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“Exciting new phase for education in Warrington”

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EDUCATION in Warrington has entered an exciting new phase following the  formation of The Challenge Academy Trust (TCAT).
Priestley College and Bridgewater and Penketh high schools have become  the first members of the Trust – and four other schools are lined-up to join them.
Matthew Grant (pictured), principal of Priestley College and TCAT’S chief executive, said: “This is the start of a new and exciting chapter for education in Warrington.
“Our goal will be to develop closer relationships with schools, employers, universities and the local authority to further improve the prospects and outcomes for all young people in Warrington.”
In the next stage of the process the four other schools will join TCAT –  Sir Thomas Boteler CE High, Beamont Collegiate Academy, Great Sankey Primary and Penketh South Primary.
When they do the academy trust will become the UK’s first to include a faith school, sixth form college, primary and high schools.
“Nationally we are leading the way in terms of the Trust’s inclusivity,” said Mr Grant.
“Priestley College and the schools within the Trust will retain their own ethos and individuality so in some ways staff, parents and pupils will not notice any change.
“However, this move does present us with a greater opportunity to share best practice and the chance to save money that can be ploughed directly back into the education of our young people.”
There will be no feeder schools within the academy, meaning pupils at the member schools will not be given priority for places.
Priestley College will still welcome students from all schools in Warrington and beyond including Runcorn, Widnes and Northwich.
“This is not about selective education or us as individual organisations,” said Mr Grant.
“It is about a philosophy of working together to improve the outcomes for young people and meeting their needs as individuals.”
Among the benefits of becoming an academy trust will be new VAT exemption for the sixth form college together with a stronger negotiating position for all members when ordering and purchasing. Any savings will be put back into educational resources.
Mr Grant added: “The goal of every member of The Challenge Academy Trust is to raise standards across Warrington and we will be working hard to achieve this over the coming years.”

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