A Multi Academy Trust (MAT) of schools in Ponteland is now official.
Ponteland High and Ponteland Primary School, along with Darras Hall, Belsay, Heddon St Andrew’s CofE Primary Schools and Richard Coates CofE School, operated as Pele Trust from the start of the month.
They carried out concurrent stakeholder consultations in May and June 2017, after which the governing bodies of each school made a decision to move towards academy conversion.
However, the formation of Pele Trust was delayed due to a number of issues outside of their control – most notably the re-tendering of the new school and leisure complex in Ponteland.
The agreed purpose of the MAT is as follows: ‘To build a learning community, brought together by choice, that enables our schools to support and challenge each other to provide consistently outstanding education, whilst offering a stable pathway for students, parents and staff.
‘To have an influential voice and be instrumental in contributing to the development and enrichment of education in the North East of England.’
The directors have committed to formally reviewing the trust-wide admissions policy later this academic year.
During the consultations, it was proposed that parents who have a child in a Pele Trust primary school would be guaranteed a secondary place for their child at the Ponteland 11 to 18 school, should they wish to accept it.
Ponteland High School headteacher Kieran McGrane said: “It has taken longer than we would have liked, but in some ways this has been a blessing because it has allowed the schools involved to work together on some key issues and start forming the required relationships as a group of schools moving forward.
“We will be able to work more closely between the primary and secondary sectors to enable a smooth transition for pupils between the two, although we will ensure that each school’s own unique ethos and identity is protected.
“Being a MAT means we have a dedicated finance, HR and administration team, which frees up more time for headteachers and senior staff to focus on the education and care of our children.”