‘We see schools as vehicles for regenerating communities’

For the biggest corporate sponsor of academies, expansion is about more than just raising education standards. Here Frank Norris, the unassuming director of Co-op Academies Trust, talks openly to John Roberts about the MAT’s ethos, its bold plans for growth and what motivated him to ‘go over to the dark side’ earlier in his career

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Frank Norris is perhaps not what you might you expect as the boss of an academy trust that has bold plans to become the biggest chain in the North of England.

And he seems delighted when this is suggested. “I know what you are going to say. I am not like the others,” he laughs.

He is softly spoken and unassuming, but also ambitious about what the Co-op Academies Trust – the UK’s largest corporate sponsor of academies – can achieve.

Throughout our conversation, the 62-year-old is keen to downplay his own importance.

The interview doesn’t take place in his office – because he doesn’t have one ...

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