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Managing government schools

CfBT manages a portfolio of government-funded schools in England on behalf of the UK government. We also work in partnership with governments worldwide on school management and school improvement.

Free schools and academies in England

CfBT runs schools in England on behalf of the UK government under CfBT Schools Trust (CST). They are either academies or free schools. Our commitment is to ensure that these schools are either outstanding or on a transformational journey towards excellence. Some of them were already outstanding when they joined CfBT; others had a long history of underperformance and required transformational change.

We use objective metrics to judge the performance of our schools including both independent inspection reports and standardised test scores. Our approach is highly collegiate, with a particular emphasis on partnership with headteachers and school boards. The result is that school leaders feel a real sense of ownership of CfBT Schools Trust as well as a shared responsibility for overall school improvement.

We have a proven track record of success with our schools. Inspection reports and test scores indicate clearly that we can make a real difference. Our direct management of government schools in England started in 2006 with our sponsorship of St Mark's Academy in London. This was a school with a long history of underperformance before our involvement. The school has now been transformed and achieves dramatically improved exam results. In recognition of the school’s journey, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth paid a visit in 2012 as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations. 

CfBT Schools Trust vision

The vision of CfBT Schools Trust is to create a collaborative family of schools inspiring learners to achieve personal and academic excellence. The emphasis through everything that we do is on the collective responsibility of schools within, and affiliated to, the group. Our schools are geographically clustered around two areas in England: the East Midlands and the Thames Valley area from Oxford to London. The schools are actively engaged in collaborative research and are a central component of the trust's governance structure with direct responsibility for supporting each other and driving development.

Outstanding education services

In addition to the management of schools, CfBT also delivers education services direct to hundreds of  government schools in England. To find out more about this consultancy, contact CfBT's Education Services.

Supporting government schools worldwide

We work worldwide with governments interested in the improvement of their schools. In Kenya, for example, we recently concluded a highly successful programme of support for all government secondary schools – funded by the American government – with an emphasis on building the capacity of school leaders. In Abu Dhabi we have been working as the partner of the Abu Dhabi Education Council since 2006 with a focus on the improvement of pedagogy and leadership in government schools. We are interested in a range of forms of partnership: from the provision of consultancy to the direct management of schools on behalf of governments.

Case studies

Boston West Academy

Boston West Academy is a primary school that is embracing its new status as part of a multi-academy trust and has been quick to adopt the trust's underlying principles of autonomy and collaboration.

Enfield Heights Academy

Working in partnership with a local parent group, EN3 Action Group, CfBT Schools Trust was instrumental in opening the doors to Enfield Heights Primary Academy in September 2012.


CfBT, together with a passionate parent group, applied its expertise to open Oakbank Secondary School, a free school in Wokingham. The school combines the best of the independent sector with a state school ethos.

Latest research

Partnership working in small rural primary schools

01 April 2014 | England

CfBT Education Trust has commissioned Robert Hill and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to investigate partnership working in small rural primary schools.

Action research at St Mark's Academy 2013

06 November 2013 | England

The third volume of findings from action research at St Mark's Academy, this research report focuses on research into improving the quality of teaching and learning, based upon a series of teacher-led projects.

Unleashing greatness

01 February 2013 | England

The Academies Commission, sponsored by CfBT, conducted a seven-month 'rapid review' of the academies landscape and this report documents its findings.

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