Following discussions involving The Department for Education (DfE), it has been announced that Stamford Queen Eleanor School (SQES) is to join the highly successful Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT).
The Governors of SQES, CfBT (the School’s existing sponsor) and CMAT have resolved to explore how such a partnership could be expedited to deliver the best possible outcome for the school, its students and the people of Stamford.
Jonathan Selwyn, Chair of Governors at Stamford Queen Eleanor, stated: “This is a new chapter for Stamford Queen Eleanor. We are excited about the opportunity of working with CMAT and feel there is a good match between their vision and passion for education and the ambition of the governing body and staff.
We are very proud of the achievement of our students and staff and are delighted that the significant progress that we have made has been recognised by the Government. We are very much looking forward to building on that success through the proposed partnership with CMAT. We also respect the work and commitment of the proposers of the Free School and believe that now is the time to come together to deliver truly excellent and continually improving education for Stamford.”
CMAT, alongside a group of local parents and educational professionals, submitted an application to open a Free School in Stamford earlier this year.
Although the educational vision and support for the Free School was compelling, the basic need for school places in the area, the potential impact on SQES and the costs to the public purse led the DfE to seek an alternative method to deliver the vision. As a result, the Department has invited CMAT to explore the delivery of its educational vision at Stamford Queen Eleanor.
A statement from the Department said: “The Department and CfBT Schools Trust recognise that the Stamford Free School application received strong parental demand for a school which would deliver the vision offered by CMAT.
“Having considered the local circumstances, we believe that the best solution would be for CMAT to seek to become the sponsor of Stamford Queen Eleanor, rather than establish a new school.”
Mark Woods, Executive Principal of CMAT, said: “This was not the approach we had planned as it was not an option that was originally on the table, but we are delighted to have the opportunity to take forward our vision of education in Stamford, and thank everyone that supported our original application. The original Proposer group have worked incredibly hard on this project, and we very pleased that they will support us in pursuing this alternative solution.”
“Stamford Queen Eleanor has made significant progress in recent years and we believe our ethos will help drive this forward positively and rapidly. The Trust has a very clear vision for all its schools – to provide high-quality education for all at the heart of our communities.
“We look forward to working with all members of the Stamford community, the existing governors, and the proposer group to create the highly-successful, popular school that Stamford deserves and demands.”
Chris Tweedale, CEO of CfBT Schools Trust, explained: “There is simply not enough demand for two secondary schools in the area and so we are working with Stamford Queen Eleanor School, CMAT and the Department for Education to agree an exciting way forward that is in the best interests of the school, students, parents and the community.
“We have seen fantastic progress at Stamford Queen Eleanor School since it joined CfBT Schools Trust. Last year, the school recorded its best ever GCSE results with 75 per cent of students achieving 5 or more A*-C grades. Our priority is to ensure this success continues.”
By joining CMAT, the school would implement the Trust’s distinct set of values and ethos to help drive improvements which have been developed at the Trust’s founding school, Swavesey Village College – a school considered Outstanding in every respect by Ofsted.
The school will continue to apply the same admissions code, and all pupils that are already attending the school will continue to do so.
CMAT value the success of every child and place the sharing of excellent education practice at the core of this value. The Trust is committed to improving the quality of education, through an unrelenting commitment to improvement and collaboration.
The Trust is committed to maintaining these core principles– working with schools where it believes it can help and who in turn can enrich and provide real benefit for the existing CMAT family.