Children returned to lessons after summer at a newly renovated school after it joined the county’s largest multi academy trust.
Castle Carrock Primary, near Brampton, is the 13th member of Cumbria Education Trust, which is now responsible for the education of more than 4,500 young people across the county.
The six-week break saw a huge program of refurbishment work undertaken inside and out – with a team working against the clock to have everything shipshape for the returning youngsters. Walls, windows and doors have been repaired, the building repainted and carpeted throughout and IT systems updated.
The school also has a new leadership team with Jemma Nicholson, as interim executive headteacher for both Castle Carrock and Longtown Primary schools, and Anna Carroll joining as head of school.
Jemma said: “It’s fantastic to have the children back and for them to come into a building that’s been refreshed and facilities like the IT improved. It’s a more inspiring setting for their learning and we hope it gives them an added boost.”
Anna, who was previously deputy headteacher at Carlisle’s Caldew Lea Primary, said the physical changes weren’t the only improvements planned.
She said: “The children here are lovely and there’s fantastic potential for the school to grow further. We’re in a fabulous rural environment and our vision includes using the grounds to encourage the children to be outdoors. It’s really important there’s an emphasis on the academic, but also that school is a place the children enjoy coming to and spending time in.”
Jemma said that as well as developing the curriculum the school team was also focusing on music and creating opportunities for all their young people to learn to play an instrument.
She added: “We’re very aware of the heritage of the area and want to invite parents and the local community to build that bond. The fact the school also offers wraparound care from 8am to 6pm each weekday is an important feature that we know families appreciate.”
Castle Carrock and Longtown are feeder schools for Brampton’s William Howard School, which is also part of the trust, and will be looking to increase links with the secondary, including being able to call on specialist teaching support, for lessons like PE and languages.
Chris Wilkins, the trust’s director of primary education, said: “We are delighted to welcome Castle Carrock Primary School into our family of schools. The trust has been working tirelessly with the staff over the summer to ensure the school is in a great place to start the new term.
“Anna joins the school as a leader with experience, enthusiasm and a desire to ensure the whole community in Castle Carrock is really proud of their school.”