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There’s something happening here, what it is, ain’t exactly clear - October 2022

I was asked recently by a headteacher what makes us different from other trusts and it is hard to clearly define all that we do without re-iterating our vison and values. I also try not to compare too much, but rather explain how we approach our work at Enlighten. Here is an attempt to explain a few dimensions of how we operate;

We see education holistically

In our schools we are ambitious for every child and see their learning as something that happens from the moment they arrive to when they leave each day, and over their career. We take a keen interest in their academic progress and make sure that we have a carefully considered curriculum, creatively delivered using evidence from the best research. However, we also recognise the immense importance of all the other learning that takes place in a child’s school life that prepares them to succeed when they are outside our influence at home, or after they have left and moved on. Added to that we want our schools to be places of joy – celebrating relationship, enjoying other people’s company and relishing the opportunities that life provides.

We follow Jesus’ teaching

Our Trust has a Christian foundation – currently all our schools are affiliated to the Church of England. Some schools that are faith based are very religious in character, but we try to get back to the root of the gospel message and apply the example and teaching of Jesus. This means we proactively reach out to all in our communities, particularly the marginalised, and avoid putting barriers in their way. We set ambition at the heart of our culture and hope every child will aim to live life in all its fullness. We model loving relationships and see them as a fundamental part of education as redemption. Within all of this we avoid proselytising or putting pressure on pupils to think a certain way, but rather get to the heart of what living as a Christian means.

We align - candour

We recognise the tensions that exist within a trust between having independence and agency in schools yet also the need for consistency of some elements. We know that schools serve unique communities and bring a rich history, so we encourage each one to do so creatively and effectively. However, there are some aspects where all the schools following the same process brings obvious benefit; often these are operational dimensions yet can also be subject delivery where it can reduce planning and enable greater collaboration. Where tensions exist we address them with openness and candour to find the best solution.

We share a culture

The main, underlying aspect that defines us is the culture we share. How we do things, what we see as important, the way we approach challenge and setbacks, our shared leadership vision. We take our work seriously yet always seek to enjoy what we do, laugh and appreciate each other’s company relishing the opportunity that working with children brings. Our Trust has our children’s needs at the heart of every decision, and we make sure that our earnest endeavours don’t become too dull or formulaic.

Mike Boddington

October 2022