Staff were welcomed back to school with thanks for their vital role in driving up standards across CET’s 11 academies.

Chief Executive Lorrayne Hughes outlined plans for the 2021/22 academic year in a video message for more than 700 members of staff participating in two INSET days before the return to the classroom of students and pupils on Monday.

Mrs Hughes said there was much to look forward to.

She said: “We start this academic year with optimism. The last 18 months have been like no other. We have all had to dig deep to rise to the challenges we faced.  We should be duly proud. We worked together as one and as a result we were stronger.

“For 2021/22 our theme continues with sustained school improvement being our primary focus. At CET we are striving to grow, improve and ultimately offer all our young people a great education.

“The one priority that will drive right through the trust this year is to raise standards, opportunities and aspirations across all trust schools.

“We want our children to have fun, to love their education, that’s what it’s all about.”

Mrs Hughes stressed that each individual had an important part to play and it was vital to have staff who felt valued, effective and were continually developing.

She said: “It’s absolutely crucial that everyone sees how they can contribute to making the schools and the trust better.

“We are responsible for educating 4,500 young people and not only can you impact in your own school, but you can impact across the trust. By being part of CET, you are shaping the future for a lot of children within Cumbria. You’ve all got so much to bring to the table.

“We need to be a great employer, investing in you, our staff and we need to be innovative and outward facing. Learning from the best within the trust but also looking out to what else is happening beyond CET.”

Mrs Hughes said the trust would continue to encourage inspirational teaching and learning, work collaboratively and innovatively and implement a diverse and creative rich curriculum.

All staff were encouraged to foster a culture that is open, honest and challenging, with relevant and accessible training and development. She also said it was important to nurture great leaders and understand learning from stakeholder feedback.

There was a special mention for more than 60 new members of staff who joined CET over the summer and for the Learning Provision teams who will be taking part in a focussed workshop.

And there were thanks for the 150-plus staff who have worked on the development of CET’s 3-18 curriculum.

“We are starting to have that CET curriculum that we are all proud of, so a huge thank you for what’s already been done and what we are going to achieve.”

Mrs Hughes concluded: “Let’s make 2021/22 the best year ever. Thank you for your part in making CET and our schools a great place to be.”