An innovative charitable trust will aim to improve education standards in the wake of further local government cuts.
Thought to be one of the first in the country, the Buckinghamshire Learning Trust is a collaboration between county council, schools and other education authorities targeted at helping children of all ages.
As a charity it will also have greater access to sources of funding unavailable to the local authority.
County council strategic director for children and young people, Sue Imbriano, said: “The establishment of the trust is a very exciting venture for education in Bucks.
“It is predicated on the whole system taking collective responsibility for standards across the authority and will draw on a wide range of expertise and knowledge in working to improve outcomes for all our children and young people.”
Trust CEO Raza Khan said: “What the council have done very cleverly here is by starting the trust they have reduced the risk of losing some of those services which no longer get money from government funding.”
Ms Imbriano, who began her current strategic role in 2002, said she viewed the trust as the next progressive step in better education services across the county.
“In 2002 we were very strong at supporting schools when they got into difficulties,” she said.
“What was missing for me was the sustainability. What we’re trying to do is encourage schools to collaborate with each other because there’s so much expertise there.”
Combining 300 education officials’ know-how, the trust’s chief aim is to narrow the gap between schools and ensure all are Ofsted rated ‘good’ or higher.
Mr Khan said a further aim is for schools who were struggling to be supported by those which also had in the past.
These schools benefit from ‘knowing the area, knowing the county and knowing the situation’.
The CEO said the trust would continue to provide statutory services for education such as helping schools get back on their feet which are struggling either financially but it will benefit from being able to provide a range of services that schools buy in.
Mr Khan added: “They can buy in work placement programmes, support with particular areas of the curriculum, meeting their training needs. It all adds up to quite a strong package of support here in the county.”