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Trust working - just like cricket!

7th September 2020

My great thanks to colleagues who last week adapted, supported and secured a positive return to full reopening at the start of the Autumn Term.

In conjunction with the return of international cricket on the BBC for the first time in over 20 years, I was reflecting upon the skill set required in the quintessentially English summer game and that of Trust working.

Cricket, unlike many other sports has an intriguing balance between the individual and their place in the team. Just like Trust working, cricket is undoubtedly a team sport, made up of eleven players seeking to perform together for an agreed outcome. Schools come together as a Trust to perform better together than they do apart. To pull from each other’s strength and secure overall performance.

Unlike the majority of other sports, however, cricket also has keen roles for the individual. A single batter or bowler can score a vast number of runs or take many wickets and lead a side to victory. They can, as individuals, operate on a higher plain than others and make a significant contribution to the outcome. This is because the skill sets involved are quite unique and players can seem to drive success on their own. While a footballer can score five goals, they still need someone to pass them the ball and others to stop the ball going in at the other end. In cricket if you open the batting, it is possible to score all the runs without the vast majority of your players even taking part.

However, while this might work for a period in a game or two, occasions soon materialise when others need to assist. Fielders need to take the catches, or stop the runs. Batters, need someone to bat with, to take the singles and support individual endeavours. Bowlers need someone or somebody to bowl from the other end, to maintain pressure and do their job.

The same is true with effective Trust work. School can work wonders on their own. They may not feel the need to rely on or contribute to collective improvement. However, over time and circumstance the ‘team ethic’ materialises. We are stronger together. It is a hallmark of our Trust that we have this team ethic within individual performers. At another level, schools are the same. We all have our individual jobs to do. Once reception opens, the receptionist is leading the way, the classroom door requires the teacher to take ownership and lead the learning.

School Trusts work best when our individual talents are allowed to flourish, but also where we all support and contribute to each other’s success. Whether we enjoy or detest the infernal game, it does help remind us of how we work best together.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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