Trust Values

We believe that well being, enjoyment, wider opportunities, greater progress and attainment can be achieved through strong collaboration and empowerment between schools, the Trust central team and local agencies/partners across the local area. In the Tarka Learning Partnership the Trust central team, school leaders, teachers, support staff and representatives come together to share strategic thinking and expertise. By combining talents and skills we support each other always being open to challenge. Key to our organisation is school improvement through high outcomes across the breadth of school improvement, e.g. HR, teaching and learning, estates management, financial management, IT/Data management, etc. We can do this best if we thoroughly understand the context of each school.

Trust Strategy and Values explained…


Reflection is a key skill in all aspects of professional development, expecting each participant to listen carefully and reflect on dialogue and/or experience to develop further. It is a continual process and hopefully a habit-forming trait which directly impacts on the outcomes for young people and staff.

Listening: Knowing every School their Staff, Young People and Community

A commitment by the Trust to value every school and partner, their staff, children and community by giving time to understand their individual needs and value their contribution, including through providing meaningful opportunities to communicate and visit throughout the year, and providing bespoke support to schools/partners, which is specific to the needs of the school/partner and its community or situation.


As a Trust we strongly believe in the empowerment of others; the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially through professional development. As a result of our combined efforts and skills we grow beyond the sum of our parts through collaboration and the belief that when we empower, we develop the organisation as a whole and therefore pupil learning in a sustained way.


Honesty and integrity in all we do

To provide an open trusting working relationship where the Tarka Learning Partnership works openly with partner schools and their staff. All employees of the Trust are expected to be honest and conduct themselves to the highest professional standards and in accordance with the Nolan Principles of Public Life. The Seven Principles of Public Life – GOV.UK (


Innovation is crucial to the way in which any high performing organisation works, being prepared to reflect, learn and change. The culture of the organisation neds to be open to innovation, being prepared to foster and develop new ideas, especially when they have a positive impact on pupil learning and wellbeing.

Valuing Diversity, Challenging Injustice

Inclusion forms a central strand of the Trust’s work with schools and all employees of the partnership will embrace and champion diversity and work with partners to the highest standards of professional behaviour. The Trust and its partners must challenge any form of discrimination or injustice of the protected characteristics and be prepared to look at its own processes and culture to ensure diversity is valued and supported. Diversity enriches life, promoting quality outcomes for all. We need to look through the lens of the many to ensure the full inclusion of all.


Aspiration is a key driver in the Tarka Learning Partnership. It is critical to the wellbeing of young people, staff and their futures. If we are committed to empowerment as part of the learning journey then we raise aspiration; a shared commitment to a better future. It is particularly important to bring pupils and staff closer to what is possible, to show them what can be achieved and empower them to do so.

Challenge and Support

School improvement is a complex process and depends on many factors such as resources including people. Underperformance should be readily challenged and high outcomes celebrated. Trust staff should both challenge and support young people to do their best, striving to empower them to become lifelong learners.

Valuing the Well Being of Staff, Trainees and Young People

The partnership will strive to be the employer of choice in the area and will commit to supporting, with other agencies, the health and wellbeing of both pupils and staff through: Supporting the development of school/trust buildings and staff working environments; high quality relationships with schools/partners built on trust and mutual respect; opportunities to praise individual staff and school/partner outcomes; developing services/provision to support employee welfare and pupil wellbeing; constant review of employment policies and support services for staff.

Relentless pursuit of high-quality leadership and teaching & learning through CPD, opportunity and coaching

The focus of this partnership will be on raising the quality of leadership and teaching & learning in each school. The belief here is that if you promote staff welfare, provide high quality training & coaching and the school/partner supports a high-quality learning environment, high standards of teaching and learning are likely to follow. Opportunities will be given to staff/schools to lead on aspects across the Trust as well as develop their careers across the partnership.

High Quality Coaching/CPD to Grow Schools and their Staff

The Trust fundamentally believes that improving the quality of leadership and teaching comes from deploying bespoke challenge, advice and support through the ‘learning conversation.’ The learning conversation is a method of coaching developed by Devon Primary SCITT. Other methods of coaching in schools are supported where outcomes are high.

Expertise will be shared across the schools ensuring that all schools have access to outstanding practice. The Partnership will look to fund specialist teachers and leaders to work across schools to provide richer curricular experiences for our pupils.

There will be opportunities for shared professional development, whether led internally or inviting in outside bodies. We would use professional development time to moderate between the year groups of the differing schools and shared subject expertise.

All of this will be achieved while retaining and celebrating the unique ethos and nature of each Trust school/partner.

Raising pupil/trainee outcomes in all respects

The Trust will, with schools and other partners, define exactly what it means by a high quality learning environment and high standards of teaching and learning, so that it is clear to all partners and that assessments of school/partner performance can be made on a similar basis. The Ofsted definition of ‘outstanding’, whilst important to take into consideration, when looking at school/partner performance there are other factors which should be included and are less explicit in the Ofsted inspection handbooks e.g. opportunities for residential education, aspects of pupil/trainee welfare etc. These additional, but important factors, will determine what the Trust sees as a high quality learning environment. The Trust will set a clear set of Tarka standards in assessing a school’s success and providing clear direction to improve.

Reflective questions – our guiding principles

When the Trust team, school leaders Trustees or governors are interacting professionally then each person should be committed to school improvement meetings/activities by reflecting on our set of questions, which in turn support our values, such as have we listened to the views of others and tried to see it from their viewpoint? ​Have we challenged and supported where needed?​ Have we raised aspirations?  ​

Efficient use of Resources

We believe that the Tarka Learning Partnership will enable the schools/partners to tackle recruitment challenges and retain and develop staff from Initial Teacher Training to senior leadership. The MAT will encourage retention of staff through providing new opportunities, and plan effectively for succession.

We will look to economies of scale, collective purchase and other financial efficiencies. The Trust will also challenge partners where provision of resources is insufficient to support the Trust’s vision, meet Trust standards and/ or meet legal compliance standards.