The Learning in Harmony Trust was formed in September 2014 by Sheringham Primary School and JFK Special School. In 2015, we were joined by two other Newham schools, Upton Cross Primary School and Hartley Primary School, and three further schools joined us in the first term of the 2016-17 school year - Blenheim Primary School and the Federation of Thorpe Greenways Junior and Infant Schools, all of which are located in Southend. In January 2017, Drew Primary School, also in Newham, joined us.
We do expect to further increase our number of schools and expand our geographical range in the near future, but there is no intention to outgrow our capacity. We want to be big enough to sustainably do all the amazing things we want to do, but small enough to still know each other very well.
For us, learning in harmony doesn't mean all schools have to be the same. We are bound together by our belief that by working in partnership as one organisation we can make a significant difference to the children and young people in our schools. We are proud to have both similarities and differences as schools, and see this diversity as a strength.
As in other Multi Academy Trusts (MATs), the Learning In Harmony Trust has taken responsibility for the running of its members schools from the local council, and we are directly funded and overseen by the Department for Education. As a group we are committed to working with each other, but also to working in partnership with other local schools and providers.
We are often asked how different a MAT is from informal partnerships that have historically been valued by mainstream schools. We cherish those and continue to identify and share best practice externally and to use this to improve the provision for all pupils. However, internally we see ourselves as mutually accountable for each other's schools, and therefore really engage in sharing, challenging and supporting each other - while still giving each one plenty of space to explore individually and retain their own very unique characteristics. It is a fine line, but so far we have been quite good at it – it is our shared values that unite us.
We all believe that empowering everyone within and around our organisation, through rigorous support and challenge, will help us to maximise the life chances of the pupils in our care.