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Three top Suffolk high schools eye multi-academy trust plans

PUBLISHED: 20:25 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:23 27 September 2018

Kesgrave High School has been a standalone academy since 2011, but could form a wider multi-academy trust Picture: ARCHANT

Kesgrave High School has been a standalone academy since 2011, but could form a wider multi-academy trust Picture: ARCHANT

Plans are underway for three of east Suffolk’s biggest high schools to form a multi-academy trust which could also see their feeder primary schools united.

Kesgrave High School headteacher Nigel Burgoyne said the academy format was the direction schooling was heading Picture: SU ANDERSONKesgrave High School headteacher Nigel Burgoyne said the academy format was the direction schooling was heading Picture: SU ANDERSON

A consultation event was held at Kesgrave High School this evening where the vision for the school to form a multi-academy trust with Farlingaye and Bungay high schools was outlined.

A joint statement from the three schools said there was also interest from feeder primary schools in joining the trust.

“The trust will be small scale and local, with a philosophy of collaborative decision-making to ensure it serves the best interests of all its schools,” the statement said.

“Each school will maintain its own individual characteristics and identity.

Farlingaye High School could become part of a multi-academy trust with Kesgrave and Bungay high schools Picture: GREGG BROWNFarlingaye High School could become part of a multi-academy trust with Kesgrave and Bungay high schools Picture: GREGG BROWN

“We will use shared resources and savings to ensure financial stability.

“We will develop a strong sense of community, a wide range of enrichment activities and high aspirations for all pupils across our trust.

“Our ambition is to foster mental and physical wellbeing for our pupils and staff, with respectful, trusting relationships at the core of our work.”

All three high schools are already standalone academies in their own right, but it is understood becoming a multi-academy trust would help with sharing resources and training.

The consultation with parents is currently underway, with responses due back by October 18.

Those will then be assessed and further talks held on whether to progress.

If reaction is positive, it is expected the trust will launch sometime in 2019.

Kesgrave High School headteacher Nigel Burgoyne said: “I think it’s really important we work with our local primary schools, and an all through system works well in terms of understanding that transition from primary to secondary.”

Bungay headteacher Angelo Goduti said: “We are delighted to be consulting with like-minded, forward thinking schools.

“The prospect of formally working together in partnership presents a fantastic opportunity to develop the already strong relationships the schools have with one another and to enhance opportunities for students.”

Farlingaye is currently rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, while Kesgrave and Bungay have ‘good’ ratings.

Between them, the three high schools already serve more than 4,600 pupils in east Suffolk.

Becoming a multi-academy trust is set to unlock benefits, including easier recruitment of teachers, and will allow the schools to work collectively to access mental health practitioners where needed, and deliver stronger music and language classes for primary schools which may have had to cut back on them because of finances.

Dr Andy Sievewright, Farlingaye headteacher, said: “The head and governors of Farlingaye are looking forward to holding our own parent/carer consultation meeting on Friday afternoon this week, which we anticipate will allow stakeholders to engage with lively discussion of the exciting proposal that is in place.”

In October 2016 three primary schools in Kesgrave and Martlesham Heath – Cedarwood Primary School, Heath Primary School and Gorseland Primary School – began developing plans to form a multi-academy trust, but opted not to continue after the Department for Education raised concerns over viability.

In September last year Kesgrave headteacher Nigel Burgoyne said that a new secondary school set to be developed as part of the 2,000-home Adastral Park site could also be involved.

Kesgrave has been eyeing plans to become a multi-academy trust for the last two years, having launched a consultation in September 2016.

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