Advance Learning Partnership Merger

Dear Parent/Guardian/Carer

As you are aware, Hummersknott Academy and Skerne Park Academy (SPA) currently make up Hummersknott Academy Trust.  The Trust has been in operation since 2012 and is very proud of what its schools have achieved in ensuring progress for the students in their care and providing a child – centred, rounded educational experience from age 3 to 16.

In the White Paper published in 2022, the current government set out its intentions to ensure that all schools and Trusts should become part of larger, stronger trust groups by 2030.  Collaborative working offers huge benefits for students and staff. Working together, we can make our resources go further and keep school funding focussed on teaching and learning.

As a Trust, we are absolutely convinced that, in order to create capacity for improvement, to secure the future and grow our schools, we need to seek a move to working as part of a larger Multi Academy Trust.

Trustees have considered a range of potential options, focusing on compatibility of ethos, visions, and values. After long consideration, we believe that the Advance Learning Partnership (ALP) shares our key values of full inclusion, high expectations, outstanding teaching and learning and a relentless focus on the needs and potential of every child.  We believe that joining ALP could strengthen both the ALP Multi Academy Trust and our schools, providing access to far wider educational and personal development opportunities for our students and staff. The Department for Education have considered our proposal and are happy for this process to proceed with a view to making the arrangement formal by autumn 2023.

Whilst we will be joining with another Multi Academy Trust, you can be assured that the character and special aspects of Hummersknott Academy and Skerne Park Academy will remain.  We will continue to have our own local governing bodies providing the day-to-day support and challenge for the leadership of our schools. These will continue to include membership from parents of children who attend Hummersknott and Skerne Park Academies.

All Darlington Local Authority arrangements will remain unchanged, including transport and admissions to the academies.  Year 6 admissions are not affected for September 2023 and beyond.

You are also welcome to contact with feedback or comments about the process of joining the ALP MAT at [email protected]. The closing date to submit comments is Friday 16th June 2023

I thank you for your continued support of our schools and look forward to working together to ensure Hummersknott Academy and Skerne Park Academy are at the heart of our communities, serving and supporting our young people and ensuring that every student receives an outstanding education. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen to the pupils?

Pupils will continue to attend Hummersknott Academy. The vision and ethos of the school will remain the same.

What will happen to the School leadership?

The current School Leadership team of Hummersknott Academy will remain. The Executive Headteacher will be a member of the Academy Council (Local Governing Body). The Head of School will be responsible for standards in the school as he is now.

What will happen to the staff of the school?

The staff of Hummersknott would be employed by ALP and remain working at our school.

Will there be more activities for my child?

There are numerous opportunities for pupils in ALP’s family of schools to be part of joint activities and events e.g. sports competitions, university visits etc.

Will I still be able to meet/speak to someone who knows my child well?

The Head of School and the Leadership Team, as well as the college managers and form Mentors will all be based at Hummersknott as they are now.

Will my child’s education suffer?

No. Opportunities for learning would be enhanced and improved as the school can share and collaborate with other schools in ALP.

My child has Special Needs. Will they still get help and support?

Support for SEND children will be unaffected by joining the ALP MAT. ALP is fully committed to providing the best education for all pupils.

Will the uniform change?

The school’s uniform would remain the same for the foreseeable future.

Why has Hummersknott Academy Trust chosen to join the ALP MAT?

The Department for Education encourages the growth and development of multi academy trusts. The Advance Learning Partnership has a similar ethos to our own school and like us, they value and want the best for every child. They are close enough geographically to allow teachers to share training opportunities.

What will happen to the Trust Board and Governors?

The Governing Body will be renamed the Academy Council but will still be responsible for the standards in the school, including the performance of staff and pupils.

What will happen to the buildings?

ALP will continue to manage the buildings as the school currently does.