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Multi Academy Trust Merger: Update on Progress 23.06.16

Dear Parents and Carers,

As you know, the Boards of Templar Academies Schools Trust (TAST), Academies South West (ASW) and South Dartmoor Academy Trust (SDAT) have agreed in principle to merge to form a single Multi Academy Trust.  This is being planned as a two stage process, with TAST and ASW coming together for the 1st of September and SDAT following during the subsequent year.  I’m writing to update you on Progress.

We have formed a Shadow ‘Board’ with equal numbers of Directors from each of the three Trusts.  There will be three Executive Directors, Roger Pope and Matthew Shanks (Secondary) and Rachel Shaw (Primary). This ensures both Primary and Secondary expertise on the Board, as well as representation from each of the three founding trusts.  Peter Di Giuseppe, currently Chair of TAST, will be the Chair of the new Board.

We are now working with our legal advisors to draft the new articles (essentially the constitution of the new Trust) which then need to be approved by the DfE.

At the same time we are working with the Regional Schools Commissioner and Head Teacher Board in order to gain their approval for the arrangements.  We are still on target to have this in place for 1st September for TAST and ASW with South Dartmoor joining during the academic year.

Roger Pope’s new role will be as Executive Principal of Kingsbridge and Dartmouth Academies and Chief Executive Officer of the new Trust.  He will take a particular lead on external engagement including the South West Teaching Schools Alliance and Leading Schools South West. 

Matthew Shanks will continue as Executive Head Teacher of Teign and Coombeshead Academies and as Chief Education Lead of the new trust, working with the Executive Heads to lead the Primary schools.  This will ensure that we have strong local leadership whilst also capitalising on the benefits of all the Primaries being able to work together as a group.  Matthew Shanks will take on overall leadership of teaching and learning across the trust enabling us to maximise curriculum progression from 3 to 19.  He will also take the lead on central services to support teaching and learning.

Hugh Bellamy remains as Executive Principal of South Dartmoor Community College and the Atrium.  He will focus on leading on collaboration in Post 16 as well as alternative provision.

Stuart White, currently the Trust Business Manager for ASW, will become the Business Manager for the new Trust.  He is already working with the Finance team within TAST to create a single effective and economical structure.  He will work with Matthew Shanks in order to maximise the effectiveness and economy of other central service provision across the Trust. 

We are all very excited about the opportunities that the new Trust gives us for improving the recruitment and training of entrants to the profession, continuous professional development and leadership development – all ultimately leading to much better outcomes and life chances for all of our students. 

You will be kept updated on further progress.

Yours faithfully,

Graeme Cock


Chair of Directors SDMAT