New education trust leaders announced

A wide range of leading business and education experts have been appointed to lead the new South Cumbria Multi Academy Trust (SCMAT).

Furness College will officially launch the Trust at a meeting on June 10th and has announced its members and trustees.

The members include retired sixth form vice principal Jan Fielding, John Butler MBE, who was national head of audit at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Phil Huck, former chief executive of Barrow Borough Council and the Chief Executive of University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust Aaron Cummins.

The board of trustees will be led by Phil Huck and include Craig Ivison from Cumbria LEP, nuclear processes manager John Burgess, Karla Thomas of Playdale, degree apprentice Liam Edgley, retired geologist Peter Butterworth, primary teacher Lisa Warrener, senior project engineer Karen Johnson alongside the college’s assistant head of sixth form Helen Rastelli and financial controller Susan Pope.

Principal and Chief Executive of Furness College Professor Andrew Wren, who is from Cumbria and is the SCMAT’s chief executive officer, said it was a strong line up.

“We are delighted to have such a fitting breadth of experience across industry and education among the members and the trustees. Each will bring their own values and experience to this trust and, above all, they believe in this project and are enthusiastic about ensuring it makes a hugely positive impact for the young people of this town.”

Chair Designate of Trustees Phil Huck said: “As a passionate believer in our young people, the importance of education and local solutions, it is a real privilege to be involved in SCMAT. 

“The members and trustees who will oversee it have an amazing range of skills, expertise, experience and enthusiasm. This is a hugely positive step forward for the future of the area.”

Earlier this year, following approval from the Regional Schools Commissioner which recognised the value that such a partnership would bring, Furness College invited primary and secondary schools to join the SCMAT.

Chetwynde School signed up as the founding partner outlining it as a way forward to provide its pupils with a seamless opportunity to learn new skills and prepare for the next steps in its education.

Talks are ongoing with other interested schools who want to share knowledge and strengths with the college with the vision of ‘inspiring young people and changing lives through excellence in education’.

The move to create the SCMAT has been broadly welcomed by local and national political leaders with MP for Barrow and Furness Simon Fell praising it as a positive step that would significantly improve the educational offer in Barrow and surrounding areas.

Furness College is on two main sites with a world-class campus at Channelside and specialist sixth form at Rating Lane. Its successful merger with Barrow Sixth Form College in 2016 was praised by Ofsted.

For further information about joining the Trust, email info@furness.ac.uk

New education Trust welcomed as a ‘positive move’

Education and community leaders have welcomed a move by Furness College to form a new South Cumbria Multi Academy Trust.

Furness College has approval to invite primary and secondary schools to join a new Multi Academy Trust (MAT) and Chetwynde School is the first to sign up.

The Trust will see the Barrow-based college share its expertise and strengths with partners to further improve education for young people.

MP for Barrow and Furness Simon Fell said it was a very positive move. “This will strengthen the offering available to current and future students in Barrow and beyond. Sharing skills, resources and knowledge will put these institutions in a stronger position and significantly improve the offering in town as a result,” he said. “Seeing such a diversity of institutions coming together is really exciting and I look forward to following the Trust as it develops and matures.”

His praise was echoed by Councillor Anne Burns, of Barrow Borough Council and Cumbria County Council, who said it would start to help plan some of the future needs in education across Furness.

“This is a positive initiative that puts education and lifelong learning right at the centre of our community needs. Barrow and Furness is unique, our community has always worked together to identify what skills and expertise are needed to give our children and young people the best chance for their future. I think this is the start of an exciting opportunity.”

The Regional Schools Commissioner has approved the Trust and a board will soon be appointed that combines a wealth of expertise across both education and business.

Furness College Principal and Chief Executive Professor Andrew Wren said the college had received extremely positive feedback about the launch of the South Cumbria MAT.

“We’ve been contacted by school and university leaders from across Cumbria and Lancashire who are delighted at the news and what it will mean for the young people,” he said. “Everyone has worked hard on this plan and it is heartening to hear that it is seen as part of the ‘exciting green shoots’ popping up across our education landscape.

“We firmly believe that this will benefit this and future generations by providing a seamless partnership to help enrich young people’s educational experience through links to staff and resources at our world-class campus and specialist sixth form.”

He said there had been interest from other schools who were exploring the idea of joining the Trust, which will officially launch in September with Chetwynde as the founding partner.

Chetwynde Headteacher Steve Jefferson said staff, parents and pupils at the school had also welcomed the news, which helps secure the future of the school on Rating Lane.

Furness College is on two main sites with a world-class campus at Channelside and specialist sixth form at Rating Lane. Its successful merger with Barrow Sixth Form College in 2016 was praised by Ofsted.

It was graded good by Ofsted at the last inspection and has maintained its Education and Skills Funding Agency assessment of ‘outstanding’ for financial health for over five years.

For further information about joining the Trust, email  info@furness.ac.uk

College announces plan for innovative Multi Academy Trust

A leading college in Cumbria will partner with a popular Barrow school in a move that will strengthen education across the area.

Furness College has approval to invite primary and secondary schools to join a new Multi Academy Trust (MAT) and Chetwynde is the first to sign up.

The trust will see the Barrow-based college share its expertise and strengths with its Rating Lane neighbour Chetwynde and other partners who join to further improve education for young people.

Furness College Principal and Chief Executive Andrew Wren said a South Cumbria MAT was an exciting new opportunity. “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,” he said.

“We have a proven track record of working successfully with other colleges for the benefit of young people, employers and the wider community. We are delighted that Chetwynde, with its strong ethos and unique place in the history of education in this town, has become our first partner. We’ve had interest from various schools and we hope to launch this in September.”

The Regional Schools Commissioner has approved the trust, recognising the value that such a partnership would bring. Prospective board members have been identified with the aim of combining a wealth of expertise across both education and business.

Chetwynde Headteacher Steve Jefferson said the opportunity has come at the right time for the school, which has gone from strength-to-strength under his leadership. “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.”

Furness College is on two main sites with a world-class campus at Channelside and specialist sixth form at Rating Lane. Its successful merger with Barrow Sixth Form College in 2016 was praised by Ofsted. Mr Jefferson is a former student of the sixth form, having studied his A Levels there.

Professor Wren, who is from Cumbria, said as well as benefiting from connections with the University of Cumbria’s Institute of Education where he is professor of practice, a MAT would strengthen links with the schools opening doors for pupils to be able to engage with the college as part of their curriculum.

“It will help young people to learn new skills and experience future opportunities on our campuses with guidance from our expert teachers with valuable industry experience,” he said.

Furness College was graded good by Ofsted at the last inspection and has maintained its Education and Skills Funding Agency assessment of ‘outstanding’ for financial health for over five years.

For further information about joining the Trust, email info@furness.ac.uk

South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust
c/o Furness College
Channelside, Barrow-in-Furness
Cumbria LA14 2PJ
Tel: 01229 825 017
Email: info@furness.ac.uk
South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust