Three Staffordshire schools are set to combine and form a brand new multi-academy trust in a major educational shake-up across part of the Burton area.
On Wednesday, November 1, the Central Co-operative Learning Trust will officially begin operation, and will bring together William Shrewsbury Primary School, in Church Road Stretton, John of Rolleston Primary School, on Chapel Lane and Outwoods Primary School, also in Rolleston.
The three schools have been working together for the past seven years, and has been such a successful partnership for the staff, pupils and communities of the three schools that bosses at each have decided to progress and become an academy trust.
Bernadette Hunter, head teacher of William Shrewsbury, said that the time was right for the academy to be formed.
She said: "This process of becoming an academy is really about creating a formal working relationship, we will no longer be a managed school, and will be funded directly by central government.
"We believe the time is right to take this step, to take control of our own destiny. We are going through a time when there are a lot of changes in education, on both a national and county level.
"Each of the schools will retain their own independence. Each school will keep its own uniform and logo, but there will be opportunities for schools and staff to work together, to offer mutual support."
After becoming part of an academy set-up, it becomes independent and is funded directly by Government, rather than by the nearby authority.
Head teachers of academy schools typically hold more power to make changes to term times and the base curriculum taught at the school, but Mrs Hunter has said there are no plans to change term dates to avoid possible confusion with other schools in the area.
Lesley Wells, the headteacher at Outwoods Primary School, spoke of her excitement at the forming of the academy with two of the area's other schools.
She said: "I am delighted to be forming the new multi-academy trust with our partner schools. Having previously had the privilege of creating Outwoods Primary nine years ago this is the perfect opportunity to take the school onto the next level."
Head teacher of John of Rolleston Primary, Ian Bateman: "I am looking forward to the continued development of co-operative working across the three schools. We will be working closely together whilst at the same time."
On Wednesday, November 1, when the three schools officially begin their futures as a partnership, there will be a ceremony at William Shrewsbury Primary School, where six children, including two from each school, will exchange gifts and greetings.
What does becoming an academy mean?
When a school becomes an academy, it becomes independent, state-funded and receives funding from central government, rather than through the nearby authority.
The day-to-day running of the school remains the responsibility of the head teacher, but is overseen by a charitable body called academy trusts.
These trusts can provide advice, support, expertise and a strategic overview of the school's activities. They control their own admissions process and have more freedom then other schools for innovation.
What are the benefits of academy status?
According to the Government, academy schools drive up the standards as the power and governance of the school returns to the head teachers. They get the final say on pay, length of the school day and term times.
They also get more freedom to innovate and can even opt out of the national curriculum and implement a different system.
Who oversees academies?
Academies are still inspected by Ofsted, like normal schools, and any rated as outstanding by inspectors will no longer be routinely inspected.
Regional school commissioners were introduced in 2014 to approve the transition for schools to become academies.
There are eight regional commissioners, who each work with a small board of head teachers. They cover quite a large geographical area and act on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.