Falcon Education Academies Trust was established as an academy trust in 2019 and is a Department for Education (DfE) approved sponsor multi-academy trust. Falcon was initially set up to pilot a new concept of the “turnaround trust”, and its aim was to take on and turn around schools and academies with a varying range of challenges, in the then two Regional Schools Commissioner areas of Lancashire and West Yorkshire, and the North of England.
A school joins a standard operating academy trust with a view to remaining within it forever. But our remit is different to standard trusts. Our primary objective is to provide support for a period of time, during which schools will be fostered to achieve rapid improvement so that they are strong enough to be able to join another academy trust permanently.
Because of the nature of our expertise and support, the academies we are matched with do have challenges that need to resolved. Some schools may have issues around academic standards; others may have issues relating to finance or poor buildings. Sadly, however, these legacy issues mean that – although these schools may already be improving under their own steam – there is too much risk for a standard operating trust to take them on. Falcon therefore provides a temporary home for these schools, during which they become stronger and establish firm foundations, so that they are well-placed to then join another academy trust which becomes its permanent home and within which it can continue its improvement journey.
In each case, the schools that join us are those that the DfE believes would benefit from being part of our Trust and the bespoke nature of our support.
We achieve improvement for our academies by drawing on the expertise of our trustees and senior leaders, while also working with partner trusts and a network of individual experts. All those working at Falcon, as well as our partners and experts, have proven track records in driving school improvement. We carefully select bespoke teams for each school we work with according to the unique needs of the school, and we work collaboratively with the schools themselves.
Since opening, and based on the evidence of our early positive impact with the schools we are supporting, the pilot has been extended nationally and now covers all areas of England. We continue to work closely with the National Schools Commissioner and his team of Regional Schools Commissioners in being matched to such schools and academies.