Executive Educators: Chief Executives

Our flagship system leadership training for aspiring or serving CEOs of multi-academy trusts
For current and future CEOs of Multi-Academy Trusts

Applications are now open; you can enquire about joining our next cohort here.

Executive Educators is our flagship programme for system leaders, with tailored programmes for crucial roles which involve leading multiple schools. The Chief Executives programme is designed to equip participants with the advanced knowledge and skills to implement and sustain change across a multi-academy trust (MAT) or other federation. It will support you to lead with confidence and transform the life chances of the pupils you serve. 

Why join the programme?  

  • Receive bespoke, evidence-based training for the Chief Executive role, delivered by experts from across the sector and beyond 
  • Identify your strengths and areas for development through a 360° review at the beginning of the programme, designed specifically for executive school leaders  
  • Share insight and learning within a close-knit cohort of fewer than 30 current or aspiring Chief Executives on the programme with you  
  • Be part of Ambition School Leadership’s national network of more than 4,000 leaders and 1,500 schools, sharing ideas and best practice 
  • Gain 150 hours of accredited study towards the Open University’s MBA 

“Setting up a multi-academy trust can feel isolating. Through Executive Educators I gained a peer group overnight.” 

Cathie Paine, Deputy CEO, REAch2 Academy Trust 

Applications are now open; you can enquire about joining our next cohort here. Application deadlines will vary depending on the cohort you are applying for and the programme start date.

This programme is for current and future CEOs of Multi-Academy Trusts or other federations.

Eligibility for this programme is based on your group of schools. We ask that that at least 70% of your schools are eligible or that your group of schools includes at least 10 eligible schools. Smaller MATs, with 3 or fewer schools, can access the programmes where it can be demonstrated that the leadership of your MAT is aligned with the mission of Ambition School Leadership – for more information on this please contact us at info@ambitionschoolleadership.org.uk.

  • What is included in the programme?

    The Chief Executives’ programme explores different contexts and provides input from successful executive school leaders and leading experts from the wider education and commercial sectors. It comprises: 

    • Three high-quality residential training events, featuring input from educational experts and successful MAT CEOs as well as a number of private sector organisations 
    • Further face-to-face training modules delivered regionally by expert partners, on wide-ranging topics including using data to drive school improvement, negotiation skills and strategic marketing and positioning for your MAT 
    • Organised visits to MATs across the country to observe best practice and build a collaborative network 
    • Online resources to reinforce your learning from face-to-face sessions 
    • The option to bring a colleague to selected sessions, to promote system-wide development 

  • How do the residentials work?

    Residential Training 1 (three days) focuses on creating a strong vision and upholding values:  

    • Set the vision, values and non-negotiables for your MAT and learn how to establish your role as CEO 
    • Take part in peer-to-peer dialogue - a space for critical challenge and shared learning  
    • Start developing a sustainable strategic plan, with insights from other sectors 

    Residential Training 2 (two days) takes a comprehensive look at governance and financial management: 

    • Find the right governance structures and governors for your MAT, guided by a cross-sector expert  
    • Explore economies of scale, using finance for effective decision making, reviewing accounts to understand performance and understanding and managing risk 

    Residential Training 3 (two days) focuses on understanding the legal side of HR, effective recruitment, and how MAT-wide policies can support the effective management of staff:  

    • Develop a strategy for effective recruitment and talent management, and form a strong succession plan that links to your MAT’s growth 
    • Identify and plan for the next steps in the development of both your leadership and your MAT 


  • "High impact. Left the weekend much more focused and with a clear strategy of how to improve my organisation." Helena Mills, Chief Executive, Burnt Mills Academy Trust

  • "The best thing has been the sharing of perspective with others and the likelihood of being part of a new, influential network of leaders." Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive, Brooke Weston Trust

  • "Do I wish I had done the training three years ago? Then the answer is yes." Adrian Rogers, Chief Executive, Chiltern Learning Trust