The Board of Trustees at the St Neots Learning Partnership (SNLP), which manages Longsands and Ernulf academies, has announced today (Wednesday) that both secondary schools will be joining a new trust.

Despite improvements at both academies, the SNLP says funding difficulties have driven the decision to join a larger multi-academy trust.

The Astrea Academy Trust is made up of a group of 20 schools in Cambridgeshire and in the South Yorkshire area.

In a statement to The Hunts Post the learning partnership said: "There is a very strong fit with the SNLP's vision and values, and at the heart of Astrea's model is a belief in providing an education that 'inspires beyond measure'. In Cambridgeshire, Cottenham Village College and the Centre School are already part of the Astrea Academy, with further schools to join over the coming months.

Karl Wainwright, chairman of the SNLP Trust, added: "The trust board of the St Neots Learning Partnership has never avoided making bold and robust decisions and therefore, to avoid division in the town, and to maintain and build on the strong partnership already in place, we have been exploring a number of larger trusts which both of our schools could join. Following a presentation from Astrea Academy Trust the SNLP's trust board has informed the DfE of our intention to join Astrea. This will help secure long-term stability for all stakeholders and help access much needed financial support."

"We are delighted to be joining with Astrea - a trust that has a proven track record and shares our values of success for every child, regardless of their background. It is through clear leadership, service to our students, and high aspirations in our schools that we will inspire and embed these core values in our learners, staff and our community."

Rick Carroll, chief executive of the SNLP Trust said: "The decision to merge with Astrea is a vital element in securing improvement and success for all of the young people in our care. We thank you for your continued support of our learners and we look forward to the exciting prospects that may evolve as a joining together with Astrea."

Libby Nicholas, chief executive of Astrea, added: "We are very pleased to be welcoming both Longsands and Ernulf academies into the Astrea family. We passionately believe in an education that inspires beyond measure and look forward to building on the improvements that have been made over the past two years, and working closely with both academies through this next phase of their development."

Under the proposed merger, staff employed by SNLP will TUPE transfer to Astrea.

It is not clear at this stage whether there will be any job losses as a result of the merger.