HEART Academies Trust appoint new chair to help deliver promises to parents

David Hoare HEART Academies Trust chair of trustees
David Hoare, HEART Academies Trust's new chair of trustees.

Heart Academies Trust has appointed a new independent chair of trustees who they say will “give (them) an enormous advantage in helping (them) become a fantastic school group.”

David Hoare, a former chair of Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills is currently chair of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Acting chair, Sue Clark, says David was elected unanimously and has a clear vision for taking the schools within the trust forward: “To be able to bring that sort of expertise to the HEART Academies Trust will give us an enormous advantage in helping us become a fantastic school group.

“His expectation of the highest standards in our schools, will enhance the performance of each and every one of us.

“David already has a clear sense of key priorities for the HEART Academies Trust – and he is the right person to take us forward in the next stage of our development.”

“Promises were made to parents that a new team would be appointed and this is part of that commitment.”

Sue Clark took over as acting chair when former chair, Hanif Patel resigned following controversial plans to restructure staff at Shortstown, Cauldwell and Shackleton Primary Schools.

Read: Hanif Patel resigns as Chair of the Board of Trustees at Heart Multi Academies Trust

The plans would have seen the schools come under one executive head, with current head teachers either taking a lesser role or accepting redundancy. Parent Governor bodies were also due to be disbanded.

After strong opposition from parents the restructure was halted following independent mediation between the two groups and the further resignation of the Trust’s CEO, Claire Smith.

Read: CEO behind Bedford school shake-up resigns

Hanif Patel and Claire Smith Heart MAT
(l-r) HEART Academies Trust chairman Hanif Patel andHEART Academies Trust CEO Claire Smith both resigned over the restructures.

Parents have since been told that consultations around any changes to the schools’ staff structures will continue.

Accepting his new role as chair of trustees at HEART Academies Trust, David added: “I would like to thank Sue for stepping up to the role of Acting Chair and helping to find a way forward during what was a very challenging period.

“After such a wide-ranging debate about what parents and all stakeholders want from the local schools we are now in the fortunate position of having strong channels of communication with the community.”

Meanwhile, head teachers at schools within the trust have also added

Head Teachers within the Trust have also welcome his appointment. Denise Cottam, Head Teacher at Shortstown Primary said: “We are very pleased David has joined us and we look forward to working with him in future.”

A spokesperson for the HEART Board also added: “(We) are very grateful to Emma Orr, Interim CEO, who stepped up when the previous CEO left… the process for recruiting a new CEO is well underway.”