SEVENTEEN schools across Castle Point have joined forces to become a charitable trust to help secure more funding and improve learning.

Primary and secondary schools in Benfleet and Thundersley have come together to form the Benfleet and Thundersley Interschools Cluster to enhance teaching, share facilities and obtain thousands of pounds of additional grants.

The trust, which has been four years in the making, has already secured £77,000 of lottery funding to allow pupils to learn more about the heritage of Hadleigh Farm and the legacy of the Games.

Youngsters recently visited the Olympic venue and will be studying the history of local athletes and what the future holds now the sporting event is over.

A further £1,500 has also been obtained to teach pupils more about sports in the Paralympics.

Dominic Carver, head teacher at South Benfleet Primary School, said: “Now that we have charitable status we can bid for funding to start up projects which will improve learning, get pupils out of the classroom and make their education more enjoyable.

“The schools can also work more closely together and share expertise, where some are a mathematics or special needs specialist school for example. Where we improve our teaching, that is a benefit which will have a significant impact on children’s lessons.

“Ultimately, we want to ensure our pupils get the best possible opportunities for an excellent education.”

Plans are also in the pipeline to bid for funding to start up a new speech therapy project to help build students’ confidence and help those suffering from speech impediments.
The schools which have signed up are: The Deanes School, Hadleigh Infants and Nursery, Hadleigh Junior,Holy Family Catholic Primary, Jotmans Hall Primary, Kents Hill Infant, Kents Hill Junior,Kingston Primary, Montgomerie Infants School, Montgomerie Junior School, The Robert Drake Primary, South Benfleet Primary, Thundersley Primary, Westwood Primary, Woodham Ley Primary, Cedar Hall and Glenwood Schools.