AN academy trust based in Bradford, and which contains some of the best performing schools in the district, celebrated its first anniversary by welcoming another school to its family.

Exceed Academies Trust was set up last December, and initially was made up of three schools Copthorne Primary, Horton Grange Primary and Horton Park Primary.

In September Appleton Academy, an all through school, joined the trust.

And on December 1, the day the trust celebrated its first anniversary, Holybrook Primary School in Eccleshill joined Exceed.

It means the trust now includes four primary schools, an all-through 3-19 school as well as Exceed’s Teaching Schools and SCITT (School-centred initial teacher training).

The schools that make up the trust are in some of the most deprived areas of Bradford, but have still seen great success in recent years.

Both Copthorne and Horton Grange Primary Schools have been judged outstanding at their last Ofsted inspection, while Horton Park was judged good at its last inspection.

And last month Horton Park Primary, in the Canterbury area, was named in the top 40 best performing state primary schools in the UK in a table published by The Sunday Times.

To mark the first anniversary of Exceed, the trust sent special celebratory cupcakes to each of the member schools.

Like the Dixons Academy chain, Exceed started in Bradford, although Exceed bosses say they class themselves as a Yorkshire academy chain, and may spread its wings beyond the district.

The Bradford born nature of the trust will also provide reassurance for parents after the recent controversy about the Wakefield City Academy Trust - an out of town trust that pulled out of all its schools, including three in Bradford, at the start of the academic year.

Duncan Jacques, Chief Executive Officer at Exceed, described the first year of the trust as challenging but successful.

He added: “It has been a challenging and exciting year, as we continue to work closely together and build our family of schools to best support children and young people in the most deprived areas of the city.

“Each school makes a valuable contribution to the Trust and, as we approach the end of term, it is a great opportunity to reflect on this and look forward to another successful year.

“We would like to thank all of our schools their hard work this year and to wish them all a peaceful break over the holiday period.”

Ruth Bottomley, Chief Operating Officer for Exceed, said: “We say the trust is a ‘safe pair of hands.’

“Appleton is a huge school, we have been supporting them and working with teachers to move this forward for some time.

“We’ve always said we wanted to support more schools. We’ve got three outstanding and good schools and we’ve always had the aim of growing.

“It is a great success story.”

She said Exceed were talking to other local schools, but these discussions were in the early stages.

Mr Jacques has also recently been appointed to the Yorkshire and Lancashire Head Teacher Board, which helps make decisions on which schools become academies.