‘Trust should serve all schools in the area’

Woldgate headteacher Jonathan Britton.
Woldgate headteacher Jonathan Britton.

Parents and members of the community have been sharing their views on plans to create a multi-academy trust, made up of local schools who would work together to support each other.

Woldgate School headteacher, Jonathan Britton, who is proposing the creation of the trust - the ‘Wolds Learning Partnership’ - together with Trudi Fitzhenry, the headteacher of Stamford Bridge Primary School, speaks about consultation events held with parents and the community.

On 1 December, Woldgate School and Stamford Bridge Primary started their eight-week consultation with parents, staff and the wider community, about the creation of the ‘Wolds Learning Partnership’.

They believe, as a family of schools with shared values, that they can work together in partnership to provide the very best education for the children in their care. In the current period of change, they believe it is important that they build upon their already strong links and seek together, in partnership, to support each other and do the very best for their children and the communities they live and work within. They are, therefore, proposing the creation of the ‘Wolds Learning Partnership’.

As their consultation has gathered pace they have had a number of questions and observations regarding the proposal. The most frequently asked question relates to the type and location of schools that may opt to join the partnership. They believe the Partnership must be rooted in their community, to ensure they remain accountable to their parents, villages and communities. Mr Britton and Mrs Fitzhenry are passionate about being part of the communities they serve and they wish to ensure their community, Church of England and village schools not only survive in the future but continue to thrive. It is their belief that the Partnership should, therefore, serve all their local schools.

At the heart of the proposal is their conviction that for schools to work together collaboratively they must all be equal partners, a view shared by parents in their consultation. The partnership will make sure that all schools will maintain their own distinct identity and have their own governing committees. They are both committed to a fair partnership, with each school having equal representation, so all can contribute, share and work collectively as equals. In partnership, they believe their schools will be able to thrive together, as community and church schools, working collaboratively to support each other.

Parents have also praised their commitment to choice. Both headteachers believe passionately in parental choice. To this end, schools will continue to ensure all of their children have the freedom to apply to attend the school of their choice. The creation of the Partnership will, therefore, have no effect on transition from primary to secondary, or secondary to post-16 education.

Mr Britton would like, on behalf of Woldgate School, to offer his grateful thanks to the parents and community representatives who attended one of the four consultation events.

He will present all views to his governing body as they consider whether to proceed to the next stage of the process or not.

Mr Britton believes that with a clear decision, one way or the other, the school can ensure that during this period of national change they are best positioned to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.

Be it as a local authority school, or as part of the Partnership, Woldgate School will remain absolutely focused on its core purpose: providing the very best education for the young people of the local community.

To become part of the Partnership, schools would be required by government to become academies, which are independent state schools with the freedom to determine their own policies.

As well as the creation of the Partnership, the consultation is for Woldgate and Stamford Bridge Primary to become part of the trust.