New MAT formed by 450-year-old grammar school foundation to recruit comprehensives

16th June 2017 at 12:01
Birmingham's King Edward VI Foundation embarks on expansion plans after setting up new academy chain

The King Edward VI Foundation in Birmingham – which runs grammars and independent schools in the city – has formed a multi-academy trust (MAT) to allow it to take over comprehensives. 

Heath Monk, executive director of the 450-year-old foundation, told Tes that the MAT is up and running and that schools will join from September. 

The charity, which has five top-performing grammar schools, two private schools and one academy in Birmingham, will run alongside the new MAT. 

Mr Monk said the six state schools in the foundation are set to join the MAT at the start of the academic year, but he also hopes to recruit more comprehensive schools. 

The group of schools currently only has one comprehensive, King Edward VI Sheldon Heath Academy, a sponsored academy previously known as Sheldon Heath Community Arts College. 

In September 2010, the foundation took over the school which had been rated “inadequate” by Ofsted.

'We don't want to rush things'

But Mr Monk would like to “bring the curriculum and the high expectations of grammar schools" to more comprehensives – like the foundation has tried to do with Sheldon Heath.

"Our schools are already committed to the arts and sport, and we are fortunate that we have got the facilities and staff to do that," he added. 

When Mr Monk took over as executive director a year ago, his priority was forming a MAT and taking on more non-selective schools.

He told Tes: "We wanted to be able to expand. It is a vehicle for more schools to be able to join in the future. We have got one non-selective school but we would like to add some more over time.

"But we don't want to rush because the foundation has been here for 450 years. It is the second oldest institution in Birmingham so we want to make sure we get things right."

The MAT will not only reach out to non-selective schools. It is also hoped that Handsworth Grammar School, a boys' grammar school in Birmingham currently run by the local authority, will join. 

This is an edited article from the 16 June edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full interview with Heath Monk hereTo subscribe, click hereTo download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here. This week's Tes magazine is available in all good newsagents. 

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