve 13 schools in both Harrogate and Leeds, have just gone through a period of growth that makes them one of the biggest Trusts in the region. Their aim, says CEO Richard Sheriff, is not to be big but to be brilliant. He defines this as delivering excellence for all the 8000 children the Trust serves, and the Red Kite’s definition of excellence is not just about test results. “The Trustees want to make sure we deliver a broad and balanced educational experience to our children, whatever their context or their starting point. That experience will have Mathematics and English at the core but will also give opportunities to develop the ‘cultural capital’ that aids social mobility by offering access to a wider curriculum. That includes studying the arts, languages and humanities plus the trips, visits and events that provide memorable learning experiences and bring joy to our children.” There is also a clear focus on children’s wellbeing in the Trust as well as on the wellbeing of staff, as Richard Sheriff commented, “We don’t think that being ambitious for every child and delivering the best educational possible should be at the expense of our children’s or staff’s wellbeing, this would work against our values as a Trust.”

With Multi Academy Trusts in the news for the wrong reasons it is interesting to hear this CEO talk passionately about the culture and values of the Red Kite Learning Trust. “Our Trust is about a strong partnership with school leaders and governors, working together to make a better life for the children we serve. To do that we won’t resort to ‘quick fixes’ like ‘off-rolling’ children we think don’t fit or ‘gaming’ the examination system to push up our stats and move up the league tables. We want to demonstrate that we work ethically in all that we do and be role models for the children we serve.”

There are now 13 schools in the Trust ranging from a primary in one of the least privileged areas of Leeds to the leafier lanes of Harrogate. Each school retains its individual identity within the Trust but benefits from a range of services and support that are available to all the schools that have joined. Finance, HR, facilities management and school improvement are all part of that offer but so too is the support and expertise that is freely shared between the schools. As the CEO commented, “Being part of the Red Kite Learning Trust is about retaining what makes each school special but at the same time using the strong partnership to accelerate further improvement and ensure that no child, or school, is left behind.”

Richard and the Chair of the Trust, Jim McHugh, are both keen to emphasise the key roles that they feel strong governance must play in the work of the Trust, “The Governors and Trustees keep us true to our shared values and mission, it can never be about one person. Our Trust is built to last and it will be our governance that will make sure that happens.” The Trust is keen to recruit new governors to serve on the boards of its schools and is particularly interested in increasing diversity. Jim McHugh commented, “Our schools are diverse in terms of the communities and people they serve and we want our governing bodies to reflect this. It would be great to see people in their 20’s stepping forward to assist and to have more talent from groups that are currently under-represented. We want a broad range of skills and experiences on each of our local governing bodies and being an expert on education or even a parent is not a requirement.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the Red Kite learning Trust or becoming a governor, you can find all the details on their website at www.rklt.co.uk

For further information please contact Nicole Danford – 01423 531127 or Catie Bradbury – 01423 574410