Technology for Learning: a CEO's perspective


We are continuing our mini podcast series with the LEO Academy Trust, and in this episode we're joined by CEO, Philip Hedger.

Our host Patrick McGrath builds on his chat with the Trust's Digital Learning Team, to understand how their Senior Leadership Team makes sure that technology fits with their mission, values and aims. Philip gives us his perspective on using technology for learning and what role leadership plays in helping to unlock potential and improve the outcomes for both students and staff across a Multi-Academy Trust.

Transcript

Patrick McGrath:
And welcome to another episode of Texthelp Talks podcast, the podcast where, of course, we've got a host of experts covering a range of topics from education right through into the workplace. Do make sure you subscribe through your preferred podcast player or streaming service so you never miss an episode. Of course, do feel free to join the conversation using the hashtag #TexthelpTalks on Twitter. We'd love to hear your feedback on this episode and questions for our guests or, indeed, the wider Texthelp team. But most importantly, don't forget to subscribe and never miss a beat of Texthelp Talks.

Patrick:
We've got a very exciting topic today. We're going to be looking at technology for learning and we're going to be taking a CEO's perspective on that. I'm very excited to introduce my guest in just a few seconds from now. I'm Patrick McGrath, head of education strategy here at Texthelp, the host of your podcast today. For the next 30 or 40 minutes, I'll be joined by a very special guest, Phillip Hedger from LEO Academy Trust. Phillip has been the CEO of the LEO Academy Trust since its formation in June 2015. Prior to that, he had been headteacher at Cheam Park Farm Junior Academy for six years. Phillip was also the executive headteacher at Cheam Common Junior Academy from 2016 to 2018.

Patrick:
Phillip actually began his career in education as a teaching assistant at Avenue Primary School in Belmont in 2000. Phillip has also been a leading teacher for ICT for Sutton Local Authority, is now Google Certified Trainer. He's senior partner in the national school improvement network Challenge Partners and is a member of the Editorial Board at the London Grid for Learning. Finally and last but not least, Phillip, you're a trustee at the Sutton United Youth and Community Foundation Trust. Wow. Now welcome, Phillip, to our podcast today. That was quite a CV, I think, I just read through there so you're very welcome. Good of you to join us.

Philip Hedger:
Thank you, Patrick. It's great to be here.

Patrick:
I think just reading through that, would you have thought in 2000 when you were a teaching assistant at Avenue Primary School that we'd be sitting here talking 21 years later and you'd be CEO of a multi-academy trust, or was that always the plan?

Philip:
Absolutely not. I think the plan was definitely to sort of progress through different roles in education. I was definitely keen at that stage to become a class teacher, which I realized that ambition. Then I suppose as a class teacher, you then want to try and have an impact on more children so I became a year leader, went on to become IT leader, did some work, as you said, with London Borough of Sutton as a lead teacher for IT before having the privilege to go on to lead my school.

Philip:
I think that what really attracted me to develop a multi-academy trust and now to lead one as CEO is that bit where you can have a wider influence, you can have an influence on more children, first of all beyond your own class, then beyond your own school and now, indeed, beyond our own trust. It's great to be here today to share our experiences and our use of EdTech.

Patrick:
What I've got... One other point just on your CV there. I think it's quite a rare one and I've known this because we've known each other for a little while, but Google Certified Trainer... You must be the only trust CEO that is a Google Certified Trainer. What motivated you to take that onboard?

Philip:
Yeah. I think the pandemic gave me the time to do it but we, as you know, have been using Google for Education now for the last few years. I was really keen to be involved in a lot of training, which I've been doing alongside our director of technology for learning, Graham Macaulay. I wanted to take up all the different levels of certification.

Philip:
Then I was encouraged to become a trainer to really go out and work alongside our senior leadership teams, other trust leaders, to get them up to speed with Google's tools and apps but also to get them to think about how they could use those for the school leadership and also for reducing workload and, really, to get to grips with how they could develop a school improvement plan, trust level plans, using EdTech at the heart of it.

Patrick:
All credit to you, that must deliver a real sense of connectedness because you're aware of everything from products through to good practice, through to implementation and then, obviously, to be able see how that feeds into the vision. Just wanted to give our listeners today kind of a quick overview as to what we want to go through today, the points we want to discuss, why we have you here on the podcast. We're very pleased to have your time.

Patrick:
But the LEO Academy Trust, of course, is real big within the Trust. Over 400 staff and two and a half thousand students across the London Borough of Sutton since 2015. I can see, and have seen very clearly, that you've been demonstrating best practice when it comes to technology for learning. In fact this year, if I'm right, Phillip, you have been shortlisted, amongst many other things, for the Tes Schools Award in the best use of technology category. Of course, that judging is going to go out just after we record this podcast so all the very best with that. The team certainly deserve a lot of credit for being shortlisted, and hope they go on to win.

Patrick:
But for the podcast today, I want to look specifically at your senior leadership team and your senior leadership team within the Trust, and try and understand how they make sure the technology fits within the general mission and values and aims. What we want to do today is delve into a CEO's perspective, such as yourself, Phillip, try and understand the role of leadership in helping to unlock the potential and improve the outcomes for both the students.

Patrick:
Sometimes we forget to talk about what we're unlocking for the potential of the staff. We want to put that front and center today. We'll be having a look at your perspective and we'll be thinking about that across a multi-academy trust. Obviously, Phillip, LEO Academy Trust was first formed in June 2015, as we heard from earlier. I'm quite sure that there was a significant roadmap up to that point of June 2015, so what was your original vision or shared goals when it came to forming the LEO Academy Trust back in 2015?

Philip:
Yeah, thanks Patrick. LEO Academy Trust grew from the school where I was headteacher, at Cheam Park Farm. At the time, we had a fantastic school with really dedicated staff, we were achieving some great things for our children and we just felt we had a lot more to give. We had a big senior leadership team with lots of capacity to go out and help other schools, we were providing some wonderful opportunities for our own children and we felt that we had lots of great ideas to share with other local schools. What we aimed to set out to do was to develop a family of schools where collaboration would make a real difference for children, staff and communities.

Philip:
By working as a trust, our vision was one where staff would support each other to develop truly great learning communities. We wanted to enable excellence for all and provide a wide range of opportunities for children and staff alike. That's what we've done over the last six years, really. We've been striving to make our schools as inclusive as possible. We're really passionate about ensuring that our children receive an equitable education and I think that's part of the key, really. It's trying to get that equity, that whatever we're doing we want other schools to benefit from that. We also want to learn from the best schools in the system so that our children can get those same opportunities that are happening elsewhere.

Patrick:
Yeah. Of course the three words that, I guess, you would talk about with regards to the Trust: learning, excellence and opportunity. But how are those embodied in the Trust today? How do you ensure that... Because you've obviously scaled from those days in 2015, a single school, now got multiple schools or academies in the Trust. How do you ensure that those are embodied throughout that process?

Philip:
Yeah, I think that first and foremost we take everything that we do back to learning in the classroom. Every decision that we're making, whether it's at a Trust Board level with a local governing board and senior leaders, a staff team, we're thinking, "How is that going to impact on the learning in the classroom? How is it going to help us to get better outcomes for the children we serve?" When we're thinking about the children, we're thinking about all children. That's where the excellence comes in, that we don't just want excellence for certain groups of children or certain groups of staff, we genuinely want excellence for all.

Philip:
We want to develop that inclusive practice. We've got our own inclusion and wellbeing hub which leads that best practice across the hub. Finally, around opportunities... I think this is at the heart of everything we do, is looking to think about how can we really release that potential in our staff quicker by providing them with more opportunities for training, more opportunities for CPD? How can we provide more opportunities for children so that they can really have every chance to succeed, both in the next stage of their education and also for all of the challenges of life which lay ahead of them?

Patrick:
Okay. If you think about those three areas and how you've expanded those out and kind of maintained and built on those throughout the years, what key challenges would you have faced in doing that? Is it getting the right staff? Is it instilling the right ethos? Is it variables that are outside of your control, the home environment, the demographic your pupils are coming from? What are the challenges there in maintaining sort of those high standards that you're aspiring and achieving to across the Trust?

Philip:
Certainly, I think that first and foremost you need to have really high quality staff. What we always seek to do is to, as I said, find that potential in staff, make sure everybody is in the right place and really look to invest time and effort into staff so that they are able to best support the children. That's not just our teaching staff, that's also all of the support staff that go around the Trust, it's our site managers, it's our finance team, it's our HR staff. It's everybody, so that there is this one big team effort.

Philip:
It's about holding each other to account for that. We've got high expectations of our children and we've got high expectations of each other so that every day we come to LEO we're really there trying to take things always back to that vision of, "How are we going to build these great communities? How are we going to continue to strive so that every single child in our trust gets the very best, which is the least that they deserve?"

Philip:
It is about creating, I think, a culture where people are willing to go that extra mile, to really deliver a wide range of opportunities whether that's in sport, whether that's in music, whether that's in improving the quality of maths teaching, whether it's in the use of EdTech. You need staff that are willing to go the extra mile to often just tweak and build upon their current practice, to change small things, to keep moving forwards.

Philip:
I think what we think is special about us is that we're always trying to push the boundaries of what's possible. We genuinely don't want to stand still. We're always looking round the corner to see what else might be coming up for children and staff alike. It's that sort of relentless drive for excellence, it's that willingness to learn, it's that openness, that willingness to go to other trusts, to other schools, both in the UK and we've also looked globally beyond as well as we developed our digital strategy, for example. Learn from the best in the system to stay humble in what you're doing and to keep moving forwards.

Patrick:
You've almost got me signed up as a member of staff with that last answer there, Phillip, for sure. But sort of from an outsider looking in, if I can maybe just comment on what I would see in the Trust, I do see... You've articulated it so well there. I do see a real inclusive working environment, and by that I mean that when we've come in to help to deliver and support your staff, it hasn't just been the teaching staff there. There have been many facets of staff there. I find that common vision that you have and you share it with the wider team.

Patrick:
In fact, I think you've referred to it as a family there and I really feel that from LEO, that it is genuinely family. If I could make a second observation, there's a word we always use in Texthelp about how we try and encourage our staff and as we try and empower our staff... I think what you almost said there earlier was that you encourage staff to take that initiative, to push the boundaries a bit further but the only way, I guess, you could do that is to empower staff, then, to make those decisions as long as it's underpinned by teaching and learning. I hope you take those two as comments because, from my perspective, those are two areas that I see.

Patrick:
You did mention technology there. When we've been talking previously, I know you've kind of throughout your career... You've been, I guess... I don't know if you consider yourself an early adopter, but certainly you've seen the opportunities with technology and how can they fit and support teaching and learning. How does EdTech within the Trust fit in to the mission and values that you talked about earlier? How does EdTech support those areas that you so well explained earlier for the Trust?

Philip:
Yeah, I think EdTech really is underpinning all three strands of our vision now. EdTech is central to learning in the classroom, it is changing the way that children learn and the way that teachers teach. It is developing more creative practices to certain tasks and very much sits at the heart of each classroom, but also our extended almost online school now where children are learning at home, staff are working from home. In terms of excellence for all EdTech, again, is featuring very highly. We're really developing our use of assistive technology now to support learners with special needs in particular to be able to access all areas of the curriculum and become more independent in terms of their learning.

Philip:
EdTech is also opening doors, I think, in terms of wider opportunities for staff and children. It's bringing experts into their classroom that wouldn't have been there before in terms of utilizing video conferencing technology. It's helping connect staff more and it's helping deepen CPD and practices by, again, linking staff up quite seamlessly whether that's with planning, whether that is actually with remotely watching a lesson or it may also be with bringing in expertise in terms of CPD or training.

Patrick:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Obviously, we've had our periods... We promised we wouldn't talk about it, but we've had our periods of remote learning the last... Well, I think that's no secret to the world. But within that, would it be fair to say that EdTech adoption... Has that accelerated your original planning around it? Has it simply sustained it? Will it see an acceleration next academic year? Where will EdTech and technology in general fit going forward? Will it just go faster than it otherwise may have been?

Philip:
Yeah, there's no doubt that the pandemic has accelerated our use of technology. We've had a digital strategy which goes back to 2018. Part of that strategy at the heart of it had the vision that we would go to one-to-one devices provision for Key Stage 2 children. We started off by training up staff and building up their confidence during the academic year 2018/19. Then once the staff were confident with the technology, the plan was to roll that out on a year group by year group basis over a four year period.

Philip:
We started with our Year 4 children and then moved on to our Year 5 children all having a one-to-one Chromebook device. Then the pandemic hit and we realized instantly that while the Year 4 children and some of the Year 5 children were going to be really equipped to access remote learning, other year groups didn't have devices. The pandemic has accelerated our rollout. We've now got all Key Stage 2 children in all schools in the Trust with their own one-to-one Chromebook, which they use at home and they use at school.

Philip:
It's their device they bring each day. We've also gone to one-to-one devices across the school in Year 1 and Year 2 as well, with the difference being that these devices stay at home. We've probably achieved, in terms of device rollout, our sort of five, six year plan over the course of two or three years.

Patrick:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Thinking about that in regards to how you may do it differently or the same as other trusts... We're not going to comment on anything specific here, but thinking about scale. I'm thinking about a technology tool and it's selected by you or the team, Phillip, and it fits in with the vision of the Trust, okay? That's a plus. It can have consolidated training so all staff and all stakeholders around can fit into that training plan. Why is that single decision across all your schools vital to its success versus, say, an individual school within your trust deciding to make a technology decision on their own? Why do you think it's important to have it consolidated?

Philip:
I think it comes back to the support that's available. We sort of have got a policy, really, that we all move together on something, that we will all learn at the same that and that the support that's available at the center and the support that's available in each school, therefore, can go further. If we decide to adopt a particular tool, it's something that everybody's using at the same time. Staff are quite often interchanging between schools to teach certain lessons. That expertise is going across.

Philip:
We also plan together across multiple schools and, therefore, if you're planning to use a certain tool or a certain app its important that all children have got it. As I said earlier on in the podcast, that equity is really important for us. If we think it's good enough for children at one school to have, we want everybody to have that same opportunity to use something.

Patrick:
I suppose, Phillip, that... Is it fair to say that this a key consideration, then, as you look to potentially expand the Trust going forward and you may welcome other schools in in due course? I guess when those schools come in, obviously, they'll need to share in the same vision of the Trust and the same sort of family and staff environment. But I'm assuming that equity of access, you want to transfer that straight away to new schools coming in so if the technology piece is selected and it's already rolling with three and a half thousand students and you welcome another 400 students the next year, the year after, I assume part of planning is always to ensure that they have the same equity of access. I don't mean to put words in your mouth, but I'm asking more is that the case?

Philip:
No, no. That's absolutely the case. Just last week, actually, our Trust Board were looking at our growth plan for the next two to three years and part of that was our use of technology and how we would onboard new schools in terms of their use of technology. We've just actually started working with the seventh school at the moment and we'll be supporting them over the next 12 months. One of the ways we're going to do that is to provide all of their children with their own device from September so that when our staff are out working with that school and their staff are working with our existing staff, again they've got that equity of access.

Philip:
They're talking about the same sort of things, they've got access to the same CPD and their children have got access to, again, exactly the same, tools, devices, as we currently have. Because they're so integral now to the way we teach and the way that the children learn that it would be really hard for us to go and support a school that may be wanting to join us in the long term if they weren't able to have that same device provision.

Patrick:
Clear to me just listening to you how important that consistency in all aspects, teaching, learning, EdTech, across the Trust really, really is. It's not a collection of individual schools with individual aims and goals. Whilst they have, of course, individual focus and foci on students and development priorities, there still has to be that common goal and aim and consistency and equity of access. I'm going to ask you sort of to see... I'm wondering if you can give me a one word answer on this, and this is going to be a hard one, I think, because there are so many factors on this.

Patrick:
But LEO in general has been hailed as a real flag bearer for good practice. For those of you listening who don't know, you can literally watch LEO and one of the contributor schools on Google Events. Google came in and featured you for good practice. London Grid for Learning I know focus on your good practice. There's lots of good practice pieces. Could you give me a single word that you would attribute that success to? You're held up as this champion trust. Would you put it down to staff? Where would you put it?

Philip:
I think in one word I would say passion. I think our staff are passionate about continual improvement. They're definitely passionate about teaching and learning. They're passionate about wanting to get better in terms of their practice. One of the ways we think that we can really enhance and develop teaching and learning is through the use of EdTech. Over the last two or three years we've become really passionate about that, as well.

Patrick:
Brilliant. That is probably, Phillip, the perfect answer for me on that. It sums up, certainly, what my experience and the team here at Texthelp has experienced with the Trust. All credit to you and the management team for that.

Philip:
Thank you.

Patrick:
Thinking about the management team and thinking you in particular, I'm interested in this next question. When it comes to technology, how much of a role do you as CEO play in technology decisions? Or do you pass it down to your team or is it a case of going, "Will that piece of technology improve outcomes and how? Will it improve equity of access? Will it improve our special education needs provision?" Do you look at the technology on a vision and a school improvement or a trust improvement level and you leave the technology decisions to the rest of your team? How does that dynamic work with you as a CEO?

Philip:
I think the two things you just described very much go hand in hand because we see technology as a key driver to both school improvement and trust improvement. We've got that strategic vision for how we want technology to improve the quality of teaching, but also to improve the ways that we work across the Trust. Therefore, I think a lot of the technology decisions are made at a strategic level. I will often speak with the team that leads on technology. We'll often discuss different ideas.

Philip:
I might often challenge them to say, "Well, can you go and run a pilot on that? Can you come back to me with some evidence of how that works? Have you seen it being used elsewhere in any other way? Is there any research behind what you're asking us to roll out?" As I said, we often want to roll things out at scale but we often will do small pilots first. We might just try it in one school, see how it works with an early adopter and then use the capacity of that school and their experience with a certain tool or a certain app to then roll it out across the Trust as a whole.

Patrick:
I got you. Thinking about how you've, I suppose, worked with us. We've been very fortunate, the wider sort of Texthelp team has worked with a lot of different members of your team over the past sort of year and half... Well, two years, I suppose, now. We've really enjoyed that. How important is it for you as a CEO to have that kind of relationship with a vendor? I mean, let's not forget we are a commercial organization at Texthelp, but we are there to help and support and give you what you need. Is that relationship important in general with other companies that you work with? Is that an important consideration?

Philip:
Yeah, I think that partnerships is really important to us as a trust. We are very outward facing, we're constantly out looking for new ideas, looking to work in partnership with schools, with trusts, but also with the wider educational sector and the wider EdTech family and the sort of groups we partner with such as Texthelp. But there are others such as Adobe, Google for Education, LGfL, all spring to mind where you're working with colleagues who are passionate about teaching and learning.

Philip:
You're not trying to sell a particular product, although that might be the end goal. But it's very much about this continual sense of improvement, wanting to learn, wanting to understand actually, what's that going to look like in the classroom? It's not about making a quick buck and there, it is very much about "how is what I'm doing going to drive teaching and learning?" That's who we work best with and they're the different company schools that we're attracted to working in partnership with.

Patrick:
Yeah. I'm really pleased to hear you talk about the word partnership because that's how I would certainly describe our relationship with the Trust for the last while and that's how I hope, selfishly, a lot of other trusts and schools would see us, as partners with them in learning. EdTech is not a thing, and I'm sure you'd agree with this, Phillip, that's not a thing you can get in for three months and that's it. It's not a band-aid fix, it's a long term commitment that it is a relationship there. We've got to see usage and we've got to see impact and we've got to see outcomes. We've all got to see change enough to make it worth all of our while, I guess.

Patrick:
I'm thinking that maybe a little bit wider, if you were in a room of other CEOs, and I'm sure you work with many of the other trusts around the country, but if you were to give advice in and around how they could or should or could keep technology as part of their vision going forward, what would that be? Is it important to keep technology as part of the vision and if so, how do you sustain it? What would your advice be to others?

Philip:
Yeah, so we would certainly recommend keeping technology at the heart of any trust-wide strategy that you're creating. I think it can help to solve and can help to provide some of the answers to the big problems that we're all facing today. If you look at staff workload and wellbeing, certainly EdTech has got plenty of solutions in terms of connecting different groups of staff together to work jointly on planning, working live with maybe a split screen with a video call on one side and the planning sheet on the other.

Philip:
A lot of multi-academy trusts are also spread geographically. I think what we've learnt during the pandemic is that we can all work online quickly so that need to dash out of the door to get to another school half an hour away for a staff meeting after school, that's probably gone now. Actually, EdTech can give us a blended way of working, can introduce hybrid staff meetings to solve those problems. Financially and from a budget point of view, technology can often be seen as a drain on budgets and budgets can often be seen as a barrier but if you start to think different about your infrastructure, you can actually save money.

Philip:
We've managed to put a device into the hand of every child by thinking differently about, "Well, do we need interactive whiteboards screwed to the wall anymore? Do we actually need the software that would power them or are there other things that are available freely to do the same thing? If we move to the cloud rather than having servers in our schools, what are the benefits of that in terms of learning but also what might the benefits of that be in terms of finance?" They're two key ways.

Philip:
Whether we like it or not, I think that the way children will be learning in the future and the sort of careers that they're going to go into are very much going to need those digital skills and we base those as a core skill now within the curriculum. I think that we are really preparing our children well for those challenges of life by giving them access to technology in the classroom and at home.

Patrick:
I was interested just at the start of your answer there. I picked up on something, Phillip, where you said, "Yeah, we have dual screens open." They were very, very, very simple steps. I think those things are really, really, really, really important and I was glad you mentioned them because I think sometimes with our staff body, we end up... I don't mean we as in you and I necessarily, but sometimes we look too much down the line of transformation.

Patrick:
We try and do this EdTech dream is about changing every way you work and changing every way you teach and changing every way that the students learn. Ultimately, perhaps that will happen but for me, and I don't know whether you agree with this, it is about those small steps. It's about that one little change that can help make that learning experience better for students, or can help make your productivity a little bit better, just that one there, help you communicate that bit faster.

Patrick:
I mentioned earlier that my wife's a teacher, Phillip, and their school moved this year from... They were a Google school and they moved this year on their report templates from Excel to Google Sheets. Literally, that one tiny change and the amount of hours' work that was saved across her department and other departments was incalculable, and it was a tiny change. These tiny changes can really impact teaching and learning and it's not always about transformation, is it, Phil?

Philip:
Absolutely not. I mean, just another tiny change that's making a big difference for us is in terms of feedback and marking. We've really been looking at our feedback and marking policy, and the way teachers give feedback is changing now. One example that I saw in a lesson earlier this week... It was a maths lesson, there were a group of children that hadn't got the concept that had been taught in the lesson and the teacher was explaining to me that rather than give written feedback on each individual piece of work, what they were going to do was just to film themselves later that day for a couple of minutes reteaching a key concept.

Philip:
They were going to get Jamboard up, they were going to teach it live, film it and then they were just going to pop that on Google Classroom so those children, for their homework that evening or for some early morning work the next morning, were just going to rewatch that key bit of maths teaching that they hadn't fully mastered in that lesson. That's going to be far more powerful than a written comment. It's going to take the teacher a couple of minutes, and because teachers have been used to this way of working in the pandemic now, used to filming themselves, students are becoming used to consuming learning in that way. It's becoming really impactful and, again, it's saving time but it's, ultimately, going to result in better learning in the classroom.

Patrick:
Yeah, absolutely. That flexibility is so important. One thing from our perspective we notice, I mean, sometimes... You're obviously familiar with Read&Write, you have it at the Trust. Sometimes Read&Write, people look at the toolbar and they go, "Well, that's clearly literacy support and that's clearly for pupils with individual needs." What sometimes staff expect is they put in this piece of technology, they go, "Okay. Well, if we looked at usage, those pupils with dyslexia, those pupils with individual challenges that they need help with, those would be the pupils using it."

Patrick:
What we found in working with you guys was, of course, usage was across the board. Why is that? I think it comes back to one of the words that I used about your staff earlier, it's that empowerment. If you give the tools and the technology to students and pupils, they'll find a way to use that tool to help support them, whether it’s that video piece you talked about or whether something like Read&Write. I think that's a very, very exciting world to be in.

Patrick:
As we kind of start to wrap up here, Phillip, I know obviously as an academy trust you've been involved in the EdTech Demonstrator Programme, you've been up for numerous awards. You have lots of things to your name as a trust and the individual schools in your trust. For me though, what I personally love is just how you as a trust celebrate and promote success and you share a good practice. Would it be fair to say that you have an open door policy to share that good practice for other trusts and schools around? Is that a fair enough thing for me to say?

Philip:
Yeah, I think that is, Patrick. It's very kind of you to say and it's lovely of you to have noticed that, but yes that is what we're all about. We love sharing our work on Twitter, we love sharing our work with either different networks such as the EdTech Demonstrator Programme, across the LGfL network. We also work with a group of schools through another school improvement network called Challenge Partners where we'll often share our leading practice with those schools, as well.

Philip:
As the world is opening up again and schools are opening up again as we finally emerge from the pandemic, we've just in the last few weeks been hosting a few school visits on a very small scale again to share that practice. We also love going out to visit other schools, as well. I think we're in the position we are now because we were really grateful that other schools shared their practice with us at different points of our journey.

Philip:
Really, I think that part of that sharing is because too often in education, schools can sometimes just work in silo. What we want to do is help to get the big answers to those big questions out there. We want some support in learning what those answers are, too. I think looking forwards over the next couple of years, it's really how is the whole EdTech sector and schools working together, how we can solve some of these big issues of the day.

Patrick:
Yeah, absolutely. Phillip, we're almost out of time here today so I'm going to have to start to wrap up and to do so I just want to reflect on some of the things that we've spoke about today. We talked about your vision and your aims and the success of the Trust, how things will expand, but the important few takeaways for me are is the inclusive nature of what you do there, the consistency of how you put technology in place but also the consistency of how you support staff and, again, that word "empowerment." I hope you don't steal that word on me, I just thought it fitted very well with lots of the things that you were saying today, both in terms of staff and the students.

Patrick:
Huge thank you to Phillip Hedger, our fabulous guest for today's episode of the Texthelp Talks podcast. Brilliant insight into where technology can fit in the vision of a multi-academy trust. Brilliant insight into the importance of consistency and empowering students with the tools that they need and staff with the support they need to really succeed and deliver on the vision that is academy wide.

Patrick:
This episode is part of a miniseries we're recording with LEO Academy Trust. Now that you've heard from Phillip CEO, be sure to check out our episode with Graham and Cheryl to hear about the digital learning team's experience of implementing technology for learning and how this translated to usage and good practice. Of course, the only way to do that is if you subscribe to the Texthelp Talks podcast on your favorite streaming service or podcast app. Just look for Texthelp Talks, hit the subscribe button and never miss an episode. For now, thank you for joining us. I've been Patrick McGrath, your host today, and we hope to see you on the next episode of Texthelp Talks.