THE SIXTH Form College Solihull has become an academy after merging with the Ninestiles Academy Trust.
It is the first sixth form in the country to take up a government option of joining with an existing Multi-Academy Trust to become an academy.
Colleges can either convert to a standalone academy, or as a multi-academy trust – either by joining an existing Multi-Academy Trust or setting up a new one.
In 2015, former chancellor George Osborne said that becoming an academy would allow colleges to avoid paying VAT – which cost an average £317,000 per college.
The decision by The Sixth Form College and Ninestiles boards and governing bodies follows a public consultation for staff, students, parents and stakeholders.
The Trust also includes seven schools across Birmingham and Solihull – Ninestiles An Academy, Erdington Hall Primary School, Lyndon School, Pegasus Primary School, The Oaklands Primary School, Yarnfield Primary School and Cockshut Hill School.
With the Sixth Form College, Solihull joining, the trust says an exciting educational pathway from age 3 to 19 will be created.
The Ninestiles Trust CEO, Catherine Anwar, and The Sixth Form College, Solihull Interim Principal, Martin Sullivan, said: “The College and Ninestiles Academy Trust recognise and celebrate the diversity of our education community.
“We are committed to encouraging all staff, pupils, students and children to aspire to be the best they can in all aspects, at all times.
“We will share and realise their ambition to succeed through our core purpose of excellent teaching, learning and outcomes across all our provision.
“Together, we will ensure a sustainable future for the Trust.
“We anticipate keenly the opportunities to learn from each other and to improve our practice in all areas by doing so.
“We agree that we will demand the highest standards of integrity, openness and mutual respect from all in the Trust.
“Trustees will monitor all financial plans robustly, including any savings projected within the individual schools or college budgets.”