It seems Route 39 will be losing the identity it originally hoped for as it now aims to become part of a multi-academy trust with Launceston, in a time of great change, amid rumours that the school, currently housing well under 200 pupils, has already cost the taxpayer £36 million. This cannot be verified as no one from the DfE will answer the question.
In all honesty, the school has little choice about joining the multi-academy trust. After Ofsted judged the school inadequate last year, governors had to work with the Office of the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) for the South West, within the Department of Education, to identify an appropriate partner to assist them. Hopefully, this will work, but the initial dream for the founders of the school appears to be in tatters. They wanted a rural school for 700 pupils, with a sixth form, which provided an outstanding education.
The school has now announced that it believes it may have found that partner in Launceston College MAT (multi-academy trust). Bideford College is also a part of this MAT.
The school says, in a communication to parents:
Launceston College MAT shares Route 39 Academy’s central belief that every student has a right to achieve through an education that both challenges and engages with them to develop their personal, social and intellectual potential.
Becoming part of Launceston College MAT opens additional opportunities for students. They will have access to a wider range of curriculum options, particularly at GCSE. Courses will be introduced that support the original vision for land-based learning. The range will be further expanded to include courses linked to local economic needs such as high-tech creative industries, arts, business studies and tourism.
Launceston College MAT’s ‘A Plus Award’ is strongly aligned to the original vision of a Route 39 Baccalaureate where students are rewarded for adventurous activities, achieving learning goals and being an active member of the wider community. This will further support our students to become adults willing to take on challenges and care for the community and environment where they live.
The Department for Education has given approval in principle for the Route 39 Academy to join Launceston College MAT. Due diligence by the Trust and Department will now be undertaken; this will inform timeframes for progressing to completion. We are keen however to begin working together to develop and improve the Academy as soon as possible.
Therefore Launceston College MAT will start providing support to Route 39 from this term. They have responded rapidly and have proposed Lynsey Slater as permanent Principal at Route 39. Lynsey is currently Deputy Principal at Launceston College. Governors have met to discuss Lynsey’s appointment and agreed that it is in the best interests of students, parents and staff that Lynsey is appointed immediately as this will provide clarity and stability going forward. This will also enable the most consistent and effective approach to rapid improvement.
There will be an opportunity to meet Lynsey and Launceston College MAT CEO, Jack Jackson, this Wednesday, 21st February, at 5.30pm in Clovelly Parish Hall. We encourage you to come along to find out more and ask any questions you have.
Lynsey comments: “I am privileged to take up the post of Principal at Route 39, and look forward to working with students, staff, governors and parents as the school further develops. I believe the opportunities offered to students and staff, as Route 39 joins the Launceston College MAT, will enhance and strengthen the educational offer for the Route 39 community”.