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New £60m academy trust to be launched across Dudley

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A new £60 million multi-academy trust which will support more than 8,500 young pupils will be launched, it has been revealed.

The Dudley Academies Trust will be sponsored by Dudley College and bring together Castle High School, Hillcrest School and Community College, Holly Hall Academy and High Arcal School to share resources.

College bosses will also plough half a million pounds into the Trust to 'kick start the process'.

Dudley College principal Lowell Williams, hailed the plans as being 'aspirational' for the future 'transformation' of the schools'.

It was given the go ahead by the Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands and the Department for Education and is set to start in September.

Mr Williams said: "Bringing together the combined strengths of four secondary schools alongside Dudley College will give us the best chance of providing outstanding technical education tos young people.

"We know that educational outcomes are not as high as they should be and we will work tirelessly to address this.

"Our plans are aspirational, not only for the development of our teaching and learning strategies and our curriculum, but also for the future transformation of the schools' estates.

"As a sponsor, the college will release up to half a million pounds to the trust to kick start this process.

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"We recognise that current government plans significantly re-shape the role of local authorities in compulsory education.

"That's why we are delighted that the Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands has put her faith in Dudley College and our local school partners to bring about a transformation of pre-16 education in the borough."

Bosses say that the proposal emerged following a 'lengthy consideration and meticulous planning' between the four partner schools and the college with 'strong support' from Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

A new trust board will be established to oversee the development of it, with a number of leading figures involved and chaired by Mr Williams.

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A chief executive officer will also be recruited to oversee it.

Schools will retain their own identities, management and leadership.

Once constituted the Dudley Academies Trust together with the college will annually support 8,500 young people aged 11 to 19-years with a total operating income in excess of £60 million.

Councillor Ian Cooper, Dudley council's cabinet member for children's services, said: "Sharing resources and knowledge in this way can be very beneficial to the schools involved and we are pleased to back these exciting proposals."

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