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Neatherd High School enters new era as it forms academy trust

PUBLISHED: 12:30 06 March 2017

Neatherd High School, Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Neatherd High School, Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

A new era of education has started at Dereham’s Neatherd High School as it begins its first full week in a multi academy trust.

The school has formed the Mid Norfolk Academy Trust and although it is currently the only school within the trust a letter to parents says its trustees are in discussion with other local schools “to discover whether a partnership would be mutually beneficial to both organisations”.

A MAT (Multi Academy Trust) is a group of independent schools funded by central government, which are independent of the local authority.

In the letter Susan Ferguson, chair of trustees, says the conversion took place on March 1 and hoped students would notice “nothing new”.

She adds: “Our aspiration is for the work of the school to continue as it always has, helping the young people of mid-Norfolk to achieve their full potential. That is not just about good exam results, but also about developing interested and interesting young people, ready to play a full part in wider society.”

Each school within the Mid Norfolk Academy Trust will have its own Local Academy Board, or local governors, and these will always include two parent representatives. The trust will soon start looking for more volunteers to serve on the LAB, a level below the members and trustees.

At the start of this term the school governors said they had “no immediate plans” to revisit proposals to establish a second sixth form college in the town, but the move had not been ruled out in the longer term.

Neatherd governor David Allen dismissed claims that the school was looking to use its potential move to Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) status to simply bypass the control of Norfolk County Council - which has previously halted the second sixth form plan.

Its plan would have seen the end of a 39-year partnership between Dereham’s two high schools, Neatherd and Northgate, who have jointly run Dereham Sixth Form College.

Northgate High School is also looking to form a MAT together with Dereham Sixth Form College, Garvestone Primary School, Beeston Primary, Grove House Infant School and Kings Park Infant School, both in Dereham.

For details of current Members and Trustees and for more information about the Mid Norfolk Academy Trust visit the website at www.mnat.org.uk.

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