The UK's second-largest schools co-operative trust was launched last night with a vision that could transform education in west Cornwall.
The launch of the Penwith Education Trust (PET) was hosted by Penwith College and involved 12 schools who have already joined the trust, plus four currently in consultation to sign up.
Guest speaker was Cornwall's longest-serving head teacher Pat McGovern, head at Helston Community School and the man credited for inspiring the creation of the UK's biggest schools co-operative trust on Helston and the Lizard.
Dr McGovern inspired the audience with some of the successes of his own co-operative trust, which includes 18 schools, and those of others, such as Barcelona Football Club.
"I do believe that this is the way forward, not just for our own area but for the county and the country," he said. "There is a body of evidence that links partnership and co-operation to school improvement and that is the route we are going down."
Pensans, Heamoor, Newlyn and Nancealverne were the first schools to sign up to the west Cornwall co-operative trust just over a year ago.
Nine further schools went into consultation in June last year to join the trust, with all but Pendeen then signing up. Leedstown, Gwinear, Connor Downs and Trythall are now set to join as well.
The trust ensures that each of the schools can work together to share resources, with the governing body of each school responsible for employing staff as well as becoming more responsible for admissions and assets including the grounds and buildings.
The trust has already formed a PET choir, who sang at the launch event on Monday night, and a PET football league, with a match planned against the Helston-Lizard Schools Co-operative Trust next month.
Penwith College head Martin Tucker, who chairs the Penwith Education Trust, said: "Everybody signed up to this trust is looking to help each other, to learn from each other and to make education in Penwith better and better and better."ã
For more on the launch, see this Thursday's Cornishman.