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The Williamson Trust and Leigh Academies Trust explore merger

By KentOnline reporter

Two school trusts are exploring a merger set to create a super group of 22 secondary and primary academies with 16,000 pupils.

The Williamson Trust and Leigh Academies Trust would also own a large special school if the deal goes ahead, with three more free schools approved to open by 2020.

The two trusts, which run schools across the Medway and Dartford areas, as well as Bexley and Greenwich, aim to complete a merger before the end of the year.

Pupils at Leigh UTC
Pupils at Leigh UTC

The Williamson Trust was founded in 2011 by Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School in Rochester and also includes The Hundred of Hoo all-through academy and High Halstow, Allhallows and Stoke primary academies.

Leigh Academies Trust marks its 10th anniversary this year, and includes the Leigh UTC, Longfield Academy and the Hartley Primary Academy.

The Williamson Trust's interim chief executive Eliot Hodges said: “This new partnership could offer exceptional opportunities for both pupils and staff across all of our schools.

"We look forward to examining the potential benefits of a merger with such a significant and successful organisation and look forward to sharing the expertise that we have, for the benefit of pupils across both Medway and the wider LAT organisation.

"We are already able to offer our pupils an excellent quality of education, but this has the potential to take it to the next level."

"It could create a unique national beacon of effective partnership of schools in the 21st century..." - Simon Beamish, Leigh Academies Trust

Leigh Academies Trust chief executive Simon Beamish added: “This is our most exciting venture since The Leigh CTC became a multi-academy trust back in 2008.

"It could create a unique national beacon of effective partnership of schools in the 21st century.

"Leigh Academies Trust will operate successful non-selective primary and secondary academies, including nurseries, in locally managed geographical clusters with the added expertise of a top grammar school, an outstanding special school and a pathfinding UTC, alongside a large initial teacher training programme, a strong teaching school alliance and outstanding central resources, sponsored by three leading universities and two well-endowed City livery companies. Wow!

"We look forward to getting to know new colleagues as this innovative partnership breaks new ground.

"It will accelerate opportunities for students of all ages plus its 3,000 staff and the wider south-east community.”

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