The future is ours! Together we can provide a better future.

What Community First Academy Trust believe – the importance of trust

The recently published school’s White Paper reaffirms the Government’s focus that every school in the country should become part of a family of schools in a strong multi academy trust.

Each school in our school trust still maintains its own local Governing Body. The governors on these local boards are there to represent the interests of their school. In addition, Headteachers continue to lead their own schools whilst benefitting from being part of a group of schools.

  • Academies and Multi-Academy Trusts are education charities that operate to give children a better future.
  • Already over half of all pupils in state schools attend academies.
  • Trusts help local communities thrive by giving children the best opportunities to learn inside and outside the classroom.

A Trust is a group of schools working in collaboration as one entity to improve and maintain high educational standards across the group. Together we are stronger

Our Wigan based primary Trust has a single legal and moral purpose: to advance education for the local communities we serve and for public benefit.

What are School Trusts? and what are the advantages generated by the collaborative framework of a School Trust?

Benefits of collaborating with Community First Academy Trust, Wigan

Our mission is to ensure that every child in our charitable trust develops as a confident and competent person with the highest aspirations to be the best they possibly can be.

We are also passionate that each school within our Trust continues to be unique whilst benefiting from being part of a group of Wigan schools.

Schools and colleagues exploring the benefits of formally collaborating with our Trust will benefit in the following ways.

For PUPILS AND parents:

  • As a family of Wigan schools, we can improve pupils’ education by sharing ideas and expertise with each other whilst continuing to collaborate with Wigan Local Authority.
  • A local group of Wigan schools can offer quality assurance in the delivery of the curriculum.
  • The Trust helps support schools within the group to ensures that any pupil’s (and/or employee’s) pastoral care needs are met.
  • As a family of schools, we can collaborate and attend some events together, for example theatre and sports enrichment events to benefit from economies of scale.
  • We can also benefit from the provision of additional key staff capacity serving across the group in relation to Teaching & Learning, Maths, English and Quality Assurance so that we do not need to rely on supply agencies.
  • Like any other state school, trust schools are free to attend, they are inspected in the same way, and pupils take the same tests and exams.
  • Trust schools help their local communities thrive by giving children the best opportunities to learn inside and outside the classroom and by responding to local issues more quickly for example offering wrap around care etc.

For teachers:

  • As a family of Wigan schools, we can work more closely together and share local expertise, which creates great opportunities for local children and local teachers.
  • We can offer structured career pathways for teachers, supported by high-quality professional development so teachers and leaders learn together. This also helps the development of strong teacher-led capacity for sustainable growth and improvement.   
  • The Trust also provides a peer-to-peer support network leading to improved teaching and learning techniques being embedded across the group – this applies at all levels in the organisation and not only in respect of teaching staff.
  • Workload Reduction Toolkits can be developed to complement existing DfE materials to support reductions in teacher/support staff workload.
  • We can offer employees access to extend their professional and leadership skills in a range of academic situations without moving employer (see Trust Talent Development Programme)
  • Evidence based professional development is also provided consistently, continuously and cost effectively using internal staff where appropriate in line with the EEF’s recommendations for designing and selecting effective professional development.

The support available to schools in our trust also includes an established and experienced central team that delivers Finance, HR, IT, Estates Management, Admissions, Governance and Legal services.

For Governors:

  • This proposed change ensures retention of local involvement in Wigan schools, but with an ability to draw on wider expertise and other Governing Bodies as required.
  • The Trust offers support in preparing the schools for Ofsted inspections by virtue of the oversight by the Trustees etc.
  • Underpinning assistance in the role of Governors to challenge and support Leaders at all levels
  • Training and mentoring for existing and new Governors
  • Comprehensive safeguarding support provided
  • Joint risk assessments undertaken
  • NLG support available
  • Centralised union negotiating work and an assurance that teachers will continue to receive full teacher pay and conditions.

Back-office support: 

Centralised delivery/support of key functions, reducing costs and maximising professional input and classroom support in

  • Administration
  • Procurement
  • Finance
  • HR
  • Cleaning – provided via a Trust operating trading company to generate funds for schools across the group.
  • Catering – provided via a Trust operating trading company to generate funds for school across the group.
  • Grounds and premises maintenance
  • IT management and support
  • Breakfast and After School Club services - provided via a Trust operating trading company to generate funds for schools across the group.
  • Nursery – opportunity to create school-led nursery services in line with any school/community need.

If you are a maintained school thinking about forming or joining a school trust, you should ask: “How can my school best collaborate with others in a strong, supportive and resilient structure to ensure that each child is a powerful learner and that adults have the opportunities to learn and develop as teachers and leaders?” The wrong question to be asking is: ‘’should my school become an academy’’.

 We very much hope that you and your school will be inspired to join our schools trust on the next stage of our journey, working together to provide the very best in educational services.

Together we will create a future with limitless horizons.

If you would like to explore our school partnership further or discuss the advantages of becoming a partner on either a formal or informal basis, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,                                                


Sue Darbyshire                                                 

Community First Academy Trust                     

Tel: 01942 487 973                                              


Join CFAT and you will have:

The freedom to help & shape our schools: We believe every academy needs its own individual identity. So unlike other School Trusts, our Headteachers genuinely have the freedom to shape their school. We believe that this is the only way to truly meet the needs of a community, as being there every day means that they will know it better than anyone else.

A support network second-to-none: We passionately believe in the power of collaborative working and actively promote school-to-school support. This includes accessing support from our strong institute of learning (Kingsbridge) who offer a range of high quality professional development opportunities for staff at all levels. In this role, you will also have the support of other Headteachers, not to mention the strength of the wider CFAT group that includes a experienced Central Team that works alongside each of our partner schools to deliver Finance, HR, IT, Estates, Admissions, Governance and Legal services.

Boundless opportunities for career progression: When you deliver and achieve, you will be rewarded for your success – and that could be from leading multiple schools, to additional responsibilities that will impact across CFAT, through to Leadership roles. If you are ambitious, we will help you to succeed with pace.

A great social culture: We know how to enjoy ourselves and have a great team ethos. Conferences, parties, fun days and team building activities give you the chance to let your hair down with colleagues and know that your hard work is appreciated.

Community First Academy Trust was established in 2013 and is now a diverse school trust encompassing a Nursery, a Primary School, a Primary / Secondary phase SCITT, a reputable Teaching School with Research School links, a registered provider of Apprenticeships and is a DfE sponsor. Our school trust also operates a successful in-house facilities management company for its schools ‘CFAT Facilities Ltd’. 

Join CFAT and benefit from our ‘Trust Dividend’ –  Our ‘trust dividend’ is a added-value that individual schools receive by being part of the trust. Sir David Carter says: “The Trust Dividend is the aggregate impact of the formal collaboration that the trust leads across the schools who make up the whole – the sum of the parts in effect.”    

There is now stronger evidence that groups of schools and organisations working together under a single governance structure are educationally and financially stronger. We wish to establish a school trust that works in collaboration as one entity to achieve high educational standards across the group.

As the new shape of our education system emerges, we are seeking to build our partnership of schools to improve our offer so that we create a school trust where all pupils, communities and workforces benefit.