What our staff say

What our staff say about working in our academies;


Sarah Thornton – Principal, Shibden Head Primary Academy, Bradford

Shibden Head previously had a long association of working with Focus Education and we were very confident that the Focus Trust would be a successful MAT. As one of the first academies in the Trust, we have seen it grow in size and strength; all partner academies are directly involved and consulted on growth and development. High quality professional development and collaborative work are major benefits of being part of the Focus Trust. We are very proud to be part of the Focus Trust family.


Ewan McPherson – Principal, Deeplish Primary Academy, Rochdale

Deeplish was fortunate to be able to join the Trust in December ’14. The decision to join Focus was based on how they would be able to offer high quality primary level CPD and how the ethos of the Trust was very much around working together and sharing the strengths of each academy. Since joining the Trust we have found this to be the case; it is a very supportive organisation which focusses heavily on improving the quality of teaching and learning for all children by sharing excellent practice both through academies supporting each other and through a wide variety of consultants. We are very proud to be part of Focus Trust.





John Taylor – Head of Academy, Coppice Primary Academy, Oldham

Working as part of the Focus-Trust has provided our academy with the high levels of challenge and support needed to be successful and drive improvement. The Trust have worked hard to support us in developing leadership at all levels and have a comprehensive programme for NQTs. There is no script or prescribed way of doing things – we are free to make decisions about the running of our academy and to teach the children in the ways that we know work.

As leaders in the Trust we all want to make a difference; not only to our own families and communities but to each other’s. There are regular, planned opportunities to learn together for example, through forums and peer reviews. Recent input on building great teams and finance have made a significant contribution to my own leadership development. The central team listen and respond well to our views so that we can have an even better impact in our academies.





Andrew Ross – Principal, Rudheath Primary Academy

Since being appointed as Principal at Rudheath Primary Academy in September 2014 I have had more CPD than the whole of my previous 4 years in another Local Authority as Headteacher.  The support available from the Trust ensures that I am able to lead Rudheath Primary Academy as an individual school whilst also having the backup and support of a highly effective and skilled Trust Team.  It is this that has led the rapid improvement in our school from Requires Improvement to Good.  I feel that as a Trust School we are 6 months ahead of the best local authority schools and in some cases 12 months ahead.  I look forward to what the future holds.





Laura Knight – Year 2 teacher and Deputy Principal at Rudheath Primary Academy, Northwich, Cheshire

I joined Rudheath when it was still a primary school. At that time the school was in Special Measures and I was attracted by the opportunity to make an impact on improving teaching and learning by coaching staff and developing high quality practice.
Within 18 months the school was on the fast track to becoming a sponsored academy. Having been well supported by Focus Education consultants in the past the school was excited and determined to become part of the Focus-Trust.
As a Deputy Principal I have seen first-hand the benefit of working for the Trust as well as appreciating everything it does for all staff. The professional development is first class.
The Leaders forums are always jam packed with the latest most relevant and useful information. I have enjoyed the chance to meet other academy senior leaders and often benefitted from borrowing an idea when practice is shared.
The Focus-Trust staff work in close partnership with the academies providing both challenge and support. My understanding and knowledge of strategic development and my own role has been greatly enhanced by working with academy improvement partners. I have gained a wealth of experience and insight into leadership by engaging in joint Trust-academy activities including teaching and learning reviews; data analysis; self evaluation; appraisal and psychometric self assessment.
The opportunities to work with Focus consultants within school and via subject leadership forums are excellent.  The subject forums are another supportive way of sharing learning between academies as well as making use of the consultant’s passion and expertise. Working alongside consultants to support my own staff has enabled me to evolve as a leader of learning bringing about positive change.
My skill set has developed deeply as my career has progressed and this has only been improved by working with Focus-Trust. In the future as I take my next steps on the leadership pathway such rich development can only stand me in good stead.



Emma Offord – Higher Level Teaching Assistant at Birstall Primary Academy, Birstall, Kirklees

 Since joining Focus Trust in 2013 I have had many opportunities to develop both my professional and personal skills, which has enabled me to greatly boost my career.

At Focus Trust there are no limitations for growth and I’ve always been encouraged to stretch myself, improve my knowledge and develop new skills. I began my journey as an Educational Teaching Assistant, the following year I took on the role of Cover Supervisor and most recently the role of HLTA, my future ambition to become a qualified teacher is within reaching distance and I know Focus Trust will be with me every step of the way!

As music co-ordinator within my school, I have received endless support and help to build up my subject within each class. The school choir has progressed dramatically over the last two year both in number and quality and they recently won a place at the National Festival for Youth Music as well as performing at other local events. Research has shown that music plays an important role in the development of children, a philosophy that is strongly backed by Focus Trust. Their commitment to both staff and pupils is steadfast.

Each and every member of staff is respected and his or her contribution is considered important.

I am looking forward to my future and I believe Focus Trust is an excellent organisation with which to build a career.


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Amie Tierney-Kenyon – Teacher in Year 1 at Roundthorn Primary Academy, Oldham 

I began my career with Focus Trust as a student teacher and was fortunate enough to have been taken on by the academy in which I was placed. The support from Focus and the school during my training and the first term of my NQT year has been incredible!

The NQT development days that have been put on for us have offered great opportunities to observe lessons in different academies and have given us the chance to share ideas and worries.

Being part of the Focus Academy trust has made me feel well and truly supported and I know that I have a wealth of knowledge and experience available to offer advice and encouragement.



See more of what Our Staff Say