A popular Barrow school is today marking moving out of special financial measures for the first time in five years thanks to a new partnership.
Chetwynde School transferred into the new South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust as part of a link up with Furness College backed by the Department for Education.
The partnership will help secure the future of the historic school, which teaches pupils from nursery up to Year 11, and aims to further improve education for its young people.
The school, on Rating Lane, was issued with a financial notice to improve by the Education Funding Agency in July 2016 but has made positive progress under its new headteacher Steve Jefferson.
Welcoming it as a historic day for everyone connected with the school, Mr Jefferson praised his senior team, his staff, parents and supporters who had worked tirelessly to safeguard its future.
“We are thrilled that today marks a milestone and we look forward to continued success under the South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust and all the benefits that will bring to our school.
“This has not been an easy journey but throughout everything, our priority has been on ensuring our pupils have access to excellent education and our recent Ofsted visit is testament to that.
“We can now move forward in confidence.”
Furness College received approval last year to invite primary and secondary schools to join a new Multi-Academy Trust.
The transfer was agreed by the Secretary of State with Chetwynde as the founding member. Other schools have expressed an interest to join and a board has been formed comprising business and education leaders from across the county.
Furness College Principal and Chief Executive Professor Andrew Wren said: “It is a day for celebration. I have been to meet all the staff and I am delighted we have got to this position in a matter of 11 months.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have such a good school with enthusiastic and talented leaders and staff as our founding member and it’s a fitting way to mark my sixth anniversary as Principal of Furness College.
“We know the hard work is not all behind us but the continued success of schools like Chetwynde with its unique offer of education right through from nursery to GCSEs is so important to the Furness and South Cumbria community.
The Trust aims to provide opportunities to share skills and expertise across its education partners and Professor Wren said the college has already seen some positive developments in curriculum.
“Alongside our A-Level design and technology students now having access to study in the world-class building across the road from our Sixth Form campus, we are also delighted to be welcoming our first group of French A Level students in a number of years. This partnership certainly opened that door and we now have on board the highly-experienced French tutor from Chetwynde,” he said.