Three Norfolk village church schools have joined a growing multi-academy trust.

The Swallowtail Federation, comprising three village church schools, has joined the growing family of the St Benet’s Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) in Norfolk.

The group includes Catfield, Hickling, and Sutton Church of England Academies, which have been part of the federation for more than a decade.

Since then, it is said the schools have thrived, focusing on their mutual goal of providing excellent education and experiences to pupils and ensuring staff and families feel valued in the community.

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Natalie Butcher, executive headteacher of Swallowtail Federation, said: “We have always been outward-looking, recognising the strength of working together as three schools and how this could extend further to a larger group.

"We are very pleased to become part of the St Benet’s MAT family.

“The initial work with St Benet's MAT included the governors inviting the trust to present to them at a meeting about their approach to school improvement.

"We could quickly see how closely our way of working aligned with their values.

"In September 2022, we joined the St Benet's North group which was funded through the Department for Education’s Trust School Improvement Offer.

"This gave us a real insight into what being part of St Benet's trust would be like, with fantastic networking opportunities and high-quality continual professional development.”

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“We are so proud of all we have achieved and knew that St Benet’s would allow us to keep going from strength to strength.

"We still get to keep our unique school characteristics, which are so precious to our communities, but have the support of being part of a group of like-minded people who, through working together, can achieve great things.”

Richard Cranmer, CEO of St Benet’s MAT, welcomed the Swallowtail Federation, noting its exemplary demonstration of rural schools working collaboratively to provide quality education.