New mid-Norfolk academy trust ‘could safeguard village schools’

Beeston Primary is one of the schools planning to form the new academy trust.

Beeston Primary is one of the schools planning to form the new academy trust. - Credit: Archant © 2005

Five schools have announced plans to come together to form a new academy trust which could help safeguard the future of its smallest members.

Northgate High School and Dereham Sixth Form College, Garvestone Primary, Beeston Primary, Grove House Infant School, in Dereham, and Kings Park Infant School, also in Dereham, have told parents they intend to set up the Unity Academy Trust.

Garveston Primary currently has 53 pupils, and although it is due to grow to 70 next September, it would still be classed as a 'small school' by Norfolk County Council.

Headteacher Michelle Farnan said joining the trust would help ensure there was still a school in the village in years to come.

She said: 'We have had a school here since 1878, and we want to keep that going. Becoming part of the multi-academy trust will enable us to have that while working with people we have chosen to work with.

'From our point of view, it is an exciting thing to be involved in. Staff are very much on-board, and so far we have had very, very positive comments from parents, because they are committed to having a school in our village, and they trust us to do what's right for the school.'

She said joining a wider organisation would also give better training opportunities for staff, and more experiences for pupils.

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In a letter to parents and carers, Alan Jones, chair of governors at Northgate High, said: 'As a group of schools, we have a long history of working closely together and we are keen to build on this to ensure that we continue to provide all our children with the very best education.'

He said each school would continue to have its own local leadership and governing body, and there were no plans to change the name, logo, uniform or individual identity of each school.

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