Oldbury's Perryfields Academy to benefit from new education partnership

An Oldbury secondary school has joined a ground-breaking new academy group to improve standards in the classroom.

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Perryfields Academy has joined the Broadleaf Partnership Trust which includes Plantsbrook School and Town Junior School in Sutton Coldfield which will improve its financial footing and gain access to expertise.

Broadleaf is in discussions with more primary and secondary schools in the Black Country to join the trust.

Broadleaf chief executive officer Claire Pritchard said: “The Broadleaf name is perfect because it captures the idea of a protective environment, where all of our schools can work together as a family.

“At the same time, in nature every leaf is different - much like our schools – and Broadleaf won’t be standardising everything about our schools because they each have their own strengths and serve unique communities.

“It’s about celebrating and recognising what is great about each school, and then utilising those areas of expertise to share best practice across our family.”

Mum-of-three Claire is from Walsall and has a wealth of experience to help Perryfields Academy improve grades and pastoral care.

She said: “I learned so much from that experience, working across 10 local authorities with 12,000 pupils and really just seeing the benefits of schools coming together and having a uniform approach to what they do in some areas of school life.

“We been very clear that we want to grow at the right pace and in the right area, taking the West Midlands as our absolute boundary, while also trying to keep a healthy balance between primary and secondary schools."

She added: “That means making sure that any schools that join us are the right fit, and that we are the right fit for them too.”

“So, we are looking to grow to five schools at first, at which point we will stop, embed our systems and evaluate our progress before thinking about extending further.”

Broadleaf’s schools are already benefitting from a close working relationship, with staff exploring how staff can work together at junior and secondary schools to better support students as they transition from one to another.

Claire said: “We’re looking closely at the expertise we’ve got in each education phase, and how that can best support others - for instance not many primary teachers are specialists in Modern Foreign Languages, but we’ve got a wealth of knowledge in our secondary schools that can be shared.

"Equally, our primary colleagues are well placed to guide us with secondary aged pupils who need extra support in that tricky transition stage between years six and seven.”

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