The Confederation of School Trusts (CST) is the national organisation and sector body for school trusts in England advocating for, connecting and supporting executive and governance leaders.

We are a membership organisation of organisations. This means that the organisation – the Trust – is the member.

When your Trust joins the CST, we will support the whole executive team, the trustees and the trust board as a corporate entity.

We think the term ‘confederation’ accurately reflects the fact that we represent organisations rather than individuals. We have taken this term from two great British institutions:

  • Hospital trusts have the NHS Confederation
  • Business and industry have the CBI – the Confederation of British Industry

Like the CBI or NHS Confederation, CST is the voice of school trusts at a regional and national level.

Several voices are louder than one. We want to create a forum for school trusts to belong to something bigger than themselves in order to speak authoritatively to government.

We are strictly apolitical. We work with the government of the day, political parties and politicians across the spectrum to advance education in the public interest.

What we believe – the importance of trust

The legal basis of all academies and multi-academy trusts in the country is the charitable trust. We are accustomed to using the word ‘trust’ to describe this legal vehicle. But trust means so much more. As the new shape of our education system emerges, we believe that it is important to give priority to three other meanings of trust.

Trust as a relational principle

Our education system must reclaim trust as a relational principle. All school trusts must should have as a core focus the behaviours and actions everyone will take to build trust – with children and young people, parents and the community and wider society. Trust as a relational principle should also be at the contractual heart of employer-employee relationship. The principle of trust should represent an objective reality in our education system that transcends cultures and organisations. It is at the heart of education as a public good.

Trust as a core value

Trust is an essential human value that quantifies and defines our interdependence in relationships with others. As a value, trust should help us determine the rightfulness or wrongfulness of our actions.

Trust as a promise

Holding trust on behalf of children: when we establish an academy or multi-academy trust, we are effectively making a promise to hold trust with and on behalf of children. Kofi Annan said in The State of the World’s Children (2000): “There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace.”