A TEESSIDE primary school is the latest to join a growing education trust that puts the interests of children at the heart of everything it does.

Handale Primary, in Loftus, has become the ninth school to join Lingfield Education Trust, which comprises primary schools from across the North-East.

Lingfield chief executive, Nick Blackburn, said: “I am delighted  to welcome Handale Primary into our trust. Our trust is steadily growing, with all of our schools making a huge difference to the children and families they serve.

“For example, there are now more than 1,000 pupils in our trust in good schools that weren’t a few years ago. It’s been brilliant getting to know some new schools in the Redcar and Cleveland area.”

Head Teacher, Nicola Padgett, joined Handale in 2021, from her previous role as Assistant Head at Hemlington Hall Academy which was already part of the trust.

“Because I came from a Lingfield school, they supported me in my transition to my current position, so I’m delighted that Handale is now part of the Trust,” she said. “Many of our staff have been out to visit other Lingfield Trust schools and are very positive and receptive.”

Mrs Padgett organised consultations with parents and sent out questionnaires to canvas their views about joining Lingfield Education Trust.

She started on the day the school opened after the Christmas holidays. The next day, all schools were closed as part of the Government’s Covid-19 measures.

“It was difficult to meet the families through the pandemic, but I got to know them as we knocked on doors handing out laptops,” she said. “Now we’ve been able to resume assemblies where we can invite parents in and start to get to know them.”

The other Lingfield Education Trust’s family of schools include: Cambrai Primary, Catterick; Hurworth Primary, Darlington; Heathfield Primary, Darlington; Northwood Primary, Darlington; Corporation Road Primary, Darlington; Preston Primary, Eaglescliffe; Mount Pleasant Primary, Darlington; Hemlington Hall Academy, Middlesbrough.