7th July 2017
The formal launch of Newcastle’s latest multi academy trust took place on Wednesday 5th July.
The Newcastle East mixed multi Academy Trust (NEAT) operates five academies in the east end of Newcastle – one secondary (Benfield School, which offers post -16 provision) and four primaries (Central Walker Church of England Primary School, Tyneview Primary School, Walkergate Community School and West Walker Primary School). All schools are rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.
As a group of schools, NEAT offers an ‘all through’ education, from cradle to career, which provides a major benefit to both parents and pupils - a seamless transition from Year 6 to Year 7. This means that the in depth family knowledge accrued by teachers at primary school level can travel with each child when transferring to Benfield School, their new secondary school.
Each NEAT academy takes great pride in its academic achievements and as a group of schools the five academies offer a particularly academic route to higher education and beyond. For example, this year, the national data capture from pupils attending NEAT’s four primary schools indicated a continued improvement in standards within early years and phonics particularly. This has been a specific focus of the Trust work and the primary schools are delighted with the impact seen. Furthermore, at KS2 there are some really strong results and as a group, NEAT schools compare very favourably with all schools nationally - a fantastic achievement.
With a focus on ‘Our Community’ the formal launch of NEAT was marked by a series of 11 performances which took place throughout the early evening at Benfield School and involved groups of children from each school in various song, dance and drama activities.
In their common goal of ensuring that NEAT is a driving force at the forefront of education – locally, regionally and nationally - the Trustees believe that working together as a group of schools will help them to realise their vision for the future, which is to enable young people and their families to be healthy, happy and achieve well and to be given the opportunities to make the most of their talents and fulfil their potential.
Debi Bailey, NEAT’s chief executive officer, said: “We are all delighted to see this day finally arrive. We established NEAT after widespread consultation and we have the full backing of parents, the local community, the local authority and the DfE, but it has still been a lot of hard work over the past year and a half.
“As a multi academy trust we have greater flexibility over how we operate. We now have the capacity to undertake shared work around attendance improvements, curriculum development, book scrutiny, learning walks, primary transition initiatives, master classes in specialist subjects and a host of other extracurricular activities.
“We have high hopes for the future and I am confident that by working together in partnership with pupils, parents, staff, governors and the local community we will make our vision a reality.”
NEAT directors and trustees are highly experienced, high calibre professionals within the business and education sectors and each brings solid experience to the team. Chair of the Trust Board, Roger Alston OBE, was formerly chief executive of one of the North’s largest education trusts. He added:
“NEAT puts children at the heart of everything in its aim to be a driving force at the forefront of education. We will not stand still. Our aim is to raise aspiration for all our children and the communities we serve by delivering outstanding learning and standards.
"The proximity of our academies and the operation of a ‘hub’ structure allows us to efficiently share resources, facilities and best practice to aid improvements to teaching and learning as well as academic outcomes and extra-curricular activities. Each member school has its own governing body and operates with a degree of autonomy but benefits from core team support in the areas of finance and audit, human resources, IT support, marketing and importantly, leadership on learning and teaching.
“Our recent SATs results clearly indicate that we have the foundations in place to do even better, so it gives me great pleasure to see NEAT formally launched today. The future is certainly looking bright.”
For NEAT students, the academisation of the five schools is a great opportunity for extending their learning experience and social skills.
Morgan Faetz, in Year 5 of Walkergate Community School said: "It is good to be altogether as a group. It is a chance to make new friends and help each other. I'm looking forward to more opportunities to do this!"
Toby Sherriffs of Central Walker Church of England Primary School, who is in Year 4 agreed, saying: “I think it will be exciting and will bring in more challenges. I am looking forward to working with children from the other schools.”
NEAT is committed to growing sustainably and gradually. If approached by other schools seeking sponsorship, each request will be considered on its own merits.