Kepier (Learning Matters Trust) is currently consulting on a proposed merger with the Eden Learning Trust, and we are seeking the views of stakeholders on this proposal.

For the past 15 months, Kepier has been working closely with Schools within Eden Learning Trust and we want to formalise this partnership working further by merging with Eden Learning Trust. It provides an exciting opportunity for our school, our staff, the learners and our families within the local community we serve.

Eden Learning Trust would comprise:

Chilton Academy
Ferryhill School
Woodham Academy
Tanfield School
Seaham Academy

We believe:

  • Our children and young people will achieve and experience even more as part of a larger family of schools.
  • Our staff will benefit from greater opportunities for collaboration and personal and professional development within a larger trust.
  • Combining our experience, expertise and resources will enable an even better range of services, will support sustainability to our schools as well as maintain and advance educational excellence.


We will, of course, retain our unique identity and character whilst the opportunities for increased collaboration will help our school move forward for the benefit of all our learners.

The rationale behind the decision to consider joining together includes:

  • The two Trusts have much in common, share the same values and culture and are committed to developing the trust on these foundations.
  • All schools are successful and popular, and all highly value each individual school’s unique identity and character.
  • The Department for Education is strongly advising smaller Trusts to grow, as they believe this increases effectiveness and sustainability.
  • Our school has benefited from working in partnership and already enjoys a close working relationship. However, combining our experience, expertise and resources would enable an even better range of services to our school and sustain and advance educational excellence.
  • Our staff will benefit from greater opportunities for collaboration and personal and professional development within a larger trust. Staff will not be compelled to move between schools in the Trust however our aim is for staff to be able to take advantage of a wider range of career and professional development opportunities within a bigger Trust.
  • Employees would retain the existing terms and conditions of their contract following any TUPE process.
  • Our children and young people would achieve and experience even more as part of a larger family of school.


Additional information on a proposed merger of Learning Matters Trust (Kepier) and Eden Learning Trust

Governance and leadership

  • We have “in principle” agreement from the Department for Education’s Regional Schools Commissioner for our proposal, subject to the confirmation of final details. This does not commit us to going ahead but it is positive that we have this support.
  • There would be no planned changes to the leadership teams or staffing structure within Kepier as a result of this potential merger.
  • It is proposed that all Trustees of Learning Matters Trust will become Governors of Kepier’s Local Governing Body and will continue to play a vital role in maintaining the high standards, independence, individual identity and value for money.

The identity of schools within Eden Learning Trust

  • The current determined admission arrangements at Kepier would not be affected by this proposal.
  • There would be no changes to school uniforms as a result of this proposal.
  • The name of Kepier will not change.

Trust and school finance

In line with current arrangements, funding would be given directly to Kepier from the DfE

Next steps

If the proposal goes ahead then we anticipate the merger with Eden Learning Trust will take place 1st December 2023.

We are already collaborating with staff who are extremely positive about the merger and we now seek the views of parents and carers, as well as local schools and trusts. If you have any comments or questions then please get in touch with us before Friday 29th September.

Outcome from consultation

Following the consultation which closed on Friday 29th September we are pleased to inform you that we are currently progressing with the merger to Eden Learning Trust.

We fully expect to formally join Eden Learning Trust on Friday 1st December 2023.