Schools in consultation with view of starting new partnership at the beginning of the new academic year

Six Barnstaple area schools are to join forces and form a Multi Academy Trust.

Headteachers and governors from Forches Cross, Landkey, Newport and Sticklepath primary schools and The Park Community School are consulting with staff and parents on proposals to become Tarka Learning Partnership along with the proposed Roundswell Community Primary Academy.

The change would take effect from the beginning of the new academic year in September.

The schools have been working together for a year to establish a trust - a Government recommendation for all academies to improve standards and make them more efficient and sustainable.

A statement from the schools said the new trust would be for the benefit of 'pupils, staff and their community' in the wake of reduced services in Devon.

Newport headteacher and executive principal of Tarka Learning Partnership, Andy Cotton, said: "This is an exciting opportunity for North Devon schools to work collaboratively to support the education and welfare of young people.

"There has been a clear reduction of Local Authority services in recent years in North Devon with the local education office in Barnstaple being closed.

"If we are to support our children, then we have to pool our resources, talent and create opportunity, as many other areas across the country have."

"I can say without any doubt that we have a group of schools with first class leaders, staff, governors and children and their energies and diligence has been clear to all in designing and preparing this proposal."

In addition to the Multi Academy Trust, Forches Cross is consulting on changing the school's name to Eden Park Academy, as well as changing its badge and uniform policy.

Landkey Primary School is consulting on a name and badge change, and would become Landkey Community Primary Academy. Sticklepath Community School would become Sticklepath Community Primary Academy.

Park headteacher Gareth Roscoe said the trust would help schools build even stronger links.

He said: "At The Park Community School, we are really excited about the proposed Trust.

"The opportunity to build even stronger links with staff and students across the Trust will ensure that this valuable relationship across key stages is enhanced even further to ensure greater progression for students.

"All the partner schools have wonderful attributes to add to the trust and we believe that by working together we can achieve even more."

A consultation on the formation of the trust is open until March 9 for parents, carers and stakeholders.