Much-loved local school trust CEO to retire this August

By Jessica Durston - 13 February 2023

  • George Croxford

    George Croxford

George Croxford, CEO of Ascend Learning Trust, will be retiring from his position later in the Summer.

Mr Croxford set up the multi-academy Trust in the May of 2017. 

George said he began his career teaching PE and wrote a successful bid for Wyvern Community School in Weston Super Mare to become a Sports College.

He then moved to Hartcliffe in Bristol where he led a complete transformation of Hartcliffe School moving results from 19% 5A-C to 63% 5 A -C.

In the January of 2010, he became Headteacher for the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy (RWBA). He was said to have lead the Academy to Outstanding ratings in every category of its OFSTED inspection, twice.

Staff at the Academy say that through George’s leadership and excellent working relationships with his staff, the school soon gained a reputation among parents as one of the best secondary schools in the area, with many pupils traveling a distance just to enrol.

The school became a National Teaching School and George became a National Leader of Education working with several schools to move them from 'Special Measures' to 'Good' at Ofsted.

George then chose to give up his position as Headteacher in the April of 2020 to focus solely on his role as CEO of the Ascend Learning Trust. 

During his time at RWBA, George was shortlisted for Best Secondary School Headteacher in 2019 by the Pearson National Teaching Awards. He was also said to be responsible for RWBA being named one of the best in the South West region by The Sunday Times. 

George Croxford said: “I felt now, whilst the Trust is thriving, was the best time for my retirement. Ascend Learning Trust has become a community in which each Academy are working alongside one another to achieve excellence in education.

"The Executive Team and I have worked together to build a foundation to help each school excel and build up an outstanding reputation.”

"My time at Ascend Learning Trust has been challenging but exciting. We started  with two schools in 2017and now fiveyears later the Trust has grown to seven schools with the same very clear aims. . I wish the staff and pupils the very best in their future within the Trust.”

Ascend Learning Trust now has seven Academies within the Trust. The Academies based in Swindon, Royal Wootton Bassett, Tidworth, and Calne, work together, sharing their leadership principles and management processes.

The Trust, aims to ensure that all staff and pupils are equipped to deliver the highest level of performance. Trust-wide events are viewed as a way to form a community - and this year they are holding various ‘Rise Up’ events  (Festivals) termly around the Academies, as well as a Trust Continued Professional Development Conference  for all its 850 staff.

Chair of Ascend Learning Trust, Nathan Coombs said: “George has shown exceptional leadership and has been just the right person in the Trust to allow it grow from two schools originally, to the seven that we currently manage. With George’s vision and support to the other senior leaders in our schools and academies he has shown how every child can be nurtured and achieve their potential.

"It is with much gratitude that as a Trust we thank George for his many years of service. Whilst he may be stepping down from his role as CEO his wealth of educational experience will certainly be valuable to others. We wish him well for any future endeavours.”

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