About United Learning

United Learning is a strong, very well-run, academically rigorous trust with high standards across all areas. It is inclusive, offers outstanding extra-curricular opportunities, strong pastoral care, and excellent staff development and teacher training.

There are over 80 schools in United Learning, each with its own identity and ethos that chime with the community it serves – context matters, and one size does not fit all.

It runs a mix of fee-paying independent schools and state-funded academies including Guildford High School, Paddington Academy, Newstead Wood School and The Hurlingham Academy. Each of these, for example, is excellent in its own right and has its own very specific identity and ethos but is strengthened by the support and collaboration it receives as part of the Trust.

United Learning provides its schools with central resource and support – both educationally and in wider functions – where they need it. But the Trust is equally clear that, in areas where a school is already excellent, its role is to encourage and facilitate it to continue to thrive.

Its school improvement approach offers a range of models for collaboration bringing benefits to staff and students: opportunities for professional development and progression for staff through strong local and national networks at all levels; opportunities for students that go beyond what any single school could offer – for example, programmes bringing students from different schools together to challenge themselves in different ways; Trust-wide musical performances in major venues like the Lyceum Theatre, Southwark Cathedral and Copper Box Arena.

Headteachers run their schools and make decisions in the interests of what is right for the children and young people in their schools. United Learning puts children first; but its scale provides significant capacity to get behind schools and support them to succeed.

United Learning has four strategic aims:

  • Great places to learn – because of the educational quality of its schools, their development of the whole person and the preparation they offer for life, the pastoral care they offer and the quality of the environment and relationships.
  • Great places to work – because its schools offer an excellent professional experience, high-quality relationships with students and other colleagues, excellent professional growth and opportunities, and a high-quality working environment and resources.
  • A great Group to join – because of the quality of support it offers schools with compliance, the “back office”, education and school improvement and the high-quality collaboration between schools.
  • A great contribution beyond the Group – because United Learning has a commitment to local communities, the national education system, and the wider world.
  • As part of being great places to learn and to work, United Learning schools share a set of common principles which the Trust calls its “Framework for Excellence”. These five principles are:
  • The best from everyone. United Learning’s goal is to bring out the best in everyone – so the best is expected from everyone.
  • Powerful knowledge. The Trust aims to empower young people to be the authors of their own life story, through giving them the knowledge and understanding they need.
  • Education with character. United Learning seeks to develop the whole person – so that young people’s cognitive development is matched by their roundedness and maturity.
  • Leadership in every role. Every adult in school is a leader – the Trust wants them to have agency and take responsibility – and for young people to do so too.
  • Continuous improvement. However good the Trust and its schools are, they can be better, and United Learning takes conscious steps to become so.