ONE Forward As One CE Academy Trust

Our Story

In 1998, our CEO was Headteacher at St Paul’s CE Primary School in Bolton, which is now an Outstanding school. 

In 2009, St Paul’s was awarded National Support School status by the Department for Education, in recognition of the high academic standards that the school has had over the last two decades. As a national Support School, St Paul’s has generously provided support for schools across Greater Manchester ever since and staff are proud to have contributed to the improvement journey of those schools as they have subsequently been graded as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ in many areas. The success of this work, and the opportunity to offer more, to more children, inspired the Governing Body to form a Multi Academy Trust so that this work could be continued and in 2012, Forward As One was created. 

In 2013, St Paul’s was graded as Outstanding in all areas. We knew that this achievement came through not only determination that all could succeed, but through collaboration, through working with others and learning from others – those who were supported, plus the best schools all over the country and internationally. It was the relentless pursuit of excellence that was recognised when the school was mentioned by HMCI in his 2014 speech ‘The unlucky child’  


In 2015, Gorsefield Primary School in Radcliffe, Bury joined us as our first sponsored Academy. This school has been transformed; it is now a strong school with a strong staff which serves its pupil well.  

Once Gorsefield had been graded ‘Good’ in January 2018, the growth of our One Family began at pace.  

May 2018 St Peter’s Smithills Dean, Bolton joined as a strong school. 

Nov 2018 Lord St Primary (now Beacon), Bolton joined as a sponsored school as it was ‘Inadequate’. 

Jan 2019 Canon Johnson CE Primary, Ashton joined as a convertor school but was ‘Requires Improvement’. 

Jan 2019 Parochial CE Primary, Ashton joined as a strong school. 

Apr 2020 St James’ CE Primary joined as a strong school. 

Apr 2021 Greenhill Primary, Bury joined as a strong school. 

Feb 2022 St John with St Michael CE Lancashire joined as it was struggling post pandemic. 

Sep 2022 St Chad’s CE, Uppermill, and St Anne’s CE Lydgate transferred to Forward As One as strong school. St John’s Failsworth transferred as a sponsored school as it was graded inadequate. 

Sep 2023 St George’s, Mossley joined as a good school. 

May 2024 St. Paul's CE, Bury joined as a sponsored school.


We are very proud of our track record of improvement, as we are now 100% good or better.  

8 of our schools have been inspected in the academic year 2022/23  

2 moved from inadequate to good, one from RI to good  

As a trust we continue to learn through collaboration between not only our own schools, but also across the country and overseas in our relentless pursuit of improvement, constantly looking forward – as one.