ONE of Darlington’s oldest primary schools has been given a new name, uniform and head teacher after winning academy status.

Dodmire Primary School will now be known as The Rydal Academy and has joined the Longfield Academy Trust, which is already responsible for Longfield Academy and Darlington School of Maths and Science (DSMS).

The school officially became an academy over the Christmas holidays and its 500 pupils have been given new uniforms as part of the transformation.

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Dodmire School first opened in 1911 and has seen thousands of children aged between four and 11 pass through its doors, including several generations of the same families.

The school building has been given a £110,000 facelift to improve its learning facilities and has developed a new website.

The academy trust has also appointed a new head teacher, John Armitage, who moved from Wolsingham School, in County Durham, after previously holding positions at Northwood Primary and Whinfield Junior Schools, in Darlington.

Mr Armitage said: “Launching a new school as part of the Longfield Academy Trust is an outstanding opportunity to enhance the work of Dodmire Primary School and develop The Rydal Academy to its full potential.

“With hard work, pride in our school as we build its history and a passion for learning across the school community, I know we can provide children with the best possible opportunities for a successful future.”

The Rydal Academy’s membership of the Longfield Academy Trust means that it will be able to work with partners including Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College and Teesside University.

Pupils will also be able to access sports and technology facilities at DSMS and Longfield.

Keith Cotgrave, executive director of the Longfield Academy Trust, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time in education and we are thrilled to welcome our first primary school into the trust.

“The aim now is to replicate for The Rydal Academy the outstanding results we have provided for the children of DSMS and Longfield.”

For more information on The Rydal Academy and The Longfield Academy Trust visit