Welcome to our trust website. I took up the post of CEO in January 2021 and I am proud to be part of a school trust which is focused on providing children with the best possible education through collaborative working. The trust was formed in 2018 with six schools (Asterdale, Beaufort, Borrow Wood, Cherry Tree Hill and Springfield Primary schools, as well as Portway Juniors). A seventh school (Oakwood Juniors) joined us in April 2021.
Our name was carefully chosen as it says a lot about what makes us unique…
Odyssey refers to the ancient Greek story of Odysseus undertaking a long journey to return to his home. Our trust is focused on the long-term success of primary schools in Derby, not short-term distractions. At an early meeting about the trust our founding CEO, David Blackwell and another headteacher counted that there were 2001 children altogether across the schools planning to join and this created another reference point, the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. While there are probably few academy trusts whose names link to science fiction films, there is an important point in the number; nobody thought to round the number to the nearest thousand or estimate the pupils on roll – every single child counted and this serves as a reminder to everyone in the trust that every single child matters.
Collaborative set out how we work together. A collaborative approach was at the heart of the trust from the beginning. The schools that formed our trust were outward looking; keen to learn from others and share good practice. At the same time, nobody wanted the sort of academy trust where ideas are forced on schools, so collaboration also means working together to set the strategic direction of the trust. Our headteachers and local governors retain more responsibility than is the norm in other trusts.
Trust in each other is the reason why we give more autonomy to our schools. There is a significant body of research evidence that demonstrates distributed leadership (where decisions and powers are shared and not focused in the hands of one person) is highly effective. What is more, we recognise that the staff in our schools know the children and the communities better than any one person could, so we make sure we listen to their views and take them into account. We also greatly appreciate the trust that parents put in us when they send their child to one of our schools. We believe we are highly accountable to our parents and communities so we are consequently open and transparent in what we do.
Our logo shows cogs working together and represent the colours of the schools in the trust. Each are equally important; if one stops working, the other does too and this is a reminder that each of our 389 colleagues across our seven schools all have an important part in the success of our trust.
The Odyssey Collaborative Trust logo was designed by Hannah Quick. Hannah is a former pupil at Beaufort Primary, one of the trust’s schools. When she was a pupil at Beaufort the teachers organised a competition to design a logo for the school. Hannah won and her design is still the school’s logo. Today, Hannah works in New York as the Senior Art Director for the global public relations company Hill and Knowlton.
The logo and the story behind its design remind everyone working in the trust that we all have a role in giving the children of the trust great opportunities and that these opportunities can have a lasting impact on the lives of the pupils.
If you would like to find out more about our trust, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Ian Dewes - Chief Executive Officer