Imagine a delegation from a developing country visiting London to learn how to create a successful metropolis. They could admire our cultural attractions, our vibrant neighbourhoods, our international businesses. We could dazzle them with our sky-scrapers, our stadia and our calendar of sporting and cultural events. But these visible symbols represent the trappings of success, not the underlying foundations. They might indicate success, but they don’t enable success.
Rather than looking up at these trappings of success, our delegation might learn more from the infrastructure beneath their feet: a tube network which handles almost 5 million journeys a day, a sewage system which hygienically disposes the waste of ten million people, a network of cables which connects millions of homes and businesses to an endless supply of cheap electricity and broadband.
One of the toughest decisions for a multi-academy trust is where to draw the line between central prescription and local autonomy. I’ve…
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