Berwick Academy considers partnership to help raise standards

Berwick Academy is considering entering into a partnership with a group of schools in Morpeth and the Coquet Valley.

Thursday, 14th September 2017, 07:44 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th September 2017, 12:48 pm
Berwick Academy

Governors have agreed the school should enter into a process of mutual due diligence with The Three Rivers (3Rivers) Multi-Academy Trust.

The proposal is designed to help drive up standards at Berwick Academy, which Ofsted says ‘requires improvement’.

The move comes on the back of Government recommendations that academies should seek to work more closely together by forming multi-academy trusts.

In a letter to parents, chairman of governors David Cairns said: ‘This is a potentially significant step for the school and we want parents, prospective parents and staff to be involved in this process.

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‘The 3Rivers is a group of schools, based in Morpeth and the Coquet Valley which includes King Edward VI School (KEVI), one of the highest performing secondary schools in the North East.

‘The rationale for becoming part of a larger group of schools is the belief that by working more closely, schools can share good practice and, hence, improve academic and pastoral decision-making for both parties.

‘There are also opportunities for multi-academy trusts to reduce overheads through efficiency savings and hence to focus more of their grant income on teaching and learning.

‘The governors of Berwick Academy have identified the Three Rivers Trust as a potentially suitable partner and now wish to find out more about how a multi-academy trust would work and what it would mean for our school.’

The main reasons for pursuing a dialogue with the 3Rivers are: Its location in Morpeth which makes closer collaboration practicable; the opportunity for Berwick Academy to work with (KEVI) which, in 2014, was judged by Ofsted to be outstanding in all categories; the potential benefits that may derive from KEVI’s status as a teaching school with responsibilities for developing teachers, and initial impressions around a similarity in the values and ethos of the two schools.

Due diligence is a process of enquiry, which will involve both parties finding out more about each other and exploring how a closer relationship might work. It also allows governors to investigate the legal, financial and operational implications of closer working and the potential impact that this might have on Berwick Academy’s aims and vision for its students and the community.

Due Diligence does not involve any obligation upon either party to continue the discussions to a more advanced stage. Any decision to do so would involve further discussion and agreement of the Board of Berwick Academy and the Board of 3Rivers.

A series of meetings have been arranged for parents to engage with governors at each stage of the process.

The first is on Wednesday, October 4 at 6.30pm. Parents questionnaires will also be sent out and a further meeting which will also include 3Rivers is planned in November.

In addition to the above, parents are welcome to email the clerk to the governors on