Three Suffolk high schools win approval to form new trust – see when it launches and who is involved
Three popular high schools across east Suffolk have had their plans to form a multi-academy trust approved, which will help safeguard under-threat subjects.
Kesgrave, Bungay and Farlingaye high schools – which between them serve more than 4,600 pupils – will form the new East Anglian Schools Trust from September this year, after the Department for Education approved the trio’s bid last month.
Scoping and preparation work has been underway for more than six months, which included consultation events with parents at each of the schools.
Chiefs for the new trust say each school’s unique identity will not be lost, but shared resources and expertise will help protect subjects like the arts, design and technology and modern foreign languages which are being hit hardest by government budget cuts.
Nigel Burgoyne, Kesgrave High School headteacher and chief executive of the new trust, said: “We are launching in September 2019 so we have got the summer term to do the transfer process.
“An important message we want to say is we want the schools to stay on the ground with their identities, their uniform and so on, but it will give us a chance to protect and enhance the curriculum diversity.”
Squeezed budgets from central government and a revamp of the curriculum to place more emphasis on subjects like maths and English has posed a threat to the level of teaching for modern foreign languages and arts subjects across schools nationwide.
Mr Burgoyne said that the ability for the three schools to pool resources would help protect those subjects.
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“Costs mean many schools are having to give up things, in particular design and technology, the arts and foreign languages, which our schools are really keen to protect,” he said.
“It’s about sharing resources and staff expertise to support each other, and I think it very much helps us to train and retain the best teachers.”
Academies are funded directly from central government rather than local authorities, and have greater freedom over the curriculum, hours in the school day and expansion or building plans.
Among the other benefits multi-academy trusts can take advantage of are better access to mental health practitioners, greater spending power, ability to share staffing and shared accountability.
It is not yet clear if there are plans for other schools to join the trust further down the line.