At the end of March, Cmat schools, Black Firs Primary School and Congleton High School (CHS), welcomed Councillor Jos Saunders, then the Cheshire East Council Cabinet Member for Children and Families, to see the Cmat Pre-School to Sixth Form Learning Journey for herself.
Within her Council remit at the time as the Portfolio Holder for Children and Families, Cllr Saunders interests included all aspects of Education and School, Lifelong Learning and Employment and Skills, so both schools were delighted to be able to share some of the many opportunities enjoyed by the 1607 children educated by the Trust. Cmat schools continue to be very successful, with all three celebrating above average results from Key Stage 1 in Black Firs and Castle, right up to Key Stage 5 at Congleton High Sixth Form.
During her visit to Congleton High, she met with Cmat CEO and Executive Principal of CHS, David Hermitt, CHS Assistant Principal - Leader Sixth Form, Julie Boulton and a number of the teaching team across the many curriculum areas on the tour. She was also able to see the learning and community facilities available to students including the new outdoor shelter, financed by donations and student fundraising initiatives.
Following a visit to the Sixth Form Centre, Cllr Saunders met with CHS Work Placement Co-ordinator, Kill Sadat-Shafai for an introduction into the school's vocational provision and work placement programme. With both education and employment falling within her remit, the CHS team were keen to share the difference made to students' success through these opportunities.
Cllr Saunders was welcomed to Black Firs by head teacher, Martin Casserley, who was able to share the Cmat learning journey from the very beginning, with a visit to the school's Early Years facility, completed in 2015. As Town Athletics Champions for fourteen years in a row and winners of many of the local sports awards, the team at Black Firs were also keen to show the Councillor their new sporting facilities.
Both schools are extremely popular with many parents / carers across the town hoping to secure a place for their child. Whilst sharing the great progress made by Cmat children and the many academic and personal successes they enjoy, Cmat CEO, David Hermitt was also keen to discuss the lack of funding with the Councillor. The increase in the number of housing developments in close proximity to CHS and Black Firs has not been matched by an increase in funding and this is a cause for concern.
Cmat CEO and CHS Executive Principal, David Hermitt, commented:
"Families moving into the area should be made to feel welcome by having a chance of securing a school place within walking distance of their new homes. The property developers have signed agreements to provide additional resources for the secondary schools in the town, but this funding has not yet materialised.
"We look forward to receiving the levels of funding necessary for us to be able to educate this continually increasing number of students."
Both schools were delighted to meet with Councillor Saunders and would like to pass on the thanks of all the children, parents, carers and staff to her for taking the time to visit them.