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Schools in Tenterden unite to form a multi-academy trust

By Rachael Woods

Head teachers Sally Lees of Homewood School, Sam Crinnion of the Tenterden PriChildren in Tenterden are being offered a “seamless” education from nursery to the age of 19 as all the town’s schools have become part of a multi-academy trustmary Federation and Sara Williamson of St Michael’s Church of England Primary School have joined forces to establish the Tenterden Schools Trust, launched on December 1.

From left, Sara Williamson, head teacher of St Michael's Primary School; Sally Lees, chief executive of the Trust and Homewood principal and Sam Crinnion, executive head teacher of Tenterden Primary Federation

From left, Sara Williamson, head teacher of St Michael's Primary School; Sally Lees, chief executive of the Trust and Homewood principal and Sam Crinnion, executive head teacher of Tenterden Primary Federation

Mrs Lees, who is chief executive, said: “All the heads are really excited about the trust.

“We have been working as a group for three years to make it happen.

“It means all the schools in Tenterden will be working together for the benefit of children and families in the area.

“The process has been complicated because joining church and non-church schools together has involved liaising with the Diocese of Canterbury, but it has gone very well.

“Although schools in Tenterden are linked through the Tenterden Rural Alliance, setting up a trust has taken this connection to a whole extra level.

“It means the schools can share resources, in terms of staff, buildings and finances.

“We can be very connected in the way we do things.”

Trying to catch a teacher's attention

Trying to catch a teacher's attention

In practical terms, primary school pupils would be free to use Homewood’s science labs or theatre to further their studies.

The move has seen the primary schools convert to academies, with church schools Tenterden Juniors and St Michael’s also both having to seek permission from the Diocese of Canterbury to join the trust, although this was not required for the infant school.

Home Farm Nursery at Homewood School is a subsidiary company of the trust and the idea of the alliance is to deliver a “seamless” education for pupils from birth to the age of 19.

Mrs Lees said: “A really important part of the vision is that Tenterden children can progress from nursery, through to primary and secondary and it will be a smooth connection.”

All schools will continue as members of the Tenterden Rural Alliance and work together to support each other and to further teacher training and professional development.

 

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