A SCHOOL is celebrating joining an academy trust – and extending its reach all over County Durham and the world.

The Regional Schools Commissioner has recently approved the application for Wolsingham School to join the Advance Learning Partnership Multi Academy Trust from September 1 this year.

Headteacher Jonathan Ferstenberg said: “We are delighted to be joining this extremely well-run trust. It will allow us even more opportunities for partnership work while we keep our unique character.”

When the conversion goes through, Durham County Council will assume management of the community leisure facilities currently on the school site and remove any of the school’s remaining debt.

The school is now working to improve its partnerships with primary schools in the area, with free transport on all its bus routes for new year seven students. The school’s year seven intake comes from more than 25 different primary schools from all over west and south County Durham.

To celebrate, a selection of Wolsingham School music students have been working with students from Catchgate Primary, Hartside Primary, Stanhope Barrington CE Primary and Wolsingham Primary on a newly commissioned community opera called ‘The Moon Hares’, organised by the London-based ‘Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’ and performed at The Consett Empire Theatre on January 29 and 30. The Northern Spirit Singers and students from Durham University also joined in this wonderful event, which saw singing students magically changed into hares by the light of a village moon.

The school also has a global reach with links to other countries. Several times each year, pupils and their families host students from schools in Russia and China, who become Wolsingham School students for a few weeks. Wolsingham is one of a handful of UK schools to be named a UNESCO-associated school.

Mr Ferstenberg said: “Although we are set in beautiful countryside, we are only a short drive from most places in west and south County Durham. Because of this, we are increasingly getting the best of both worlds: a unique character plus the opportunity to work with other organisations and teach students from all over the County.”