ONE of North Yorkshire’s most successful school and sixth forms is exploring becoming a multi-academy trust (MAT).

Richmond School & Sixth Form College is considering taking the step which would enable it to share its expertise and offer staff more opportunities for professional development.

MAT status is seen as an integral part of a vision to bolster the North by providing a skilled workforce for local employers and national and international businesses that have chosen to locate in the region.

For headteacher Ian Robertson the move to a self-governing organisation, which is backed by governors and the local education authority, would be a parting legacy after announcing his retirement at the end of this year.

The day to day running of Richmond School & Sixth Form College will fall to his deputy headteacher Jenna Potter, who becomes head of school, while Mr Robertson focuses on the MAT initiative.

He said: “We believe that schools are stronger together and we will be seeking partners whose ethos, aims and standards match ours.

“Schools will retain their uniqueness but share common values that aim to raise standards across every aspect of life.

“Put simply, we want to find the best way forward for our students and staff to contribute the most to the region and the national and global communities.”

Chair of the Governing Board James Robson added: “The Governing Board was unanimous in its decision to convert the school, which has a long and rich history.

“Seeking autonomous academy status is another momentous occasion and the headteacher and I will investigate which multi-academy trusts are best aligned with our ethos and vision, before making recommendations to the Governing Body, parents, staff and other stakeholders.”

The benefits of becoming an MAT include sharing practice and expertise and action to ensure the maximum use of facilities, wider community involvement and the spreading of a culture of inclusivity and the capacity to access DFE funding for capital growth and development.

It is anticipated that there would also be stronger ties with further and higher education colleges and employers.