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Name for proposed academy trust has link to Pont heritage

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

Schools in Ponteland and the surrounding area that plan to form a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) have revealed the name of the organisation and they have appointed its board of directors.

The proposed MAT would see Ponteland High and Ponteland Primary School, along with Darras Hall, Belsay, Heddon St Andrew’s CofE Primary Schools and Richard Coates CofE School, operate as Pele Trust.

Back row, from left, headteachers Clare Cantwell (Belsay), Heather Cape (Richard Coates) Lynn Blain (Ponteland Primary), Victoria Parr (Darras Hall) and Andrew Wheatley (Heddon St Andrew's). Front row, from left, Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham, Ponteland High School headteacher, Kieran McGrane, and Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council.

Back row, from left, headteachers Clare Cantwell (Belsay), Heather Cape (Richard Coates) Lynn Blain (Ponteland Primary), Victoria Parr (Darras Hall) and Andrew Wheatley (Heddon St Andrew's). Front row, from left, Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham, Ponteland High School headteacher, Kieran McGrane, and Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council.

Acknowledging the heritage of the area – a pele tower that dates back to the 14th Century is located in the centre of Ponteland – Pele Trust also affirms its two-tier ethos in its two purple and gold brand colours.

It was granted an Academy Order by the Department for Education last October and expects a decision on its conversion to MAT status in the summer term.

The board of directors, appointed in preparation for the trust becoming fully operational later this year if the application is successful, is led by chairman Gerry Miller and includes representatives from the education sector, business, Church of England and the local community.

Ponteland High School headteacher, Kieran McGrane, said: “Pele Trust will be the overarching organisation to operate the schools in its care, but we intend to ensure that each school’s own unique ethos and character is protected.

“We wanted to nod to our roots here in Northumberland with our name, as we have one of the finest pele towers here in Ponteland, but also to ensure we took a modern forward-thinking outlook in our communications with this new brand identity.

“Pele Trust is effectively the business that will run the schools and will have a dedicated finance, HR and administration team, which would free up more time for headteachers and senior staff to focus on the education and care of our children.

“We are delighted at the calibre and experience of our board of directors and look forward to their involvement in our future plans.”

The area’s MP, Guy Opperman, is among the local politicians who have given their backing to the trust.

He said: “Pele Trust brings together six good and outstanding schools in the Ponteland area who have chosen to join together to share their experience and expertise – with the aim of further improving educational outcomes for young people in the area.”