Julian Drinkall announced as CEO of Academies Enterprise Trust

Julian Drinkall has been announced as the new chief executive of the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), the country’s largest multi-academy trust.

He has officially been appointed chief executive designate, and will take over as CEO of the trust in the spring term, replacing Ian Comfort.

AET is a national network of 66 primary, special and secondary academies across the UK.

Drinkall takes up the new role from his previous position as chief executive of the Alpha Plus Group, which is one of the largest groups of independent schools in the UK, comprising 18 schools and colleges.

Prior to this, he was CEO of a number of global regions at Cengage Learning, an educational content, software and services company and, prior to that, CEO of Macmillan Education.

The past year has been a difficult one for the trust, with a critical letter from Ofsted in February saying AET was was failing too many pupils, with “mediocre” secondary academies, unacceptably low attendance and poor children doing particularly badly.

It has also seen a number of resignations, with former vice chair Ian Foster along with trustees Trevor Fulcher, Jerry Glazier, Stuart Green, Keith Lomax and Fr Adam Gaunt leaving in late May.

I share its commitment to achieving the highest standards in education

Drinkall’s appointment comes as the Academies Enterprise Trust develops its management team, which began with the appointment of its chair Jack Boyer OBE, earlier this year.

Alongside Julian Drinkall, Catherine Hastings has been recruited as AET’s Director of Communications, and further senior appointments are expected to follow.

Speaking of his new appointment, Drinkall said: “I share its commitment to achieving the highest standards in education.  I am looking forward to taking up this exciting new task.”

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