July 14, 2020
News, events and information from The Northern Education Trust
Les Walton CBE bids a fond farewell to his role as Chair of Northern Education Trust, but will continue to contribute to reshaping the education landscape at national level.
Les began his lengthy and successful career in the education sector as a teacher of history at Blaydon East Secondary Modern School. He was a highly successful Headteacher at Norham Community Technology College before becoming the Education Director of North Tyneside Council. Les was the Founder and Managing Director of Northern Education Associates, Founder Chair of the Young People’s Learning Agency; the Education Funding Agency advisory group; Northern Education Trust and the Association of Education Advisers. He also conceived of and set up Schools North East.
It is now eight years since Les was asked by the DFE to set up a multi academy trust in the north of England. Formed in 2012, Northern Education Trust began with Kearsley Academy in Bolton. It has grown to 21 academies (11 primary and 10 secondary) with a turnover of almost £100million. Les now believes the time is right to resign from his position as Chair, secure in the knowledge that he leaves the Trust in the safe hands of his successor, Mark Sanders OBE. Mark has a vast range of experience as a previous Chief Executive of a Council and Vice Chair of the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
Speaking of his work with the Trust, Les said:
‘Our prime objective is to serve the needs of our children, their parents and their communities. My personal focus has been to ensure that our children get a good deal. As Chair of the Trust I ask, ‘Are the majority of children in our schools better off than before we were involved?’ The simple answer is yes. If we compare the Ofsted judgements on our schools when we first took them over and the judgements today, eight were in special measures and three had serious weaknesses. Only three schools were good or outstanding. Today, none of our schools are inadequate. Sixteen are now good or outstanding. Results and destinations for students are better. This is a truly remarkable achievement and one I have no doubt will continue.
‘These are exciting times for the Trust as we continue our journey to offer an outstanding education provision to each and every one of the children we are responsible for. I am honoured to have been part of this journey, helping children and staff flourish as the Trust has been transformed and earned a positive reputation in both the local communities we serve and nationally. I will keep in close contact with an organisation that I formed, and will always hold close to my heart. I know it will go from strength to strength in the future.
‘I will continue to contribute to reshaping the education landscape at national level, including leading on the roll out of the Association of Education Advisers which will create a rigorous national standard for people wanting to work in the school environment’.