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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Carlisle diocese to launch Good Shepherd academy trust

Education officials and senior clergy will join headteachers and governors to launch a new academy chain in Cumbria.

Michael Mill photo
Michael Mill

The Diocese of Carlisle will launch its Good Shepherd multi-academy trust at an event at Newton Rigg, near Penrith, today.

The trust has been formed after the Department for Education gave approval last June for the diocese to become an academy sponsor.

Not only Church of England schools under the diocese’s remit will be able to join the new academy trust, any community school could apply.

The trust recently submitted a bid to become the sponsor of a new secondary academy in Workington, if proposed plans to close Southfield and Stainburn Schools go ahead.

It was one of three bids submitted to the county council, the preferred sponsor being a trust formed by Lakes College West Cumbria. Councillors will debate the Workington situation tomorrow.

Michael Mill, the diocese’s director of education, children and young people, said: “This launch event marks an important milestone for The Good Shepherd Multi-Academy Trust.

“Since receiving approval to become an academy sponsor, a huge amount of work has been ongoing to enable us to reach this point. Detailed policy documents, legal frameworks and a draft scheme of delegation are in place for those who join our trust’s family of schools.

“And there’s been ongoing dialogue with our church schools across the county about the many advantages of becoming a member of our trust.”

He added: “We are excited by the thought that our trust will offer children of all faiths and none, in all schools, an excellent educational provision within a caring and supportive Christian ethos.”

A series of meetings have been held with schools and clergy across the county in recent months to explain more about the visions and values of the new trust.

The diocese says benefits of joining the trust for schools will include sustainability and the opportunity to shape and develop education and curriculum innovation with others. It will also have advantages of working with others schools to help share resources and expertise.

Schools are being invited to join the trust and, where appropriate, the organisation may be requested to take over failing schools.

The Bishop of Penrith, the Rt Rev Robert Freeman, will welcome those attending today’s launch at Newton Rigg.

Mr Mill will lead a presentation and invited guests will hear from headteachers of schools in existing multi-academy trusts.

Mr Mill said: “We have a rich history of providing educational excellence through our church schools. We have 105 Church of England schools and academies in the Diocese of Carlisle which cater for 11,000 pupils. The trust will build on this excellent foundation in education provision across Cumbria.”

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