Plans for Axe Valley learning federation move ahead

School leaders from across the region are assured they would be equal partners in the new cluster group

DETAILED plans to forge closer links between school across the Axe valley have been unveiled.

Governors and Axe Valley Community College Headteacher, Martin Smith, presented their vision of a “Learning Federation’ to a meeting of school leaders from across the area.

They told them that although the college would be the largest school, with a crucial role to play, it would not be the leader of any such group.

“We want there to be parity between all schools in leading and shaping the organisation,” explained Mr Smith.

“This is not a ‘take-over’ proposal, rather an invitation to become equal partners, sometimes referred to as a ‘cluster’ model.

Mr Smith said the federation – which they hoped to set up next September - would have a single governing body, with overall responsibility, representing all the schools.

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He continued: “It means there would be less governors involved overall and these would need to be highly specialised to undertake these complex roles.”

Mr Smith said a federation offered real educational benefits for children.

These included:

• Arrangements for schools to work closely together to ensure that learners moving from primary to secondary school have a seamless transition.

• Teachers learning from one another.

• Identifying specialists across the schools to offer a wider range of support services to students.

• The ASPIRE gifted and talented programme could be widened through the creation of an arts academy and a sports academy.

• Sharing ideas and expertise between teachers and other staff on how to best provide high quality teaching and learning.

• Providing the best leaders and governors from the area with the opportunity to take a wider role in shaping the developing of education for all learners.

Mr Smith stressed that in a primary-secondary federation parental choice about secondary schools remained completely unaffected.

He added: “By Christmas we’ll know which primary schools are interested in exploring federation with us and by mid February a firm decision will be reached by governing bodies.

“A formal six-week consultation process will take place between March and April with a view to starting the new Federation in September.”