YPO spotlight on school autonomy

By Fiona Wilkins, Corporate Communications Manager

YPO, the UK’s largest public sector buying organisation, has teamed up with Freedom and Autonomy for Schools – National Association (FASNA) to participate in its ‘Using Autonomy’ campaign, an initiative which aims to stimulate debate around the future of schools and education. 

As part of the high profile national campaign launched this month, YPO was to feature in a joint FASNA and ITN Productions news and current affairs-style programme commissioned to explore how greater freedoms for schools can lead to better outcomes for pupils. The programme, presented by national newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky, explores the benefits of a school becoming an academy and joining a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) and includes key industry interviews and news-style reports along with sponsored editorial profiles.

YPO’s managing director Simon Hill said, “We’re excited to be involved in this initiative. It’s a challenging time for schools as they make big decisions on their future governance. As a public sector organisation with over 40 years’ experience working with more than 30,000 schools as a procurement partner, we’re keen to lead the debate in our sector and demonstrate how we’re already supporting thousands of schools as they switch to become self-governing.”

The objective of FASNA’s ‘Using Autonomy’ initiative is to heighten awareness among policy makers, politicians and the education sector about the current success stories of autonomous schools, and also to support schools seeking to convert to academy status. 

Simon Hill continued: “This entirely supports YPO’s efforts to raise awareness of the procurement expertise which is available to schools as they navigate new ways of working. Many don’t know that such specialists are on hand to save them time and money.”

Featured in the ‘Using Autonomy’ film are two of YPO’s newly recruited specialist team who ensure services and supplies meet the needs and the specific requirements of MATs. The footage shows how they work to create effective partnerships that help deliver education excellence as well as value for money. 

YPO is one of the first public sector organisations to create the role of a multi-academy trust relationship manager. Liann Read was recruited to forge relationships with the growing number of Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) across the country. 

“My role is to focus fully on the rapid evolution of MATs,” explains Liann. “Each MAT has different governance and its own ideas about how to help academies succeed. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to know we can work in partnership with the MATs in the back office, allowing academies to concentrate on teaching and attainment. Being involved in this high profile campaign will introduce YPO to even more MATs who can benefit from our partnership.”

YPO continues to lead and inform the debate on the future of schools and education through its strategic partnerships. The organisation also recently partnered with The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) to host a seminar to discuss the role of schools in building the Northern Powerhouse.