Furness College launched the South Cumbria Multi Academy Trust in March 2021 in a move to strengthen education across the area. The Regional Schools Commissioner has approved the MAT and primary and secondary schools can now sign up. Chetwynde School, in Barrow, is the first to join the Trust, which will improve education for young people through sharing staff knowledge and expertise, high quality teaching and the college’s world-class facilities. Governors at both Vickerstown Primary and Brambles Nursery School, on Walney, and Ormsgill Primary School and Nursery, in Barrow, have voted unanimously to convert to academies and their applications have now been submitted with a view to joining in September 2022. It will help young people to access new skills and experience future opportunities on the college’s two main sites – a world-class campus at Channelside and specialist sixth form at Rating Lane.
Furness College Principal and Chief Executive Professor Andrew Wren said:
“This innovative new trust will have education at its heart and a real focus on pupils achieving their full potential and gaining valuable academic and life skills. We have a proven track record of working successfully with other colleges for the benefit of young people, employers and the wider community.”
Chetwynde Headteacher Steve Jefferson, a former student of the specialist sixth form at Rating Lane, said “We have been working closely with Furness College for a number of years and have been impressed with their willingness to share expertise and knowledge for the benefit of the whole education community. When we heard about the MAT, it seemed a perfect way to formalise that relationship and give our students a more seamless opportunity to learn new skills and prepare for the next steps in their education.”
“We were impressed with the professionalism of the SCMAT staff, how they listened and responded to our questions and reassured us that, above all, they valued and wanted to retain the individuality of Vickerstown School. I know we will also benefit from the enhanced expertise that being part of a bigger organisation will bring.”Vickerstown Headteacher David Holmes
“When I approached Andrew as CEO of the SCMAT, I was inspired by his leadership and vision for how he sees the SCMAT supporting schools across the educational spectrum. Senior staff from the Trust were also impressed by and fully supportive of the important role our school plays at the heart of the Ormsgill community.”Ormsgill Primary School Headteacher Mick Cull
The move has been welcomed by education leaders and the wider community in Cumbria, including other colleges and universities. Partners in the MAT will benefiting from connections with the University of Cumbria’s Institute of Education where Professor Wren is professor of practice.