Middlesex Learning Partnership

Trust Vision, Values & Culture

Starting with the right question

In 2017, Steve Munby, formerly chief executive of the National College for School Leadership, gave a speech on ethical leadership in which he argued that the wrong question is ‘Should my school become an academy?’ He said a much better question is:

“How can my school best collaborate with others in a strong and resilient structure to ensure that each child is a powerful learner and that adults have the opportunities to learn and develop as teachers and leaders?”

With that question in mind, we believe the answer is because….

MLP offers a rare opportunity to join a trust where the infrastructure is in place to support you and your school, and there is still a genuine opportunity to help shape the organisation.

In other words, we’ve done the boring bit - building the machine, setting the thing up - you get to help drive it and to decide where we go.

Our approach offers the best of both worlds – the strength of being part of a like-minded family of schools, with the flexibility to lead your school based on what works in your setting.

What are we seeking? 

Purposeful growth

  • We are not interested in growth for growth’s sake.
  • We want to grow in order to:
  1. Impact the lives of the greatest number of young people in the best possible way
  2. Build a family of like-minded educators, who support, challenge and learn from and with one another
  3. Meaningfully engage with and influence leading partners locally and nationally
  4. Enjoy the resilience that comes with a large number schools working together

Considerations in any discussion – our approach

  • Approach to growth aligned with our values – mutually beneficial partnerships, not takeovers
  • A mature discussion – comfortable that sometimes it won’t be the right fit (for either party)
  • Open to mergers, the creation of a new organisation etc.
  • Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed

What does that mean in practice?

Firstly, it means aligned vision and values*

Our mission
For all our young people to benefit from an inclusive, purposeful and broad education

Values/ways of working:

  • We work together and learn collectively
  • We support one another
  • We have unapologetically high standards and expectations – for ourselves and for the young people in our care
  • We take our civic responsibilities seriously, seeking meaningful partnerships that benefit the communities we serve
  • We invest our energy and resources in the things that evidence tells us will make the greatest difference for our young people

Secondly, it means valuing and supporting all our people

  • We provide high quality, consistent support and professional development
  • We aspire to create, and to actively participate in, a rich learning community
  • We create opportunites for our people both to engage with, and to lead, the development of practice beyond the trust. For example:
  1. Colleagues working with the local teaching school hubs to facilitate NPQs
  2. Senior leaders delivering the NCETM Maths Support programme
  3. Delivering KS2 moderation on behalf of LB Hillingdon
  4. Designing and delivering training in a range of curriculum areas in partnership with the Hillingdon Education Partnership
  5. Widely sharing our strengths with others and seeking out those from whom we can learn
  6. Strong relationship with Roehampton, giving us access to great ECT’s before anyone else
  7. Tailored, external school improvement suppport for every school - driven by the school
  8. Trust-wide participation in the WE SEND programme

Thirdly, it means responsive back-office infrastructure to take problems away from you and your school

  • Finance and payroll
  • HR (inc legal)
  • IT
  • Freedom of Information / Data protection related issues
  • Web and communications
  • Governance support and policies
  • Coming soon! Premesis

What we definitely don't do...

  • ‘Cookie-cutter’ schools 
  • Mandated curriculum
  • Dictated uniform
  • Results at the expense of inclusion

Or, to put it another way:

  • We don’t think for you
  • And we don’t think we know your context better than you do

What’s our track-record?

We have a strong track-record of supporting improvement….

  • William Byrd joined the trust in 2017 as a school with ‘serious weaknesses’.
  • All schools in the trust received graded inspections in 2023/24. Belmore and William Byrd were both judged to be ‘good’, and Barnhill ‘outstanding’. 
  • We also make an active contribution to school improvement beyond the trust. For example, William Byrd is recognised nationally for its excellence in Early Years, and our schools deliver a range of training for schools across the borough and beyond, as well as facilitating NPQs with Ambition Institute.

What do we expect in return?

  • The values and ways of working won’t be for everyone. If they’re not for you, that’s fine – but this probably isn’t the right trust for you / your school. 
  • A genuine commitment to joining a learning community, characterised by  meaningful collaboration.
  • You will be expected to support your colleagues, and in turn you will receive support (e.g. with Ofsted, SEND needs/provision, safeguarding, curriculum development).
  • You will be expected to help lead and shape the trust, as well as your school.

What does this mean for our approach to school improvement?

  • Typically, an instructional coaching approach (not mandated)
  • Rigorous external school improvement support – agreed with, and tailored to the needs of, each school
  • Common approach to school improvement planning and presentation of data
  • We don’t ‘police’ or ‘monitor-evaluate’. We do support development

How is this different to being in a maintained school (with a strong LA)?

  • Relationships and development support between schools is hardwired for the long term – e.g. you don’t visit an early years setting once, you work as part of a network of early years leaders, exchanging practice and supporting one-another
  • Similarly, for Whole School Send, in addition to the benefits of the programme, you enjoy the added value that comes from being part of the SENDCo trust network sharing practical examples, for example of EHCP paperwork
  • Operating costs are defrayed over a larger number of schools and we have more ‘critical mass’ as a customer to drive best value
  • N.B. being in a MAT should be about additional value-add – it is not a replacement for working with the LA and our intention would always be to have strong and positive partnership relationships with local authorities

Thinking about this against the DfE trust quality decriptors...


School Improvement

  • Learning communities between our schools and beyond
  • Tailored external school improvement support
  • External programmes and support: WE SEND, HLP, NCETM, PixL etc.


  • Strong HR function supporting recruitment and all key HR processes
  • Great CPD offer, including learning between schools in the trust, support for NPQs and leading national programmes
  • Trust-wide ECT programme
  • Excellent relationship with teaching school hubs

Finance and Operations

  • Centralised finance and payroll – just works, freeing schools up to focus on the day-job
  • Trust governance, data protection etc.

Governanance and Leadership

  • Skilled and diverse range of trustees ensure robust and supportive governance at trustee and LGB level
  • Trust HR Director supports all trustee/governor recruitment and development

High quality and inclusive education

  • Clear, consistent commitment to inclusion and to developing the whole child
  • Curriculum developed for each school, with trust wide-support
Our Schools