Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 19 January 2017


I greatly welcome the announcement this week that all of the five secondary schools in this constituency (Hele, Plympton Academy, Ivybridge, Coombe Dean and Plymstock School), together with a number of local primary schools are consulting about whether to form a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) together. MATs are the way the government are encouraging schools to organise themselves so they can share resources together and produce an even better learning environment for every child at each school. Why re-invent the wheel? How much better to learn from one another.

Collaborative working is very much in the interests of each school. It would enable schools to share best practice, curriculum collaboration, extra-curriculum opportunities, staff development, finance and human resources, legal services and maintenance, to name but a few. The benefits are clear for all to see.

I very much hope that this MAT will come into being. It straddles the Devon/Plymouth border, as does my constituency, but reflects the reality on the ground of a real community of interest between Plympton, Plymstock and Ivybridge, which I refer to as the golden triangle.

The boundary between the city and Devon is highly artificial these days as so many people criss-cross it every day for work, school, leisure and shopping. 

When I was first elected we did not have mobile phones, the internet or e-mails. The world has moved on. We then had every state school run by the local education authority, which at its best worked well, but in far too many cases tended to stifle the creative and innovative leadership potential that many schools possessed.

The academy programme in the past 10 years has liberated schools to find a new level of excellence and developed entrepreneurial skills amongst a new generation of ambitious leadership teams.  Now it is time to go further. Clustering schools together – from the bottom up (it will be their choice) - in geographically appropriate MATs like the one proposed for South West Devon schools will take us to a new level of success. This can happen without obvious or expensive structural changes, the school will each carry on with their own ethos and character as now, but behind the scenes the benefits of collaboration would slowly emerge.

Children only get one chance at their education – so it is our responsibility to put in place the best possible structure of learning.

That is what this exciting new venture is all about.  I congratulate all of those involved.

posted by Gary @ 09:57