Larkmead School Takes Historic Step By Joining Vale Academy Trust

Teachers celebrated a ‘key moment in history’ by joining a thriving school trust.

Larkmead School in Abingdon has become the first educator outside of the Wantage area to join the Vale Academy Trust, forging what was described as a ‘tremendously exciting’ collaboration that will see it share facilities and expertise with six others.

Headteacher Chris Harris said: “After many months of careful planning we are delighted to be joining the trust. It is an exciting moment when learning institutions join together for the mutual benefit of the students and staff.

“Our students and staff will have immediate benefits both within and outside of the classroom. We stand to build on the collective experience of the trust and work with schools in a different but local community.”

He said the secondary school’s union with the trust brought with it ‘increased financial potential’, adding: “This is a key moment in the history of our school and we believe that this strategic move will enable us to continue to broaden our horizons and to bring the greatest level of opportunity to our students, our staff and our community.”

The school officially converted to an academy on January 1 but notified parents months before that it was in talks with the trust, which is based at King Alfred’s School in Wantage.

Its other members are five primary schools in Wantage and the surrounding villages, but directors hope to expand further.

The trust’s chief executive Simon Spiers said: “This is a very exciting time for the Vale Academy Trust and, importantly, for Larkmead and King Alfred’s who will be sharing best practice and other opportunities over the coming months.”

The secondary schools’ first joint project will be a workshop for highly able students.

King Alfred’s headteacher Jo Halliday said she was ‘delighted’ that Larkmead had joined the trust, adding: “There is so much we can learn from each other – this opens up enormous opportunities to our staff, students and local communities.”

Larkmead School’s chair of governors Iain Littlejohn said: “The governing body is tremendously excited by this opportunity.

“We are already planning joint activities which we wouldn’t have previously have been big enough to run on our own.

“We will continue to work with the other schools in Abingdon to further develop our existing successful collaborations on sixth form and with our partner primary schools, particularly in South Abingdon.”

The trust now supports more than 4,000 pupils and 600 staff members.