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Keighley Catholic schools’ propose academy venture
Catholic schools in Keighley and Bradford could join together as a Multi-Academy Trust, it was revealed this week.
If the ambitious plans get the go-ahead, schools will break away from Bradford Council and receive funding direct from the government.
Each school would still be run by a headteacher and governing body, but linking them together would be a trust board.
Keighley schools involved are Holy Family secondary and St Joseph’s, St Anne’s and Our Lady of Victories primaries.
Parents of pupils at 16 Catholic schools across the district are this month being consulted on the proposals.
Until now, Catholic schools have been discouraged from applying for academy status due to fears of losing their religious identity and ethos. But the team behind the new proposal said it had devised a new academy model that addressed these concerns, under the umbrella of the Leeds diocese.
They said the essential principle was that no schools were vulnerable, isolated or left behind.
There would be no external business sponsorship and no change to the distinctive nature of any of the schools.
John Devlin, head at Our Lady of Victories School in West Lane, said parents and pupils would see very little difference if Keighley schools joined the new trust in October.
He said each school would retain its existing name, uniforms and staff, but there would be differences behind the scenes.
Mr Devlin added: “This is not a decision taken lightly. “We’ve been talking about it for about 18 months. It’s a natural progression from working together.
“We can see a number of benefits. We believe it will strengthen our Catholic identity and vision.
“It will enable us to pool our resources and make savings.
“It can only improve the quality of provision because we are sharing our knowledge and expertise.”
A consultation meeting for parents will be held at 6pm on Tuesday at Holy Family School in Spring Gardens Lane. Parents can also contact email@example.com and the consultation closes on March 22.