University of Wolverhampton launches new academies

Two West Midlands primary schools reopened today as academies under a new trust led by the University of Wolverhampton.

Tame Valley Community and Reaside Junior, both in Birmingham, are now managed as part of a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) run by the University’s social enterprise, Education Central.

The University has a track record of raising standards within schools in the region.

Firstly through the Black Country Children’s Service Improvement Partnership (BCCSIP) which ran successfully for more than 10 years, including leading the Black Country Challenge.

BCCSIP has since become Education Central, a not-for-profit social enterprise set up to raise standards through working in partnership with schools.

As part of its work it was approved by the Department for Education as a sponsor of academies in April this year.

The two schools will become Tame Valley Academy and Reaside Academy respectively and are the first to come under the direction of the MAT.

Further primary and secondary schools in the region are due to join up in the next six months with a view to create a family of 20-25 schools.

Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, Professor Geoff Layer, said: “Education Central was set up as part of the University’s vision for regional regeneration through education, to help raise standards and aspirations of young people in the area.

“This vision now extends to sponsorship or working in partnership with schools across the West Midlands. We believe with our expertise and excellent pedigree in supporting schools we can bring a unique offering to the table.

“As a University we strive to create opportunities for a wide range of students and are committed to lifelong learning with a view to improving people’s individual life chances.

“We want to work in collaboration with schools not to impose. We see the Multi-Academy Trust acting like a network to share success and best practice while retaining individuality, particularly where schools are already achieving in certain areas.

“Today’s launch is a real milestone and we look forward to successfully working with the schools and their communities in the future.”

Peter Higgins, headteacher of Tame Valley Academy in Hodgehill, said: “We are all very much looking forward to an exciting future and working with the trust to give our children the very best possible educational experiences and opportunities we can, and that they deserve.

“We hope that working with the University of Wolverhampton will help guide our pupils and families aspirations for their future and build on the recent successes which the school has enjoyed.”

Sue Saunders, headteacher of Reaside Academy in Frankley, said: “Our children are already benefiting from Education Central’s first class approach to school improvement. We are delighted to be working with them.”

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