More schools join Cumbria academy chain

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A Cumbrian academy chain has expanded to welcome two more primary schools.

Yanwath and Tebay Schools have joined Cumbria Education Trust, which already sponsors four schools across the county.

They now join William Howard School in Brampton, Workington Academy, Longtown Primary and Yewdale Primary in Carlisle.

Tebay and Yanwath were previously the only two schools run by the Building Futures Enterprise Academy Trust (BFEAT).

The Education Funding Agency served the BFEAT with a financial notice to improve last December.

Its directors agreed to dissolve the company, allowing the schools to join a larger multi-academy trust.

BFEAT accounts stated this would provide them with "greater economies of scale" and "better opportunities" for the two small primaries.

This includes shared business support systems, collaborative working and school improvement opportunities that being part of a larger group can offer.

Tebay and Yanwath Schools were welcomed to Cumbria Education Trust at its annual conference recently at Carlisle Racecourse.

Chief executive Lorrayne Hughes set out themes, vision and values to over 400 members of staff from trust schools.

Cumbria Education Trust is now responsible for the schooling of almost 3,000 children and young people.

Tebay School, built over 100 years ago, has 44 children on roll and offers wraparound care and a nursery.

Alex Beardmore, interim headteacher at Tebay Primary School, said: "Everyone at Tebay Primary School is very excited about joining Cumbria Education Trust.

"Despite being the smallest schools within the trust, I know that this school can gain lots of support to ensure that Tebay is providing the very best educational provision for all its children."

Yanwath Primary School has 183 pupils and is oversubscribed.

June Venus, headteacher of Yanwath School, said: "Cumbria Education Trust provides us with the ideal environment to promote and develop our ethos. Their support and challenge will enable our pupils to reach their full potential and offers our staff opportunities to develop professionally."

Meanwhile trustees of Cumbria Education Trust indicate further expansion is on the cards.

They say they are "committed to steady and maintainable growth" and want to create hubs of schools in three key areas - Carlisle, west Cumbria and Eden.

Mrs Hughes, chief executive, insists a "slow-growth approach" is crucial.

She said: "I am delighted to welcome Tebay and Yanwath Primary Schools to the trust and I am confident that in sharing best practice, supporting and challenging each other and working together for the benefit of all the schools in the trust will ensure that all of our pupils and students have a happy and fulfilled school life and are inspired to reach their full potential in life.

"Our development as a multi-academy trust has been streamlined to enable our full focus to be placed on the academies at their time of joining the trust.

"This allows each school to fully embrace the values and ethos of Cumbria Education Trust whilst retaining their own unique individuality which has been developed over the lifetime of the school to reflect the communities they serve."

Cumbria Education Trust was originally established in 2012 as William Howard Trust.

It changed its name last year as it continued to expand.

The trust says the new name more accurately represents its geographic proximity and makes it more recognisable in a regional and national context.

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