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‘It’s quite difficult to argue for school autonomy’

Rowena Hackwood is one of a growing number of multi-academy trust leaders with no experience of teaching. Here, the chief executive of David Ross Education Trust tells Martin George why it’s a plus to have the ‘different perspective’ of a business background and explains how removing power from individual academies can help to raise standards

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“I felt quite strongly that I was definitely not going to go into teaching, so it’s quite hilarious that’s where I’ve ended up, actually, in an education environment.”

So says Rowena Hackwood, the daughter of two teachers, recalling her career plans as a student. This month, she is marking a year at the helm of David Ross Education Trust.

With 34 schools – 22 primaries, 11 secondaries and one special school – in the East Midlands, London, the North East, and Yorkshire and the Humber, it is one of the largest academy trusts in the country.

It is also one of the oldest, having been set up in ...

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