Junior school joins St Benet’s MAT

13 September 2021

St Mary’s Church of England Junior School in Long Stratton has officially joined the Diocese of Norwich St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust after its successful ‘try before you buy’ experience.

The junior school which has 200 pupils and employs 25 staff has been a stand-alone Academy for 10 years. It has built a close relationship with St Benet’s and took up their proposal of becoming an Associate Member of St Benet’s for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Ms Aziza Cranmer, Principal of St Mary’s Church of England Junior Academy said: “We decided to ‘try before we buy,’ empowering us to be a part of St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust, with the solace of knowing that we could retreat at any point if we were not convinced.  In the meantime, St Mary’s would take every opportunity presented, as though we ourselves were a full St Benet’s MAT school.

“In the 2019-2020 academic year, we began to question what we might gain and what we might lose by joining a multi-Academy organisation. Questions which included the impact on our school in all areas, for example, development for all stakeholders, impact on curriculum, autonomy, financial implications, governance, staffing and staffing structures, to name but a few.

“Over time, and through our own research and many meetings and discussions, we found not only the answers we were looking for, but also more options than anticipated for taking further steps closer to what we were striving for, and we found this in St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust.

“Our work with St Benet’s included staff, leadership and governance development opportunities, remote learning and technological support, curriculum development and the opportunity to work one-to-one with leaders in this field,  collaboration and school development support, auditing, development and training, business and site support including procurement and finding even greater savings, HR, legal and financial management support, well-being and support for both leaders and staff, recruitment support and preparation for interview support for our up-and-coming school leaders, and more.”

Richard Cranmer CEO of St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust said: “Earlier this year the Secretary of State promoted this route for schools to learn more about the benefits of being part of a wider family and St. Mary’s have proved just how valuable this is. We could not be more delighted to fully welcome St Mary’s Church of England Junior Academy into our St Benet’s family.

“St Mary’s Church of England Junior School’s decision to be associate members over the past 12 months has enabled them to engage fully with St. Benet’s and make an informed decision on the future of their school community.”

Two online events are being hosted by St Benet’s MAT and the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust on Monday 27 September and Wednesday 29 September from 6.30pm to 8pm where headteachers and chair of governors can find out what it’s like being part of a multi academy trust.

Any schools interested in attending these online events or finding out more about becoming an Associate Member please email Paul Dunning.





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