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Leigh Academies Trust

The multi-academy trust uses Thrive's smooth implementation to launch an innovative digital learning strategy to thousands of employees.
Uniting 31 schools from across Kent, South East London and Medway, Leigh Academies Trust’s mission is to deliver “education for a better world.” Their purpose is one of inclusivity: Their multi-academy trust comprises primary, secondary and special academies to ensure every student is set up with the very best start in life - regardless of their needs or background. At the heart of the trust, a 3,000+ strong team keeps the operation running smoothly. Leigh Academies Trust recognises that in order to prioritise the development of their students, they first need to prioritise the development of their staff. That’s where Thrive comes in.
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Compliance training

Education for everyone

Leigh Academies Trust is a vast, wide-reaching organisation with no plans of slowing down. The trust comprises 31 schools made up of 20,000 students, and it was essential that their learning platform was able to support this scale - even as it grew.

Richard Taylor (People and Communications Director) and Adam Waters (Learning & Development Manager) knew their current learning platform wasn’t up to the standard they needed for their staff: Adoption was low, and as an organisation with learning at the very heart of their mission they needed a learning platform that reflected that.


91% user adoption

2 weeks

More learning completions in first 2 weeks of Thrive compared to 1 year of using previous platform

10,000 +

10,000 content views

An unfair competition

Knowing that the marketplace was crowded, Richard decided to speak to his peers in other academies to gain recommendations for their sector - and Thrive kept coming up in the conversation.

The multiple reviews were too much to ignore, and after seeing Thrive’s impressive roster of customers Richard and his team booked a demo.

The highly personalised and accessible demo from Account Executive Danny Braithwaite was, in Richard’s words, “unfair for the competition.” Danny helped the Leigh Academies Trust team visualise their learning and development strategy in a vivid and tangible way, answering every question they had and even building them their own portal full of all the information they might need going forward.

Finally, the price transparency and value for money clinched the deal.

“When we initially went into the process, we expected Thrive to be the most expensive, based on what we’d seen in terms of the quality of the platform. But actually, it came out the most cost-effective.”

- Richard Taylor, People and Communications Director at Leigh Academies Trust

Going into the partnership with Thrive, the team at Leigh Academies Trust had some understandable concerns about the sheer scale of their operation. Would the all-important implementation go to plan, and launch successfully in time?

The power of a successful implementation

A successful and smooth implementation of Leigh Academy Trust’s new learning platform was the key to pulling off a September launch.

The turnaround was tight. With all their teachers coming back from summer break for the INSET Day in September, the platform needed to be up and running to support their staff in the new academic year.

Not only that, but it was extremely important to Richard and his team that the teachers would not return to a blank platform. It needed to serve as an inviting, engaging prospect packed with helpful content for their teachers.

The process was made easy with Thrive’s laser-focused, structured approach; a match made in heaven for a meticulous operation like Leigh Academies Trust.

Steps for a smooth implementation

So, how did Thrive and Leigh Academies Trust approach this crucial step in the process? There were a few key factors that contributed to a smooth, seamless implementation.

Account Executive:

Thanks to their personal Account Executive Danny, the implementation started early - during the sales process. Through the highly personalised portal, the team was able to get to grips with the functionality so that when it came to the implementation itself, they could navigate their way around the platform with ease.

Dedicated Implementation Specialist:

With a dedicated Implementation Specialist in Georgia Avery, Richard and his team could relax knowing that a typically stressful task (i.e. migrating everything onto a new learning platform and rolling it out to thousands of staff) would be made easy. Georgia’s approach was purposely hands-on, which allowed her to collaborate with the trust and show them exactly how to handle each step.

And thanks to the early access they had to Thrive’s wealth of resources, they were able to take their training into their own hands to understand every facet of the platform before launch.

Working together to establish needs and time-frames:

Throughout the entire implementation process, Thrive stayed in close contact with the team to make sure they were supported every step of the way. It was important that everybody understood what was needed, the expected time-frame, the steps to take post-launch, and the success metrics by which to measure them. Their Thrive Customer Success Team helped them establish what was important to them, including user completions, engagement, User Generated Content and social interaction.

Thrive’s implementation team served as an extension of Leigh Academy Trust’s internal team. The trust leant on their experience and knowledge to get everything done in a timely manner - and that’s how together, they were able to pull off a September launch.

At the moment of launch just before INSET Day, the team crossed their fingers and held their breath as they hoped for a smooth roll out…

A successful launch

… Luckily, the launch went off without a hitch, allowing the Leigh Academies Trust team to breathe a sigh of relief.

With students to teach, lessons to plan and a never-ending stream of homework to mark, teachers are incredibly busy people. The Leigh Academies Trust team had some trepidation that the learning platform would serve as just another item on their ever-growing to-do list - but luckily, their concerns were put at ease upon the launch of Thrive.

It was clear from the get-go that their teachers and staff truly understood the value of the platform, immediately engaging with the content that came pre-loaded thanks to the team at Thrive Content. The teachers could use the two INSET Days to focus their attention on their own learning before turning it to their students.

Richard and his team wanted to make sure they created a buzz around the launch of Thrive, and cement in people’s minds that this was completely different from the uninspiring platform they’d left behind. They kicked things off by uniting everyone with competitions and interactive challenges, which got the staff engaging with the platform from day one.

Results that can’t be ignored


Engagement was at the top of their list when it came to success metrics - a factor that had been sorely lacking with previous platforms.

Richard reviewed the analytics two weeks post-launch, and noticed that in just those two short weeks, they had gained more learning completions than in an entire year using their previous platform.

By Richard’s own estimate, this is thanks to Thrive’s ease of use. Staff simply enjoy using the platform, meaning that they are regularly completing both essential learning and courses they’ve sought out completely independently.

For an organisation whose staff are spread out across multiple academies and counties, it was imperative that the platform help bring them together in a safe online space. Thrive was the only platform that allowed the trust to do this with ease, and encouraged the social engagement and knowledge sharing that they knew was essential to their learning strategy.

Fundamentally, this is what the trust is about: Learning and development.

Saving time

Time is their teacher’s most precious resource, so it was essential that any training went towards saving it. Thrive allowed them to introduce compliance training in a new, engaging format that could be quickly and thoroughly completed. This allowed the teachers more time to focus on localised issues when they returned to work.

Measuring effectiveness

Thrive’s Data and Analytics allowed Richard to hone in on his learners’ behaviour, truly analyse the effectiveness of the learning, and adjust accordingly. Within his Thrive Analytics Dashboard, he could see how many people were active, within what period, and behaviours broken down into time slots.

The team could then leverage this data to understand which academies within the trust were engaging with the platform well, and who needed more guidance.

Ongoing support

How do you ensure a successful implementation continues post-launch?

With their dedicated Customer Success Manager Steph and an entire Support team at their disposal, Leigh Academies Trust is able to tackle any issues that might arise - no matter how big or small.

Adam Waters

L&D Manager at Leigh Academies Trust

"Having worked in other organisations in the past with various different Learning Management Systems or Learning Experience Platforms, without a doubt Thrive is the most user-friendly, modern and intuitive platform that I’ve experienced. The team that sits behind it is really one of the biggest sellers; the support that you get is on a different level."

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