New trust takes on its first four academies in South Yorkshire

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FOUR primary schools in South Yorkshire are to join a newly-created academy trust which has been backed by the Government to raise standards in the North.

Reach4 Academy Trust has been set up by the existing academy chain Reach2 to take on primary, secondary and all through schools in South Yorkshire.

It is one of five academy trusts which has been given a share of £5m from the Government to take on schools in areas of under performance in the North.

However the first four schools to join Reach4 are all rated good or better by Ofsted.

Reach2 is an established academy chain with primary schools across the country. Some of these schools were converter academies - typically strong performing schools which have opted to become academies and some are sponsored academies - typically schools which are underperforming and have been taken on by a sponsor to improve.

Reach4 is expected to follow the same model. Reach4’s first four schools are Carrfield Primary Academy, Highgate Primary Academy, The Hill Primary Academy and Gooseacre Primary Academy, which are all in the Dearne Valley in South Yorkshire.

Hill Primary is rated as outstanding by Ofsted and the others were found to be good at their last inspections. The schools are currently part of the Navigate Academies Trust. Navigate has two other academies Darfield and Littleworth in Barnsley which are both being moved to Outwood Grange Academies Trust - another of the sponsors which received cash from the Government’s Northern Fund.

Reach4 is jointly led by Sir Steve Lancashire (the founder of REAch2 and Reach4) and Libby Nicholas, an outstanding head and experienced national education leader.She said: “We are absolutely delighted to be announcing the first four schools to be joining the Reach4 family. We have been working closely with each of the schools and the Navigate Academies Trust for some time and look forward to building on the strong foundations in place. At Reach4, we passionately believe in ‘inspiration beyond measure’ and are committed to delivering an education with no boundaries.

“For us, that means not just academic excellence, but helping children and young people develop in the broadest sense through arts, sports, leadership opportunities, enrichment and community.

“We look forward to welcoming Carrfield, Highgate, The Hill and Gooseacre Primary Academies into the Reach4 family and, together, working to ensure that every child has the best possible education throughout their time with us.”

Rachel Singer, the chief executive of the Navigate Academies Trust said: “We are very pleased to be working with Reach4 to secure the future development of the four Dearne Valley Academies, we wish everyone continued success in the future.”

The four academies, currently part of the Navigate Academies Trust, will transfer to Reach4, together with all staff under TUPE arrangements, on April 1.