Two village schools with less than 50 pupils between them say they have joined a new family after becoming part of a Derbyshire academy trust.
Teresa Bosley, head teacher of both Marston Montgomery Primary School, in Marston Montgomery, and Long Lane Primary School in Dalbury Lees, has announced that the two schools have joined Derby Diocesan Academy Trust (DDAT).
The schools, which have pupils aged between four and 11 years old, already work closely with each other.
With just 25 pupils at Marston Montgomery and 22 at Long Lane the children regularly enjoy activities together, such as a visit to the pantomime, Zorbing and Lazer Tag. They also join forces for events like sports day.
Mrs Bosley said: “Our schools are like a family, the staff know all of the children and their families very well and we are part of a close-knit community.
“The children have close relationships with each other and with the staff. They all mix. Because they are smaller sized schools, the pupils are friends with children across all of the year groups.
“The older children do care for and look after the younger ones. We have had generations of families coming through the school over the years.
“These are happy schools where there are strong relationships, the staff are approachable and parents have a direct link to the staff. We work as a close team to help the children become the best that they can be.”
Although the schools have only just officially joined DDAT, they have been supported by them for the last year as it helped Long Lane go from an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted to ‘requires improvement’ and they are now working towards being recognised as a ‘good’ school.
Mrs Bosley, who has been the head of Marston Montgomery for 10 years and Long Lane for six, said: “We are so pleased to have joined DDAT as it does feel like we’ve joined a family of schools. Everyone has been very supportive and willing to share their knowledge so we can continue our work to improve further.
“With the help of DDAT we have rewritten the curriculum, looked at the way we teach English and introduced an accelerated reading scheme which sees pupils quizzed on the books they have read to test their comprehension as well as their reading.
“We went from inadequate to requires improvement due to the hard work of the staff and the support and guidance from the trust.”
They have also introduced different schemes to help pupils with their fluency in maths and their rapid recall of basic maths.
Dr Sarah Clark, the chief executive officer of the DDAT, said: “We are delighted to welcome Marston Montgomery and Long Lane primary schools to the DDAT family. These schools are important parts of their communities and uphold the family and Christian values of the trust.
“We look forward to working with them and helping them go from strength to strength.”