CORNWALL'S largest secondary school and primary school will join forces next year in a "brave and innovative" move to improve students' education and save cash.
Newquay Tretherras Academy and Newquay Junior Academy, which have around 1,650 and 550 pupils respectively, will operate as a multi-academy trust (MAT) from April 1.
Named Newquay Education Trust (NET), the schools will be known as the Newquay Tretherras Campus and the Newquay Junior Campus.
Sue Martin, the current head at Tretherras, will take on the role of executive head of the trust, as Newquay Junior's head teacher Steve Bywater is due to retire at the end of the academic year.
She said: "It's brave and innovative; it's a big thing for Newquay and it's a big thing for Cornwall. The challenge is to build on the considerable successes of both schools, and it's one I'm looking forward to."
Mrs Martin said that cash savings – such as shared costs for cleaning and catering – were not the primary motive behind the formation of the MAT, although they would be an "added advantage".
The overriding aim of the collaboration was to ensure a seamless transition from primary to secondary school for students, to maximise their chances of success.
Mrs Martin said: "Schools need to get into these types of partnerships with funding the way it is going and education policy often being decided at a local level. It's a practical and pragmatic solution and lots of schools, particularly in Cornwall, are looking to form trusts and partnerships where they can share costs.
"However, the main reason is for the educational benefits, to deliver that 'all through' approach to education and speed up the progress of students from primary to secondary."
Pupils making the move from primary to secondary schools often take around six months to acclimatise to their new surroundings, she said, but under a MAT they will already know the new school site and many of their new teachers, meaning their education is less likely to suffer.
The move also allows teachers to work closely to ensure the curriculum follows on smoothly from primary to secondary education.
"It will break down that divide for students so they can feel more confident," Mrs Martin said.
"It's about continuing the pace of progression for students, so they don't have a dip or lose momentum. It's a great opportunity."
NET will work closely with parents, staff and pupils to monitor the success of the new trust, and government education watchdog Ofsted will continue to inspect both campuses separately.