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ODST history and growth

The Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) was set up in July 2012 by the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education (ODBE) to provide an effective vehicle for schools in the Diocese of Oxford to come together in order to raise educational standards.

The Trust has experience of running small rural schools and large city schools, in both challenging and affluent communities, and is open to both church and community schools. We are keen to maintain a balance of different schools to enrich our ODST community.

Growth of ODST has been carefully managed to ensure sufficient capacity and capability to support new schools and to ensure sustainable development. The Trust has a robust and well-considered growth strategy, to ensure effective growth is balanced with strong service delivery. This follows the Diocesan tradition of service to the community and is at the heart of our mission.

The ODST journey


ODST was set up by the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education (ODBE) in response to the needs of The John Henry Newman Academy in Oxford.

It was quickly established that other schools in the Diocese would also need an academy sponsor and by 2014 ODST was a small MAT of 5 schools. 


Sponsorship of a school in Windsor, and the need to support it with other good and outstanding schools nearby in a ‘Hub’ format. Oxford and Thames hub formed.

West Oxfordshire Hub launched, which grew quickly to 8 schools judged good or outstanding by Ofsted.

North Oxfordshire Hub launched.


Three schools in South Oxon join ODST, creating a new fifth hub, and the total number of schools in the ODST family to 32 primary, infant, junior or middle schools.


ODST becomes the first Multi-Academy Trust to take part in the new Ofsted MAT evaluation. ODST received positive feedback with strengths highlighted including school empowerment and collaboration, safeguarding, solid governance and oversight of finance.

In November, ODST opened a new central office based at St Mary's Convent, Wantage.


ODST began 2020 by welcoming two schools into the Trust; Blewbury CE Primary and Christopher Rawlins CE Primary.

From March 2020 onwards, ODST supported schools through the Covid-19 pandemic, including guidance on health and safety and online learning, emergency governance arrangements, HR support and online CPD programmes for staff.

In November 2020, ODST welcomed its first 'new' school - St Frideswide CE Primary in Oxford.

In June 2021, ODST Chair of Trustees Kathy Winrow was awarded an MBE for services to education.


ODST welcomed three Reading-based schools: New Town Primary School, St John's CE Primary School, and New Christ Church CE Primary School joined, as their former trust became part of ODST, bringing the family of ODST schools up to 41.

The ODST professional development offer was strengthened with the addition of the NPQSL, run by ODST but welcoming aspiring leaders from outside the trust too, from schools all over the South East.