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Henley Primary School looking to ‘exciting’ future after joining Consortium Multi Academy Trust

PUBLISHED: 16:38 26 September 2017

Pupils at Henley Primary School celebrate the Outstanding Ofsted rating in 2014. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Pupils at Henley Primary School celebrate the Outstanding Ofsted rating in 2014. Picture: SU ANDERSON

An ‘outstanding’ primary school in Henley has said there are “exciting” plans ahead after joining an up-and-coming multi academy trust.

Toby Slater Robins, Henley Primary School chairman of the governers said joining the multi academy trust would safeguard the school's future. Picture: JAMES FLETCHERToby Slater Robins, Henley Primary School chairman of the governers said joining the multi academy trust would safeguard the school's future. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

Henley Primary School joined the Consortium Multi Academy Trust (MAT) from September 1, which specialises in safeguarding rural schools in the region.

The trust already has a number of Suffolk schools under its management, with Henley its first around Ipswich to join the group.

Toby Slater-Robins, chairman of the board of governors at the school said it helped protect the future of the school.

“The whole educational landscape is fundamentally changing and small schools like us, which have around 100 pupils, are particularly vulnerable with capacity and funding,” he said.

He added: “It allows us to develop into the future and the collaboration and working together that comes with being part of a trust appeals very much.”

The school first began considering the academy model around two years ago while exploring options for its future.

Not wanting to be part of a larger multi academy trust, the school saw Consortium with its ethos of supporting rural schools as one which fitted its own.

Mr Slater-Robins said: “We have a high percentage of people that choose to come to Henley from Ipswich and elsewhere, as well as those nearby.

“The governing body and the school itself is very keen to be part of something that understands education in Suffolk and understands the landscape.”

The school confirmed that parents wouldn’t see wholesale changes – the uniform, school day and teaching staff would remain the same, with rebranding being kept to a minimum, which Mr Slater-Robins said was important in remaining individual.

He added: “Parents have been very, very supportive of Henley itself and have been very supportive of us joining Consortium. There will be very exciting plans because Consortium is young, energetic and dynamic, and for those very reasons we joined them.

“We work with the Regional Schools Commission and Department for Education, and we have discussions with them about how we can help them develop education in Suffolk, so there may well be very exciting and fast-moving plans coming forward in the next few months.”

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