Five North Devon schools consider joining successful trust

Posted on: 17 May 2017

Five North Devon schools are considering joining a successful Devon academy trust.

The Ventrus multi-academy trust is currently responsible for 12 schools across the county and has won a raft of praise for its performance and leadership.

Ventrus runs 11 primary schools including Orchard Vale in Barnstaple and Pilton Community College.

It has just been selected by the Government to open a new 420-place primary in Bideford.

Now five more schools from the Barnstaple area are to consult parents and their wider communities on signing up to Ventrus from January 2018.

They are:  Ashleigh C of E Primary School, Bishops Tawton Primary School, Bratton Fleming Primary School, Holywell C of E Primary School and Pilton Infants’ School.

The school governors say they believe the benefits of joining Ventrus would include:

•    To improve outcomes for all children
•    To create opportunities to share resources
•    To create wider opportunities for enhancing the education of the pupils, for example through joint school projects, sports and creative projects
•    To enable pupils to meet and work as a part of a larger group
•    To provide greater flexibility with regards to the curriculum to enhance opportunities for children
•    To provide greater staff development opportunities and networks which will enable the school to keep and develop valued staff
•    To secure and develop successful leaders for the future
•    To share best practice at all levels by making full use of staff expertise in specialist areas
•    To improve opportunities for professionals who know the pupils best to be at the centre of the decision making process
•    To manage school budgets more effectively and creatively to support pupil progress
•    To increase purchasing power and ability to secure best practice

There will be a special meeting for parents and community partners to quiz school leaders and governors as well as Ventrus Chief Executive Officer, Gary Chown, at 6pm on May 24 at Ashleigh Primary School.

Responses can also be sent to individual schools at

The consultation will close on July 5 and governors will then meet to consider the responses and decide whether to join Ventrus.

In the past few weeks, inspectors from the school standards agency, Ofsted, rated three Ventrus schools as good and praised the trust’s management and leadership.

They included Orchard Vale which the inspectors said provided a rich learning environment with many stimulating resources to help children learn.

They told Head of School Fiona Pearce: “You are very well supported by other leaders in the school (who) are working very well as a team, learning from each other and from other schools across the multi-academy trust.

“Governors are very well informed about the school. They, too, are playing an important role in the school’s continuous push for improvement supported by Ventrus.

“The executive headteacher, the chief executive officer and other officers of the trust provide important support in, for example, teacher development and training.”

Chief Executive of the Ventrus multi-academy trust, Gary Chown

Mr Chown, said: “It is very encouraging that Ofsted have consistently recognised the strength of our partnership and the impact that it has on improving outcomes for our children.

“We are keen to work with those who share our visions and values, enabling every child to receive the best possible educational experience.”

Posted in: Education