'Wings over the Outer West' launches the OWL Trust
Our partnership of 10 primary schools in the west of Newcastle has teamed up with the city council to form the Outer West Learning (OWL) Trust.
The Trust is a charitable organisation, led by the schools in partnership with the City Council. There will also be other partners, with Northumbria University; Greggs Foundation and Tyne and Wear Museums and Archive confirmed to date with potential for other future partners from business, public sector bodies and cultural organisations.
The OWL Trust is symbolically launching this collaboration with an ‘owl relay’, with two mature owls, a clutch of owlets and their handler, Ray, visiting each of the 10 schools on 18 June to pass on their wisdom to some of the pupils and staff in a brief ceremony.
The OWL Trust will benefit children by providing them with new opportunities and experiences. Staff across the schools will work more closely with each other and their communities, to share skills and expertise, ideas and resources; but the schools will continue to operate separately too and with their own individual ethos.
The schools - Beech Hill, Lemington Riverside, Milecastle, Newburn Manor, Simonside, Throckley, Walbottle Village, Waverley, West Denton and Westerhope - are responsible for the education of more than 2,600 pupils between the ages of three and 11. The school catchments cover an area of 10 square miles that are bordered by the tidal stretches of the River Tyne, the Northumberland County boundary and the main conurbation of the City of Newcastle with Hadrian’s Wall bisecting the area.
David Jones, Chair of Governors at Newburn Manor Primary, and recently-appointed Chair of the OWL Trust Board, said: “We already have great schools where our pupils have highly positive experiences and attain good standards. The Trust’s vision is to build a shared learning community in which children, young people, staff, parents and other partners discover their talents, realise their potential, and develop a passion for learning that endures through their lives.”
Martin Surtees, Assistant Director (Education) at Newcastle City Council, said: “The trust model works by harnessing the collective strengths of each member school, in collaboration with businesses, other organisations and the city council, to develop ways of providing even better opportunities for children and young people. School Trusts are an important part of our commitment to being a co-operative council working in true partnership with schools and others for the benefit of Newcastle’s children and young people. And we are delighted to be partners in this exciting development.”
Many schools within the Outer West Learning Trust are also part of the Walbottle Primary Teaching School Alliance. Walbottle Primary is designated as a teaching school. This will further enhance the work of the Trust by providing training and development opportunities for existing staff as well as new and aspiring teachers.
You can follow the developments of the OWL Trust through their new website, twitter and facebook feeds www.outerwestlearningtrust.co.uk
The launch event follows the creation of two others trusts last year; the Newcastle Special Schools Trust and the Newcastle North West Learning Trust. The Gosforth Trust, involving 11 schools, was also established on 1 April and held its launch event at Gosforth Civic Hall in May.
Meanwhile other groups of schools in Newcastle are also developing plans to establish Trusts, including Ouseburn Learning Trust consisting of eight schools in Heaton, Ouseburn and Jesmond and two other clusters of schools in the East and West of the City that are currently consulting with parents, staff and pupils.