CHANGE is afoot for thousands of children across York, North and East Yorkshire involved in a large schools merger.

From today (September 1) two multi academy trusts (MATs) in the region have merged to form one large group.

The move, which has been years in the planning, will see York-based Hope Learning Trust and Hull-based Sentamu Academy Learning Trust, which are both Church of England Trusts, combine forces to become the Hope Sentamu Learning Trust.

The new trust will include 15 academies across York, Hull, Selby and Scarborough.

Hope has ten schools: Manor CE Academy, Vale of York Academy, Barlby High, Graham School, George Pindar School, Poppleton Ousebank Primary, Burton Green Primary, Forest of Galtres Anglican Methodist Primary, Baldersby St James Primary and Skelton Primary.

The two Church of England Trusts began merger discussions almost two years ago given their common purpose in terms of ethos, their underlying principles of enhanced levels of continuous school improvement and ensuring the flourishing of students within their communities. Following many months of partnership working, the trusts received approval for the merger from the Regional School Commissioners (RSC) in November last year.

Tony Myers, chairman of Hope Sentamu Learning Trust, said: “I am thrilled to see the merger come to fruition after months of hard work from numerous colleagues across the trust. Our trustees and senior leaders have a clear commitment to ensure the flourishing of students within our communities and providing opportunities for staff to develop their own career pathways, alongside the provision of high-quality education and resources. This merger provides real strengths and opportunities for all.

“The key benefits of this merged trust through increased size and scaling will lead to enhanced levels of continuous school improvement; cross-fertilisation of best practice and improved opportunities for mutual support; improved value for money within the resources available; enhanced back-office functions; and the ability to grow further.”

Helen Winn, chief executive officer of the new trust has been keen to involve staff, pupils and the schools’ communities throughout the merger process.

Staff and pupils from all 15 schools were recently involved in a consultation to decide upon the Trust’s values, which resulted in three core pillars: Respect, Teamwork and Kindness.

She said: “This exciting merger means we can continue to develop, collaboratively, as one trust. The Trust Board and I are committed to ensuring that all of our pupils and our colleagues are given opportunities so that they can thrive and live life to the full.

“I would like to say a personal thank you to all those who have worked so hard to make the merger happen.

"We are looking forward to the opportunities ahead and we can’t wait to see our vision emerge.”