GILSLAND Primary School will join a new academy trust next year.

The Good Shepherd Multi-Academy Trust has accepted the school after it was approved by the National Headteacher’s Panel earlier this month.

It will join the trust on January 1, 2020.

As a member of the trust, the school will work closely with nearby schools within the Diocese of Carlisle, with Whitfield First School also a member after joining in 2017.

Cleo Cunningham, executive headteacher at Gilsland Primary School, said: “The Good Shepherd Trust has a very good track record with school improvement, and all schools have improved since joining the trust.

“The trust offers a great deal of support in terms of professional development in the staff, school and governors, and that’s something we hope we will see at Gilsland.”

Governors at the school began forming a bid to join the trust around two years ago, and have now been rewarded for their work.

“It has taken a while but now it has been approved we will definitely be converting in January,” Mrs Cunningham said.

The trust will also provide the school, which is the seventh to join, with financial support.

“We are getting support and training from the local governing body and the Good Shepherd Trust has an improvement programme in place to help improve the school,” she said.

“With the standard of schools already in the trust it shows that joining a good academy trust is a good thing for schools.”

The school is in the process of extending its age range after the pre-school Jigsaw Nursery, a private business, announced it would close.

The nursery will continue to offer places on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the autumn term, with the school extending its age range from next year.