Arlecdon School and Thornhill Schools have been given the go ahead by the Department for Education to join West Lakes Multi-Academy Trust on 1st September 2019. The Trust is sponsored by Sellafield Ltd, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the University of Central Lancashire and receives state funding to support schools and its vision to “change lives through learning”. By joining West Lakes MAT, staff will share their expertise, knowledge and skills to collaborate with other members and improve education in West Cumbria even further.

Wendy Figes, Executive Headteacher at both Arlecdon and Thornhill Schools, said a period of consultation had taken place, which led to the decision for the schools to become academies. She said: “In order to grow and prosper, we needed to build on the many successes we have already achieved. When the opportunity arose to be the first primary schools to join the West Lakes Multi-Academy Trust we knew this was by far the right choice for us.”

In a joint statement the Chairs of Governors of both schools, Owen David (Arlecdon) and Martin Parlett (Thornhill) said: “We are proud to become part of the family of schools that now make up West Lakes Multi-Academy Trust. Our decision is the result of significant strategic planning and engagement, and we are enthused by the opportunities to collaborate across the Trust to further improve the educational outcomes for the communities we serve. Our schools are still the same as they were yesterday, our teachers are still providing the same high-quality education as they always have been, but the Trust will allow us to thrive in ways we could not have previously imagined.”

James Jackson, Head of West Lakes Academy, said: “We are delighted that Arlecdon and Thornhill Primary Schools have joined West Lakes Multi-Academy Trust. We will work tirelessly to ensure the trust they have placed in us is rewarded with tangible evidence of the difference that all our talented staff can make by working closely together. I look forward to the strong working relationship we will have with both schools and their communities.”

Jonathan Johnson, Chief Executive of West Lakes MAT, said: “We will be busily developing new and exciting ways to draw on the expertise of our sponsors, share resources, enhance teaching and learning for children and young people and implement ways of working to achieve the common aim of ensuring all schools are outstanding in reflecting the total quality of education they provide. Putting the children first is fundamental to our vision: we are committed to raising standards and ensuring equality of access to opportunities that are second to none which change lives through learning.”