Kader Academy, based in Acklam in Middlesbrough, had voted to join in December 2023 and has now merged into Prince Regent Street Trust, a successful primary-only multi-academy trust (MAT) located in Stockton.

Following a lengthy programme of due diligence, which started with Kader working in partnership with the Trust in 21/22 following the pandemic. The 469-pupil school becomes the fifth member of Prince Regent Street Trust alongside Hartburn Primary School, Village Primary School, Wolviston Primary School and Barley Fields Primary School.

Headteacher Alison Mitchinson said the school began formally exploring merger options following publication of the government’s Schools White Paper which promoted the intention for all schools to be part of a MAT, originally by 2030. However, the Academy had also previously explored joining a Trust prior to the pandemic, knowing that there were benefits to working and collaborating within a group.

The school’s interest in joining a MAT had been “a long and very considered one”, Alison explained, which included understanding what joining a trust could mean for the school; evaluating the benefits of joining several locally-established MATs; and working alongside Prince Regent Street Trust as a partner school.

“At the heart of our school improvement strategy is a long-held commitment to working in partnership with other strong schools – sharing practice, challenging one another and working in collaboration – and we are clear that joining Prince Regent Street Trust is the right thing for our children, staff and wider community,” she said.

“We explored a number of different models, but wanted to be part of a MAT that was primary-based, and as a successful school already one that would give us a high level of autonomy. Prince Regent Street Trust will challenge us, and us working with other high-performing schools will hopefully allow us to give something back to them. The trust’s comprehensive and personalised support around non-teaching elements, including finance, estates and compliance, will allow us to concentrate fully on teaching and learning.

“For the children there will not be much change. In fact, their education will only continue to improve as a consequence of joining, and the carefully selected partner schools share this value and vision for their own schools and their pupils. The day-to-day running and management of the school will remain the same – practically our logo and uniform will be unchanged – but we will be given additional support to improve without having decisions taken away from us. In particular, we will benefit from cross-Trust curriculum meetings, peer networks and working parties, and a wealth of training and CPD opportunities.”

Paul Leadbitter, Chair of Kader Academy Trust, will join the Prince Regent Street Trust board of directors as part of the merger, added: “We researched the models of collaboration available to our school in response to significant changes in the educational landscape. After thorough research which considered many different models of collaboration, we concluded that it was in the best interests of pupils, parents and other stakeholders to join Prince Regent Street Trust.

“Over the past 12 months we have developed a deep association with Prince Regent Street Trust, giving us the chance to get to know their Chief Executive, Central team and Headteachers, who have been honest and open from the beginning. Governors have attended Prince Regent Street Trust’s Trustees meeting, which have been really valuable. We have got to know the trust throughout this period, carried out huge amounts of due diligence in the process, and are really excited about the future”.

“I am also excited by my new role with the Trust and that I will continue to have an association with Kader. I am looking forward to sharing my expertise across the five Trust Schools and assisting the executive team with future growth”.

Julia Armstrong, CEO of Prince Regent Street Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome Kader Academy into our family. Kader is a school very close to my heart as all three of my children attended the school and I was a member of staff, including being the Deputy Headteacher, for twelve years. We are continually striving for excellence and, in all cases we are seeking impact on our pupils through achievement, equality of opportunity by offering enriching life experiences, and in supporting their preparation for future life.

“Kader staff will benefit from a bespoke package of support including development opportunities for the senior leadership team, governors, teaching and non-teaching staff, which will impact positively on many areas of the school, as well as finance and operations.”

For Alison, who joined the school in 2005, she is now looking forward to a new dawn in retirement as the Academy looks to appoint her successor. “My time here over the last 19 years have been a delight, we pride ourselves on the cheerful atmosphere in our school, the sense of family and community, and our children are extremely happy and very well mannered.

“I am fortunate to lead a very talented staff team here and by joining Prince Regent Street Trust they will have the opportunities to broaden their horizons through different settings in the other high-performing schools, both leading and sharing their experiences. This is a wonderful opportunity for Kader Academy.”

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