‘I want us to figure on the map of international education’

Being educated at Eton and one of Boris Johnson’s drinking buddies at Oxford, Julian Drinkall might be seen as a curious choice to lead a string of state schools. But the chief executive of Academies Enterprise Trust has overseen a major turnaround at the troubled MAT, and, he tells Martin George, he has now set his sights on global recognition

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A year into his leadership of England’s biggest academy chain, the scale of Julian Drinkall’s ambition is remarkable.

“I really want AET to figure on the map when it comes to people talking about international education, not just the UK,” he says.

If he succeeds, it would represent a significant turnaround. Academies Enterprise Trust has for years been the poster boy for failure in Michael Gove’s ad hoc restructuring of the school system.

It was the trust that grew too fast. It ended up under fire from Ofsted for standards and from the Department for Education for its finances. The chain has ...

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