THREE local primary schools have converted to academy status and joined the Moorlands Learning Trust (MLT).

Ashlands Primary School, Burley Oaks Primary School and Menston Primary School, alongside Nidderdale High School, have joined with the Trust's two existing secondary schools, Ilkley Grammar School and The Skipton Academy.

MLT celebrated the launch of their new primary school collaboration by bringing together the schools’ student councils for a bee-themed activity day at Ashlands Primary School. Pupils learned about the resident bees and the beehives on the school site in Leeds Road, Ilkley.

The school council representatives focused on the pupil leadership power of their new wider team and joined together to share the voice of the pupils in helping to shape the Trust’s future work.

"It was wonderful to hear the children speak confidently about how the partnerships will benefit their own schools and their transition to secondary schools," said Claire Lee, Headteacher of Burley Oaks and the Trust’s new Director of Primary. "At such young ages, the children showed us the power of great teamwork."

Marie Wilson, Headteacher of Menston Primary School, looked forward to further collaborative work, saying: “Children from all three schools are beginning to forge positive links which will grow and develop as they work together on joint community projects.”

The Department for Education's focus on strong trusts is intended to help every child fulfil their potential, by making sure teachers and schools have the trust’s support in everything from teacher training to the curriculum.

MLT's CEO Helen Williams, has nurtured the trust's community-focused growth, beginning with Ilkley Grammar School as a stand-alone academy and the Trust is now proud to work with three secondary and three primary schools in the local area and in North Yorkshire.

A spokesperson for MLT said: "With the Trust’s track record of success, the future is looking bright for the local primary schools who share a common purpose and direction. Moorlands Learning Trust’s vision is to enable all students to succeed and excel, equipped with the knowledge and skills to make a positive difference not only to their own lives, but also to the lives of others.

"Today’s activities strengthen this vision and prove that the future of our Trust is in great hands with pupils ready to support our next steps."

Donna Russell, Headteacher of Ashlands Primary School added: “We are so fortunate to have such a strong collaboration on our doorstep. We look forward to seeing this relationship grow as we find creative ways to work together, enhancing the offer we provide to the children of our schools.”