Suffolk primary schools club together in academy trust bid

Bridget Burke, headteacher at Rattlesden Primary School ENGANL00120110804172831
Bridget Burke, headteacher at Rattlesden Primary School ENGANL00120110804172831
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Four Suffolk primary schools are hoping to forge a ‘stronger’ future with plans to form an academy trust together.

Great Barton, Rattlesden and Thurston CEVC Primary Schools and Woolpit Community Primary School are considering the move to improve educational provision and financial stability.

If approved, the proposed Thedwastre Education Trust would see its founding member schools convert to academies on January 1, 2016.

Bridget Burke, headteacher at Rattlesden Primary, said she was ‘very much behind’ the proposed change.

“We have the feeling that we are stronger together. The education climate changes so quickly and small schools are vulnerable,” she said.

“Funding is a huge issue for us so being part of a group of strong schools puts us in a very good position.

“We have been working together for a long time and this seemed like a natural progression for us. We have a nice working relationship across the four schools.”

As well as its financial benefits, Ms Burke said the collaboration would enable teachers to discuss and analyse the new curriculum together, for the schools to undertake educational projects together, and for Year Six pupils to engage in bigger groups before moving up to secondary school.

“Growing up in a village is brilliant and the children absolutely thrive, but being part of the four schools will broaden their horizons,” she said.

In a letter to parents, Woolpit Primary’s headteacher and chair of governors said: “Our priority is to enable the school to continue to provide an excellent education for our children while protecting its role at the heart of our community and retaining its unique qualities and strengths.”

Following a consultation period, the schools’ governing bodies and staff will meet on November 25 for a final decision to be made.