THOUSANDS of children will benefit from seamless education as 11 schools formally unite into a multi academy trust.
The new St Hilda’s Catholic Academy Trust will become one of the largest on Teesside.
From November 1, Trinity Catholic College and ten catholic primary schools will become a multi-academy trust bringing together more than 4,000 children and hundreds of staff into one umbrella organisation.
Education experts Avec Partnership have been working with the schools since January to bring off the landmark arrangement. The scheme has been greeted positively following an extensive consultation.
Over the past five years the regional consultancy has helped 86 schools across the North make the conversion from local authority management to self-governing academy, with St Hilda’s becoming its largest project to date.
Also involved in the St Hilda’s MAT initiative are Corpus Christi Primary School, Sacred Heart RC Primary School, St Alphonsus’ RC Primary School, St Augustine’s RC Primary School, St Bernadette’s RC Primary School, St Clare’s RC Primary School, St Edward’s RC Primary School, St Gerard’s RC Primary School, St Joseph’s RC Primary School and St Thomas More RC Primary School.
Under the new arrangements the MAT will have a single board of trustees overseeing learning for more than 4,000 students aged three to 19, with individual management boards focussing on local issues in each school.
The schools have been working together informally for the past four years as part of the Trinity Partnership with joint training and professional development and working groups looking at issues such as inclusion and the transition from primary to secondary education.
Avec Partnership director Sarah Monk said the move was in line with a Government drive to encourage schools to become multi academy trusts.
She said: “By grouping together there are many benefits to be enjoyed including economies of scale and shared expertise and best practice.
Board member and principal of Trinity Catholic College Peter Coady agreed saying: “It is a really exciting opportunity for the Catholic community of Middlesbrough to bring together all the many wonderful aspects of each of our schools to provide three to 19 education for all of our children.”
Operations director John O’Boyle said: “Ultimately this is about offering children the very best possible start to their lives through seamless education, collective faith and an ethos that ensures Gospel values.
“Key elements will be curriculum continuity and progression. It will reduce any chances of drop-off when children make the vital transition from primary to secondary education.”
Board member and head teacher of Sacred Heart Primary School Carol Walker added: “This will formalise management arrangements that have been developing over recent years.
“This will give us so much more opportunity to work collaboratively allowing the children to continue their journey through Catholic education even more smoothly.”