Proposal to form and lead a Multi Academy Trust

Prior Pursglove and Stockton Sixth Form College to convert to a Multi Academy Trust, Tees Valley Collaborative Trust.

Sixth form colleges were given the opportunity to become academies for the first time in November 2016, as part of the government’s national review of post-16 education. Sixth form colleges already have many of the freedoms of academies and have similar governance structures. However as an academy we can reclaim VAT on everything we purchase which represents a significant saving year on year and is particularly useful in the context of the current funding position for all schools and public sector organisations. More importantly, we want to demonstrate our allegiance to the pre-16 education providers in our localities, at secondary and primary levels.

We are applying to lead a Multi Academy Trust because we want our college to be in the vanguard of education system leadership, joining with schools to raise standards and create the best possible start for the young people in our area.

In the first instance our Multi Academy Trust (MAT) will be “empty” – it will be formed by the college without any formal school partners. However within 12 months we expect one school to join our Trust. Within two years we expect other schools to join our Trust creating an “all-through” provision with accountability for all of our learners from age 3 upwards.

The sixth form college on both sites will be dissolved as part of the conversion process but provision for our students will remain exactly the same as it is now, both for students currently studying with us and for those planning to enrol this September. They will be able to access the same curriculum in the same way as if the conversion process wasn’t happening.

The proposed name for our MAT is the “Tees Valley Collaborative Trust”. This name accurately describes our commitment to collaborative working and the geographical range we envisage for this. The two college sites will continue to be known by their existing names i.e. “Prior Pursglove College” and “Stockton Sixth Form College”. Any school which joins us will continue to operate with its own name, as is common practice amongst multi academy trusts.

The students will benefit from the enhanced financial position of the college and from a range of opportunities to link with schools in the group, such as volunteering, mentoring, work experience placements, joint trips and visits to name but a few. Over time students will also benefit from stronger transition arrangements between the educational phases and enhanced levels of accountability for all our learners from.

The two sixth form colleges merged on 1st May 2016 in a bold and innovative collaborative venture. The success of the merger has led the Corporation to conclude that converting to form a Multi Academy Trust is the logical next step to benefit the college and positively influence the education system in the Tees Valley, to improve outcomes and life chances for young people and contribute to resurgence of the local economy.

Principal at Prior Pursglove and Stockton Sixth Form College, Joanna Bailey, said:

“Converting to an academy and establishing a Multi Academy Trust offers a unique opportunity to positively influence the quality of teaching and learning and the educational outcomes for young people in the Tees Valley.

“We already liaise successfully with primary and secondary schools in our localities, but this development offers the scope for the college to join together with schools to increase aspirations and opportunities in a completely new way.

“There will be no change to the courses or the extremely high standards of education at Prior Pursglove and Stockton Sixth Form College. We will continue to inspire, challenge and support all of our students to ensure they achieve their full potential.”

 Chair of Governors at Prior Pursglove and Stockton Sixth Form College, Paul Gavens, said:

“Following the successful merger of our two colleges, these proposals represent the logical next step and will provide significant financial and educational benefits.

“As a strong trust, we will be able to secure and enhance the excellent educational opportunities we provide to students from schools across the Tees Valley.

“We want to offer young people access to the best possible education at each and every level, from the age of 3 and upwards. Our aim for the new Trust is to bring together complementary strengths from all levels of the education system and, by the sharing of specialist and excellent teaching expertise, improve standards and educational outcomes across the partnership as a whole.”

Public meetings will take place on Tuesday 9th May, 5pm – 7pm at Stockton Sixth Form College (Bishopton Road West, Stockton-On-Tees, TS19 0QD) and Monday 15th May, 5pm – 7pm at Prior Pursglove College (Church Walk, Guisborough, TS14 6BU).