Six Lancashire schools launch academy partnership
Six schools have joined forces to launch their own education trust in an attempt to gain academy status.
The five primary schools and one high school in Lancashire would unite under the banner of The Pennine Trust.
The schools' governing bodies have now put the plans out for consultation.
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said six schools coming together to deliver "high quality education and opportunities" could "only be a good thing".
If the plans are approved, Blacko Primary School, Colne Park High School, Colne Park Primary School, Laneshaw Bridge Primary School, Lord Street Primary School and West Street Primary School would work together.
Under the proposals, each school would continue to have its own local head teacher and governing body.
But all schools would share administration and technical support in order to reduce costs and "improve effectiveness".
A "joint trust board" would exist to provide oversight of each school's performance and ensure a fair share of investment between schools.
County Councillor Paul White, chair of governors at Laneshaw Bridge Primary School, said: "This is about transforming the way we do things, to inspire children, to be innovative and to equip them with the skills for life."
Academies are independent, state-funded schools which receive their funding directly from central government, rather than through a local authority.
A series of MPs' committees have criticised the academies programme for a lack of oversight, in terms of finances and public accountability.
Teaching unions have long argued that academisation has been used as a way of privatising the school system, while the government says it is about introducing innovation.