Woodside is one of a number of borough schools which converted to become standalone academies when the government offered this option to what it considered to be successful schools. Since that time the rest of the borough's schools have become academies as part of groups known as Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs). Woodside has been invited to join such groups but has decided to retain its distinct ethos as an independent school and to use its funding entirely for the education of Woodside children. We do however work cooperatively with other schools who are members of MATs, and have formed our own group with other Thurrock standalone academies: Abbotts, Belmont Castle, Giffards, Graham James, Kenningtons, Shaw and Tudor Court. Given that these schools all needed to be successful to become standalone academies in the first place and have continued to develop since that time, this is a very credible group, effectively sharing good practice and offering mutual support. This is not another MAT but a group of schools who have chosen to work in collaboration. Up to now this has been amongst staff but our next project is to develop inter-school competitions and other activities.