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The Stour Federation

Multi Academy Trust

Learn, grow, succeed together


Why do we exist?

The Stour Federation exists to develop and grow our group of inspirational schools which instil ambition and desire in learners, open their minds, widen their horizons and equip them to succeed in a diverse and challenging world. 


How do we behave?

In The Stour Federation we learn, grow, succeed together with our Trust RESPECT values as the minimum behavioural standard.  Values inform expectations.  Expectations influence behaviour.  Behaviour creates culture.



What do we do?

In The Stour Federation, we establish high-performing and flourishing church and community schools which build academic and personal/interpersonal qualities and capabilities: character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking, for learning and being.


How will we succeed?

  • Organisational health.
  • An ethic of excellence.
  • Aligned autonomy.
  • Growing and retaining talent.
  • Self-determination.



Why Aligned Autonomy?

The optimal balance between consistency and self-determination; freedom and responsibility.  Aligned Autonomy will deliver a more agile and less hierarchical organisation:

  • Respect at every level.
  • Rules focused on clarity rather than control.
  • Roles that are needed and make sense.
  • Collaborative leadership.
  • Principles and purpose rather than practice.
  • Creates value quickly, collaboratively and effectively.



Why Aligned?

  • We share the same Trust mission and values.
  • All children and staff should benefit from our best collective practice.
  • We all benefit from collective resources, identity and reputation.
  • Staff can be more easily deployed to other schools in the academy if they wish.
  • Central services become simpler to deliver and more efficient.
  • Growth can be better controlled, supported and managed.


Why Autonomy?

  • Leadership and personal accountability are founded on ownership and self-direction.
  • If there is no variation in how we work, there will be no opportunity for us to innovate, act as pathfinders or learn from different practices.  There needs to be self-determination from individual schools.
  • Schools need to respond to changing needs and adapt to changing environments.



According to the self-determination theory, people are intrinsically motivated to grow, develop, improve and obtain satisfaction driven by three main innate psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and relationship.  Self-determination is therefore central to job satisfaction and happiness.


What's the most important now?

Trust Strategic Development Plan -  this sets out the Trust’s priorities and goals for the next 3 years.



  • Excellence for our children.
  • Organisational health.
  • Growth and sustainability.


Individual School Improvement Plan - each school in The Stour Federation has its own annual Improvement Plan specific to their individual circumstances, using the tiered model anchors from the EEF’s planning guide for schools.

  • High quality teaching.
  • Targeted academic support.
  • Wider strategies.


Who must do what?

This must be answered by each individual school, to reflect staffing structures and talent, relying on expertise rather than rank

The Process

Aligning Autonomy is a process which evolves. A component of the spine one year may be dropped in another because it outlives its usefulness, or because it is a time for further innovation and rethinking.  As a Trust, we need to be agile and work at pace to be responsive to need.


Contact Details and Useful Links