New sponsor put forward for Moreton Hall high school after previous sponsor pulls out

Visualisation of new secondary school at Moreton Hall - Image produced by Concertus Design and Property Consultants
Visualisation of new secondary school at Moreton Hall - Image produced by Concertus Design and Property Consultants
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A new sponsor for the proposed high school on Moreton Hall has been recommended to Suffolk County Council’s cabinet after the previous sponsor withdrew its bid.

Samuel Ward Academy Trust has been selected for recommendation after the National Education Trust (NET) pulled out of the project because it wanted control over the entire site of the school.

However, this was not not possible because part of the community sports facilities on the school site are being funded by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

The Seckford Trust were also considered as a potential provider.

Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Cllr Lisa Chambers said: “It is important that we appoint the right sponsor for this new academy to really help it flourish as the county’s newest school and that the new sponsor works closely with parents and students to prepare them for the transition.

“The successful appointment of a new sponsor will not affect the timeline for opening the new school in 2016.”

The Samuel Ward Academy Trust currently manages the Samuel Ward Academy, Coupals Primary School, Churchill Special Free School and Westfield Primary Academy in Haverhill, Thomas Gainsborough School in Sudbury, Newmarket Academy, and Glemsford Primary Academy.

Howard Lay, Chief Executive of the trust, said: “We are pleased to have been recommended as sponsor of the new school in Bury St Edmunds.

“We are a local Trust that understands the particular challenges of the area and we look forward to working with the local community.

“We place the success of children at the heart of all we do. We want schools that are able to shape pupil character. Partnerships with parents, local schools, West Suffolk College, businesses and community groups will help us realise this vision.

“We recognise the urgency of the task ahead and are ready to begin immediately if we are confirmed as sponsor.”

If the cabinet agree to recommend the Samuel Ward Academy Trust at the meeting on July 14, the decision will be referred to the Secretary of State for Education for final approval.

The withdrawal of a sponsor is possible up until the point that a funding agreement is signed with the Education Funding Agency.

Cllr Chambers said: “Whilst it was initially disappointing to hear that NET had decided to withdraw its bid, I was very pleased to see two incredibly able sponsors with strong local knowledge and connections step forward and I look forward to working collaboratively with them in the future to continue raising the level of achievement for Suffolk’s children.”

The new high school is set to open in September 2016.