Over the last few months, with support from Derbyshire County Council, the governing bodies of Edale and Hope Primary schools have been looking into bringing our two schools together to enrich learning for the children in both villages. At the start of May 2018 both governing bodies voted unanimously to enter into a ‘Formal Collaboration’ from September 2018.
Edale Primary School’s transformation over the last 18 months has been commented on by all who have visited us, including the Ofsted inspectors! Mrs Nancy Lees, the executive Head whom we shared with Castleton Primary School from January 2017 to August 2018, worked incredibly hard. We cannot thank her enough. Without her and the staff the school would not have been able to come through its difficulties and be where we are now; looking at a fresh and exciting new beginning. From September Mrs Lees returned full time to Castleton, as her attention is now needed there full time. She has however worked tirelessly to ensure that Edale’s leadership is secured for the long term, and has helped enthusiastically as plans have been made with Hope School. We will keep our close ties to Castleton School although now on a more informal basis.
Joining Hope and Edale schools does not mean that we will move in the future to create one school. Both governing bodies feel strongly that the separate identities of the two schools be maintained, but they should share a common approach to teaching and learning, have a shared vision and ethos, with common approaches and the opportunity for shared activities and use of both sites. The long-term view is that after a year or so of collaborating we may move into a full federation, where the two schools become joined constitutionally. The two communities have always been closely linked and this feels very much a natural development. Many children from both villages already know each other from attendance at Hope Pre-School. The two schools coming together means that children can keep and grow these friendships as they come together for joint learning and activities.
The decision to move into this collaboration has been thought about in great depth, with many hours gathering advice and experiences of other collaborations and federations in Derbyshire. During these negotiations, we discussed what aspects should be maintained so as to ensure the individual identities and characters of both schools are preserved. For us here at Edale, these were:
The reaction of parents at both schools to the collaboration has been overwhelmingly positive. The school can now look forward its 200th anniversary in 2019 with hope (and Hope!) and the prospect of an exciting future.
Edale School Governing Body