Schools Trust wants local help

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Rye College

The Aquinas Trust, which now runs Rye’s schools, is seeking help from the town as it settles into its first year in this new role.

Trust Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kathy Griffiths and Executive Head Teacher Barry Blakelock were invited guest speakers at last week’s annual Town Meeting in Rye.

The Trust runs 11 schools (two secondary and nine primary) said Kathy, herself a former head teacher, and their mission was to provide the best possible education – and “we need people from the local community to stick with us”.

Barry Blakelock Executive Headteacher

Barry added: “For us at Aquinas, our schools are community schools and the schools here are moving on but it is going to take some time to get it right.”

However, he added: “Though there is much work to be done, I think results are going to improve.” Results under the previous Trust had been below the national average.

In answer to questions, the meeting heard that schools would have advisory councils drawn from the local community and, said Kathy: “We need that expertise and that involvement.” More details on the advisory work can be found at aquinastrust.org in the “vacancies” section.

In answer to a question about the path through the site now being closed off, Barry said: “It cuts the site in half and we want to use the whole site more, but we have to ensure the children are safe by making the site more secure.”

In answer to a question about the Trust’s resources, Kathy said the negotiations to take over the schools had taken so long in order to ensure a commitment from the Department For Education to supply £4.2 million to meet the schools’ needs.

But, she said, it would not meet all the needs and the Trust had found money from its own resources to replace carpets and stock up the libraries.

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird.

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