A new and exciting chapter for education in Warrington

EDUCATION in Warrington has entered an exciting new phase after the official formation of The Challenge Academy Trust (TCAT).

Priestley College, Bridgewater and Penketh high schools became the first members of the Trust today Monday (May 1).

“This is the start of a new and exciting chapter for education in Warrington,” said Matthew Grant, Principal of Priestley College and TCAT’s Chief Executive.

“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 Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High, Beamont Collegiate Academy, Great Sankey Primary and Penketh South Primary are also due to join TCAT.

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 Matthew.

“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 Matthew 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.

“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,” said Matthew.