Development of the Three Rivers Learning Trust

We would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on the position of The Three Rivers Learning Trust, in relation to a number of proposed changes at both a local and a national level.

Attached is a summary of our position, in regards to Northumberland County Council’s proposed investment into education in Morpeth. We have worked very closely with colleagues at NCC to date, although we do not believe that the original proposal to relocate the three schools of the Trust, along with Morpeth First School to the County Hall site will enhance the organisation or delivery of educational provision for students within the Trust. We have responded to this effect through the consultation process, and hope to be able to discuss with NCC an alternative proposal for investment in education and leisure for Morpeth in due course.

The government’s White Paper, “Educational excellence everywhere”, published in March 2016, has wide ranging implications for all schools, which must become academies, or part of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT), by 2022. As an existing MAT, the Three Rivers is not required to change, but we may be approached by other schools that would wish to join our Trust. Our position is to consider any approach constructively and to work with schools to consider the most appropriate and beneficial way forward. Our summary position statement particularly outlines our aspiration to support Morpeth Partnership schools as they review their position in the light of the White Paper.

The schedule of house building projected for Morpeth and other partnership areas will, in time, bring a growth in the school aged population who wish to be educated through Morpeth Partnership schools. The three schools of the Learning Trust are oversubscribed in almost all year groups, and we are working with our feeder schools, NCC and with the Department for Education, with the aim of meeting the anticipate growth in demand.

Please take time to read our summary Position Statement, and be reassured that directors and school leaders of the Three Rivers will continue to work with our local partners to provide strategic leadership in admissions arrangements and in the organisation of education for the Three Rivers and the Morpeth Partnership.

Yours sincerely

Paul Carvin, Chair

Simon Taylor, Executive Headteacher

Please click here to see the summary of our position.


The Past: The William Turner Garden

In the spring of 2016 the Friends of William Turner Morpeth group, held their Annual Symposium meeting at the school and were the first group to view the development of the Mulberry Science Garden.  A stepping stone to our future work together!

By spring 2017, members of the FOWTM and Dr Marie Addyman began working with the school to develop a second science garden. This would act as a tribute to William Turner and help to highlight the historical connections he had with the school.

Dr Marie Addyman was instrumental in designing the look of the garden and together with members of FOWTM, KEVI staff and volunteers, work began on the garden. Heavy digging to remove old bush stumps and clearing of the site was a team effort by all but very soon the ground was prepared and laid out. With expert advice and help from Marie, a start was made on collecting and planting specimen plants in the summer and autumn terms of 2017.

At the beginning of October 2017, the garden had its first official guests. Marie arranged a visit by an expert on medieval physic gardens, Dr. Javier Vilanova from Brazil, whose enthusiastic encouragement was very valuable.  His endorsement added to the sense of progress and excitement which attached to this project from the outset and continues to grow.

Meanwhile the focus on the further planting of the School’s William Turner Garden strengthens.  The site faces north and has a wall which screens part of the garden from east winds, so the amount of sunlight reaching the garden varies significantly from one part to another. Centrally, in a good-sized and attractive container, is a dwarf box (Buxus sempervirens ‘Fruticosa’, which was a generous gift from Dorothy Cowans).   At the entrance point and in the front are healthy French and English lavenders Lavandula stoechas and L. vera.  A very generous gift of an Apothecary Rose came from FOWTM and we’re looking forward to seeing it flower by summer 2018.

Dr Marie Addyman has provided comprehensive plant lists for each section of the garden. For many of the plants, she has provided these either sourced from the nurseries she knows well or by making a gift to the garden of specimens which she has propagated herself. Based on Marie’s notes, we are now in the process of developing a leaflet to explain the various areas and list the plants in preparation for opening the garden in summer 2018.

The culmination of this first stage will be an Opening event on Saturday July 7th in the school’s Advanced Study Centre (ASC) with presentations from Dr Marie Addyman, Michael Chapman and students from KEVI.