Primary academy a first for district
SOUTH Gloucestershire's first academy for primary- age children opened in Yate when youngsters started the new term at the former Woodlands Primary School.
The pupils now attend what is known as the Woodlands Primary Phase of Yate International Academy, the school for secondary age students that is on a next door site in Sundridge Park.
Both are also part of the Ridings Federation of Academies that has Winterbourne International Academy as the third part of the organisation.
Adding younger children to the federation means Yate now has an all-through academy for pupils aged from four to 18 as 11-year-olds will feed into the secondary phase.
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The new era has brought to an end one of the shortest living school names in the district, as Woodlands was only created by South Gloucestershire Council last year as the result of a merger between Kings Court Primary School and Rodford Primary School.
Falling pupil numbers at both schools had led to the change.
Parents campaigned to save them as separate schools but in consultation over moving to academy status, the majority of responses backed the idea.
The King's Court site has been the home of Woodlands since the 2010 merger and children will continue to be based there. But they have a new uniform and their head teacher, Julie Hogan, is now an assistant principal.
As part of the academy system, Woodlands has joined Yate International in being independently funded direct from central Government, with staff no longer employed by the council.
Meanwhile work is continuing on a £16-million project to rebuild Yate International Academy, to be completed by September 2012.
Dr Rob Gibson, chief executive of the Ridings Federation, said: "The first 4-18 all-through academy in South Gloucestershire marks the start of a new era for all the children in Yate.
"The academy will certainly provide significant, new and exciting opportunities in order to raise standards further both now and into the future."
He said the latest development came after a record set of GCSE results and an Ofsted report rated good for Yate International Academy.