Schools agree to form federation

TWO schools in a deprived part of Essex are to work together to offer pupils a better education for pupils.

Elliot Furniss

TWO schools in a deprived part of Essex are to work together to offer pupils a better education for pupils.

Colbayns High School and Bishops Park College in west Clacton have agreed to form a federation that will “protect the uniqueness of the two schools” but see them share administrative duties and a governing body.

Starting in September, the schools will some under the West Clacton Education Partnership banner, a move that has the backing of local education authority Essex County Council.


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Simon Walsh, the council's cabinet member for schools, children and families, said he was confident the plans would lead to improvement at both schools.

He added: “There is a longer term need, because of declining pupil numbers, to reduce overall capacity in the area, but the first priority is to ensure Bishops Park improves and is removed from special measures.”

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The multi-million pound Bishops Park campus was earmarked for closure earlier this year but is now under the executive leadership of Colbayns head Nick Pavitt, a change that has led to considerable progress being made.

The school was opened to great fanfare less than five years ago by Tony Blair himself, but falling pupil numbers had led to questions about its future.

Mr Pavitt, 55, wrote to parents of the 1,800 students from the two sites last week to inform them that a six-week consultation process had concluded with a unanimous resolution to press on with the federation.

Yesterday, he said the decision was in the best interest of the pupils and would offer more choice and opportunities for every student.

He said: “It's good news not only for Bishops Park, but for the whole of west Clacton. Children should get a better deal, all the way across the area.

“I'm very positive. In west Clacton there is a falling roll and it makes sense to not be in competition with each other. We need to make sure both schools are viable - parents will still have a choice for which school they want to apply to.”

He said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time in charge of both schools and if the possibility to continue in the role as a permanent executive head was to arise, he would like to take on the challenge.

He added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank parents, staff and local partners for their ongoing support and commitment to our young people in West Clacton.

“Both schools are firmly committed to providing the best possible level of care and to raising standards.”

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