Visionary ideals

5th March 2004 at 00:00
When Peter Frost joined the National Primary Trust as chief executive less than five years ago, it was a small, little-known organisation held together by the ideals of the visionary Birmingham head David Winkley.

Peter Frost, 49, has added his own ideals to the mix, along with mighty skills as an administrator and networker to boost the trust's membership from 600 schools to between 4,000 and 5,000, with half the local authorities as members as well.

The trust's best-known project, the Children's University, expanded from one branch in Birmingham to 40 across the country today. Five years ago it ran one advanced learning centre in Birmingham, giving children challenging opportunities in maths; now there are 70 nationwide, in English, art, science, modern languages and ICT. They are often in Excellence in Cities areas, and the project has gained the support of the Department for Education and Skills. Under Peter Frost's direction, the trust has boosted the number and profile of its conferences, and forged links with organisations such as the National College for School Leadership. The trust also produces a range of publications, from its journal for members, Primary Practice, to its two series of booklets, Practical Issues in Primary Education and Burning Issues.

Above all, the NPT aims to be an independent "national voice with a local ear" for primary teachers. It works to bring together schools into a thinking community, open to new ideas and willing to try things out.

It supports a number of research projects, one of the newest being Sixes and Sevens, a health-service based scheme to help boost children's self-esteem.

"If I had to say one thing that I thought was vital, it's that we have continued to position ourselves as an independent voice that will not be wanting to harp on the past, but will look to the future", says Peter Frost.

Mr Frost, who has served as a professor of education in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as a teacher in the UK and a lecturer at Bath Spa University, is now to become director of programmes at the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth at Warwick University.

The post of chief executive of the NPT is to be advertised shortly; meanwhile, Gail Bedford, headteacher of Mount Pleasant primary in Dudley , will be overseeing its work.


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