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Oasis names new CEO to succeed John Murphy

54-school trust appoints new chief executive following four-month search led by advisory firm

54-school trust appoints new chief executive following four-month search led by advisory firm

18 Dec 2023, 12:00

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Oasis Community Learning has named its new CEO, after a four-month search for long-serving chief John Murphy’s successor.

John Barneby has been selected to move into the top job on a permanent basis, having been the 54-school trust’s interim boss for the last three months.

He took the temporary job at the beginning of September in the wake of Murphy’s decision to step down from the position he held for nine years.

In a joint statement, Oasis board chair Caroline Taylor, Oasis group CEO Dave Parr and Steve Chalke, the charity’s founder, said they were “moved” by Barneby’s “vision for the future”.

Leading Oasis Community Learning is one of the most exciting jobs in education, so we are not surprised to have had such a talented field of candidates.

“This is an exciting time for Oasis, as we continue the search for our new chief education officer who will work alongside John, giving us both the organisational and educational leadership necessary to transform our schools and to play a key role in the Oasis mission to build stronger communities.”  

New Oasis Community Learning CEO has IT background

The search for Murphy’s replacement was led by specialists from Saxton Bampfylde, a leadership advisory firm. OCL said the process took four months and involved “16 steps”.

Some interview panels included pupils from the trust’s academies, while others featured regional directors, school principals, Chalke and board members.

Former Oasis chief John Murphy

Barneby’s LinkedIn page shows he worked as a technical services manager for European Electronique between 2005 and 2008.

He was then employed as OCL’s head of IT services, before being promoted to COO in 2014 and becoming interim CEO earlier this year.

“This year will be my 15th year at Oasis and I can honestly say that I feel more committed than ever to delivering our vision for education and healthy communities, by creating places where everyone is included, making a contribution and reaching their God given potential,” Barneby said.

“Working in education is such a privilege and seeing the difference our amazing teams are making to bring greater equity and life choices to our students feels more like a mission for life, than a job.”

OCL is England’s fifth-largest trust, behind United Learning Trust, Reach2 Academy Trust, Academies Enterprise Trust and Harris Federation.

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