Newlands Primary joins academy trust

Newlands Primary School. (d621b436)
Newlands Primary School. (d621b436)

Morley Newlands School has become the first primary in Morley to be converted into an academy.

The school, on Wide Lane, has joined forces with the Gorse Academies Trust - which oversees operations at Morley Academy, Bruntcliffe School and the recently-opened Ruth Gorse Academy.

Head teacher Adrian Stygall said the move was “very good news” for the school.

“This will mean closer collaboration between ourselves and other schools,” he said.

“It will also mean an easier transition for our pupils moving up into Year 7. There are many benefits to joining the Trust.”

Mr Stygall also addressed general criticism of the academy system, with opponents citing the absence of local authority control in such schools as a danger to their long-term stability and strength.

He said: “We don’t see this as a divorce from the local council - in fact we will still use a number of the services they provide.

“This will simply put us into closer contact with other schools in the area and it’s an exciting change.”

Although talks with the Trust had been ongoing since before Christmas, the transfer only became a reality last Friday after the school received a letter from Education Secretary Nicky Morgan approving the move.

The end of an eventful week for Newlands will also see the official opening ceremony of its new building, which has accommodated the school’s 520 pupils since the start of the school year last September.

A lengthy campaign by the school’s governors for redevelopment came to fruition in 2012 and the modernised facility was constructed over the course of 11 months.

Morley MP Ed Balls, the town’s Mayor Coun Wyn Kidger and a 100 year-old former pupil at the school will be the guests of honour as the ceremony takes place this Friday.