Silsden Primary School withdraws from plans to join Moorlands Learning Trust

Silsden Primary School has decided not to become an Academy and has pulled out of discussions with other local primary schools about joining Ilkley Grammar School's Moorlands Learning Trust.

Earlier this year we reported that Silsden was in talks to join MLT along with Ashlands Primary in Ilkley, Burley Oaks Primary in Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston Primary.

It's understood the other three schools are still intending to join the multi-academy trust in the autumn term, along with Eastburn Primary School.

In a letter to parents, Silsden Primary School headteacher Karl Russell said that the governors of the school had unanimously decided that the offer of joining the Moorlands Learning Trust would not represent 'best value' and was 'not in the best interest of our pupils and staff'.

Mr Russell wrote: "As you are aware at the start of this year we announced that we had made the decision to undertake the academisation of our school and join the Moorlands Learning Trust along with some other local primary schools.

"After undertaking a period of due diligence, having further meetings with the Trust and considering all the available information to hand, we do not feel that the offer of joining MLT represents best value and it is not in the best interest of our pupils and staff. Therefore, the Governors have unanimously taken the decision to not proceed with the Academisation process with Moorlands.

"As a school we will continue to be outward facing, looking to build partnerships with other schools and organisations, so that we can continue to improve the provision at our school for your children to be the best that it can be, both within and outside of the classroom.

"I would like to thank our board of Governors, all of them volunteers, who have spent many hours considering this decision. We are lucky to have them. Their knowledge and commitment have been extremely helpful. I am confident that with both yours and their ongoing support we will be able to continue the positive journey of developing our school into a great place of learning."

Moorlands Learning Trust was formed on 1st July 2017, when Ilkley Grammar School converted its single academy trust to multi-academy trust status. The Skipton Academy then joined from 1st December 2019.

Its website indicates that Ashlands, Burley Oaks, Menston and Eastburn primaries are all 'in the process' of joining MLT in Autumn 2023 along with Nidderdale High School in Pateley Bridge.

It says: "We are excited to be working with 5 new schools who are all currently in the process of joining MLT. With 1 additional secondary school and 4 primary schools all set to convert in Autumn 2023, MLT is now further developing the services and support it can offer its schools and communities."

Rombalds Radio has approached Moorlands Learning Trust for further comment - we will update this story when we receive a response.

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