Pupils at Shaftoe Trust Primary School celebrate achieving above average results in last year's SATS.
ANOTHER Tynedale school is set to break free from local authority control as a move towards an academy-led two-tier education system moves a step closer.
Shaftoe Trust Primary, in Haydon Bridge, will join North-East chain Wise Academies within the coming months.
The move will continue the growing trend for schools in the district to go down the academy route, with independent schools already operating across communities in Hexham, Prudhoe, and Haltwhistle.
The announcement followed two major developments which will affect schools elsewhere in the district.
Last month, the Hadrian Learning Trust, the academy trust which governs Hexham Middle School, and the town’s Queen Elizabeth High School, revealed a plan to become a single 11-18 secondary offering, which would affect feeder schools across the catchment area.
And in May, plans were announced for the creation of a Tynedale Community Learning Trust, which would see 10 schools in East Tynedale join forces in a multi-academy partnership.
Shaftoe’s conversion will see both of Haydon Bridge’s schools become academies, with Haydon Bridge High School’s long-awaited conversion expected to be rubber-stamped imminently.
It will be the second major development in just four years for the 320-year-old Shaftoe Trust school, which dates back to 1697.
It was one of six first schools in the Haydon Bridge Partnership which upgrated to primary status in 2013, following the closure of Allendale Middle School.
Headteacher Gill Woodward said: “Shaftoe Trust Primary will become an academy and join the Wise Academies family of schools within a few months.
“The leaders and governors of both organisations are already working together to form this new partnership and to deliver the best possible outcomes for the children of Haydon Bridge.
“The key driver to this academy conversion is to raise standards. That is what matters most to parents, the local community, and most of all, to our children.
“Schools are becoming academies because they recognise the benefits of a school-led system which means more opportunity for sharing of best practice and effective benchmarking of standards.”
Wise currently runs three academies in Sunderland; one in Newcastle; and one in Tynedale, Prudhoe’s Adderlane Academy.
In January, Prudhoe West First School announced it had agreed to join the Wise partnership.