TWO York academy chains, which between them teach about 6,000 children in city schools plan to merge.

South Bank Multi Academy Trust and South York Multi Academy Trust, have announced they are to explore a possible merger which could see a total of eight primary and junior schools and three secondary schools in York and its surrounding villages brought together in one trust.

The merged Trust would offer provision for pupils from ages three to 18, serving almost 6,000 students.

Trustees from both trusts have taken a preliminary look at the possibilities of a merger and decided to proceed to a more formal examination of the potential benefits. They will now begin a thorough due diligence process, as well as a holding consultation with all their stakeholders.

If the merger goes ahead, the Trusts will aim to complete it before the start of the next academic year in September 2021.

Ian Warman, Chair of Trustees of South York MAT, which includes Fulford School and many primaries, said: “Our Trust has always been rooted in enhancing education and improving outcomes for the children in our schools and communities.

“From all the discussions between our two Trusts it’s clear we share this fundamental principle, common values and ethos.

“A merger would enable us to share best practices and generate economies of scale to further invest in improving all our children’s futures.”

Edwin Thomas, Chair of Trustees of South Bank MAT, which includes York High and Millthorpe, among others, said: “It was clear from our first conversation that South Bank and South York share a lot of values and a common approach to learning.

“A merger of the Trusts offers the potential to enhance education for all the children in the communities we serve, by sharing skills, expertise and resources more widely.”

Steve Lewis, CEO of South York MAT, said: “A possible merger provides exciting opportunities for our like-minded teams to work collaboratively, further raising educational standards and hence enhancing the life chances of our young people.

“We share a clear vision to provide excellence of opportunity and educational outcomes for the children of York and its surrounding villages.”

Adam Cooper, Interim Trust Principal of South Bank MAT, said: “We formed our original Trust because we saw that great schools, working together, could offer more benefits for our children, staff and community. In a lot of ways, a merger with SYMAT gives us the capacity to make those collaborations even more impactful.”