The Clevedon Learning Trust (CLT) and Futura Learning Partnership (Futura) formally merged and came together as a single, unified Multi Academy Trust on the 1st March 2023.
What is the background to the merger?
- The trustees of The Clevedon Learning Trust (CLT) and Futura Learning Partnership (Futura) agreed to merge the two trusts and create one larger trust. CLT had 13 schools, serving 4,600 pupils, located in North Somerset and Somerset. Futura had 15 schools, serving 7000 pupils, located in B&NES, South Gloucestershire and South Bristol. The merger has created a trust with one special, six secondary and 21 primary schools, serving nearly 12,000 pupils
- The CLT initiated the merger discussions as part of their work to replace their founding CEO, John Wells, who retired at the end of the school year 2021-22. This work included talking to a number of trusts about a merger
- Following discussions and an initial due diligence investigation, the CLT Board voted unanimously to seek to merge with Futura. The Futura Trust Board also voted unanimously in favour of the merger. The trustees of CLT and Futura believe strongly that the merger will be in the best interests of pupils and staff and will secure the future of both trusts
- The Chief Executive of the merged trust is Andrea Arlidge, the former CEO of Futura Learning Partnership. Andrea was the founding CEO of Futura and has been in post since 2014
- The merger was given formal approval by the Department of Education on 26th September 2022. The application was approved in full and feedback received indicated it was viewed as a strong proposal.
What is the rationale for the merger?
- The merger has created a strong trust with the capacity to improve schools rapidly and at scale, to the benefit of current and future pupils and staff
- Both sets of trustees considered there to be considerable synergy between the two trusts, which are both at a similar stage of development.
The key points of similarity were:
- Common vision, values, culture and ethos
- Commitment to an inclusive, all-through organisation, based on a powerful understanding of the whole educational journey, 3 – 19
- Strong partnership with the Diocese of Bath & Wells with foundation trustees on both trust boards
- Strong commitment to working with the communities their schools serve, with each school retaining an identity that is reflective of its community
- Both trusts had a strong commitment to strategic governance as one of the defining characteristics of a strong trust, including school-based governance that ensures each school is firmly rooted in its community
- Strong commitment to being an excellent employer, an ‘employer of choice’, supporting staff workload and well-being, investing in training and providing opportunities for growth and career development
- Both trusts had a desire and commitment to grow beyond their respective sizes as part of their current strategic plans
- The merger will enable the newly formed trustee board to create a financial strategy that will be sustainable both now and well into the future.
What is the merged trust called?
- After careful consideration, both sets of trustees decided to adopt the name Futura Learning Partnership for the new trust. This makes sense as the name itself is new, having only just been launched in September 2021. Futura was formerly called Wellsway Multi Academy Trust, named after the founding school (Wellsway School in Keynsham) in the same way that CLT was named after Clevedon School. It is important that our new trust has a name that is not linked to an individual school or place to emphasise that every school within our family is of equal value
- Very importantly, our merged trust has adopted the CLT values of Children, Choice and Collaboration, which has become the strap line for the trust.
What will be the benefits of the merger?
Trustees believe the merger will be in the best interest of our pupils and communities because it will lead to:
- Wider opportunities for pupils
- Increased capacity and flexibility to support and improve schools
- Enhanced career and professional development opportunities for staff
- Greater financial resilience and wider economies of scale
- Improved systems and procedures supported by a central team of skilled professionals.
We will communicate more about the development of the trust as it continues to create new initiatives that will, ultimately, benefit your child.
If you have any questions about the merger then please do not hesitate to contact your school headteacher of principal in the first instance.