Trust Leaders

For leaders of school trusts or similar organisations. The course is delivered by Sir David Carter drawing from the latest thinking in the academy sector.

  • Shape the strategic direction of your trust
  • Develop the skills you need to thrive
  • Learn from experts including Sir David Carter
  • Build a powerful network of system peers
  • Transform the lives of disadvantaged pupils

Why us?

Improve the life chances of your trust’s pupils

Trust leaders have the largest span of influence across our education system.

Becoming an expert trust leader will help your trust to improve and will positively impact on the life chances of children in your schools that you may never meet.

Become a successful CEO

Gain greater understanding of yourself, your organisation and the system, with exclusive insight into the political and operational layers of our education system from experts including Sir David Carter.

Self-reflection in a safe environment to identify your strengths and your personal priorities.

Explore approaches to leading complex organisations over multiple sites

Investigate the complex academy system and learn the practical strategies to build a single trust culture.

Gain insight into leading trusts, how they achieve success and the barriers they overcome.

Drive change at scale

Build your understanding of change theory with direct application to the trust sector.

Develop a clear, strategic vision for your trust to lead improvement across schools, raising standards and outcomes for pupils.

Develop your communication skills to engage with your trust, your community and the media.

Learn how to influence and managing complex stakeholders.

Grow a talent management approach across your trust

Design a trust specific talent strategy and build a sustainable workforce for the future.

Understand what works in continuous professional development so that you can help your teachers and leaders to keep getting better.

Build a powerful network

Meet and share knowledge with a large group of like-minded CEOs and executive leaders working in similar contexts.

As a graduate of the Ambition Institute Trust Leaders programme you will join our alumni of the programme who represent the leading minds across the sector.


The Trust Leaders programme* has been designed using the latest research and expertise from within Ambition Institute and across the sector.

On this programme, you’ll benefit from:

  • Four two-day conference events led by sector experts including Sir David Carter, sharing evidence informed insights and strategies to develop your trust. This course will include face-to-face and online sessions.
  • Peer networking event with participants from previous cohorts of Trust Leaders, hosted by Sir David Carter in partnership with our strategic partner, the Confederation for School Trusts (CST), the sector body for trusts.
  • Visit to a sector leading trust.
  • Seminars from system experts who'll share stories, insights and how they overcame challenges across their trusts.
  • Six hours of executive coaching, giving you individualised support to unlock your full leadership potential.
  • Peer-to-peer development sessions to learn from leaders facing similar challenges.
  • Contribute to the system with the opportunity to create a focused case study and showcase your learning, expertise and solutions to the sector.
  • Access to leadership expertise from outstanding individuals and organisations, drawing on findings from our People Power and Building Trusts research.

*This programme and curriculum is currently under review and is subject to change.

Programme highlights

  • Conference one – an introduction to the challenge of trust leadership and leading on school improvement
  • Conference two – a focus on governance and financial strategy
  • Conference three – a focus on operating models, change and talent management
  • Conference four – led by Sir David Carter who will cover due diligence & risk, and growth with day two focussed on external communications.
  • Five spotlight sessions running throughout the programme focussing on topics such as; trust-wide CPD, organisational culture and staff well-being led by experts from both within and outside the education sector.



The programme costs £9,950 +VAT.


We're currently welcoming interest in our 2023 cohort. Fill out this quick enquiry form and we'll get back to you with more information.

This course is open to executive leaders of a trust or similar school group organisation including:

  • Newly appointed MAT CEOs
  • Existing MAT CEOs who are looking to lead growth or change in their organisation
  • Directors of Education who are working in a MAT, supporting its growth strategy, or looking to take up the role of CEO

The programme is also designed for those with the Accounting Officer responsibilities of a trust or similar, associated responsibilities.

Interested in the programme?