A PRIMARY school has converted into an academy to help tackle isolation and engage pupils with the local community.

Mapplewell Primary has joined the Hoyland Common Academy Trust (HCAT), after recognising that the school was ‘isolated’ from the wider community.

Headteacher Gail Padfield hopes that converting into an academy will help support engagement and create more opportunities.

“In my first term at Mapplewell Primary I began to recognise that the school was quite isolated and that we would benefit from further networking opportunities,” she said.

“The governing body and senior leaders at the school began to look into the possibility of joining a multi-academy trust and what this would offer to the school.

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“After a long deliberation, we decided that HCAT was the perfect fit for us, the values and vision resonated with what we believe pupils at Mapplewell should be provided with.”

The school officially converted to an academy on February 1, but Gail has assured that the school will continue as normal.

“The journey to date has been a very positive experience bringing about improvements to our teaching and learning approach and offering support through a wide spread of networking opportunities where collaboration is a key component.

“I look forward to continuing the journey with HCAT and providing a high quality education for our pupils.

“Having officially joined HCAT, the school day continues to run as normal with exciting learning opportunities taking place.”

Tom Banham, from HCAT, added: “Mapplewell Primary came to us about 18 months ago.

“It was a great fit because we have similar views on education and believe that by working together, we can achieve great things.

“Children only have one shot at an education, so it’s important that we make it as beneficial as possible for each child.”