Bishop Thornton Church of England primary in Nidderdale will move to a new site and get a new name during the summer break.
North Yorkshire County Council has given the go-ahead for the village school to move to the former premises of Burnt Yates Church of England primary school, which offers more space for children and teachers to enhance the learning experience. These include spacious outdoors facilities with a garden, sports field, woodland and wildlife areas and extensive indoor space including a school hall. In addition, all teaching areas are at ground level, providing disability access for children and visitors alike.
The offer was made to Bishop Thornton by the trustees of the Admiral Long’s Foundation, which owns Burnt Yates, a primary which closed in summer 2018. Other parties have expressed an interest in occupying the Burnt Yates site, but Bishop Thornton School was the Foundation’s first choice.
Bishop Thornton’s governors felt it was an attractive offer which needed to be properly considered, and consulted on the proposal before asking the County Council to make the final decision. They have also decided to rename the school Admiral Long Church of England Primary School.
“Governors carried out significant research into the viability of the move,” said County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, “and decided it could provide enormous benefit to teaching and learning and as a resource for the whole community.
“Bishop Thornton will continue to exist in exactly the same way, with the same head teacher, teachers, staff and governors and the same warm and welcoming ethos, albeit in greatly improved facilities. It’s a wonderful opportunity and a very positive development.”
Caroline Smith, Bishop Thornton’s chair of Governors, said: “Bishop Thornton School has thrived for many years in its original building and has a reputation in the area that we are very proud of. However, it has been challenging to consider expansion of the present site, and so, like a family that has outgrown its home, we are beyond delighted to be able to move, within our catchment area, to a larger premises that has extensive outdoor facilities. We have undertaken significant research to arrive at this point, but we have been wholly supported in our endeavours by all the teachers and staff, the Admiral Long Foundation trustees, the Diocese and particularly by the Strategic Planning Officer at the Local Educational Authority, and we thank everyone involved for their help and support.”
Liz Bedford, headteacher, said: “We are so pleased to have this fantastic opportunity for the school and its children and families. Our new building will provide much more space for children and teachers, with generous indoor facilities including a large school hall with PE equipment. Outdoors there are gardens, extensive woodland and wildlife areas and a very big sports field with play equipment. In addition, all teaching areas are at ground level, providing disability access for children and visitors alike.”
County Councillor Michael Harrison, local member for Lower Nidderdale and Bishop Monkton Division, said: “Residents in Burnt Yates are delighted that the school site is going to be reoccupied – breathing new life into the village. Whilst it is disappointing that Bishop Thornton village no longer has a school, this move will bring wider benefits to the school community and the wider area and I am convinced this is the right move.”
Picture shows: Liz Bedford, headteacher (right) with children and staff from Bishop Thornton Church of England Primary School.