CHANGE is afoot at one north Cumbrian school as thousands of children across the county returned to their classrooms.

One of the schools welcoming pupils back after the summer break was Lees Hill CE Primary School, near Brampton.

As of the start of this week, Lees Hill CE Primary School was officially renamed Walton & Lees Hill CE Primary School.

It has also welcomed a new headteacher.

The change is rooted in the history of the school, which new acting headteacher Fiona Stobbart explained: “Lees Hill is the catchment school for the village of Walton, but the people of Walton don’t realise we are the local school for them.

“Nearly 50 years ago the decision was made to merge the two schools, as it was thought that Lees Hill would be the better option because of the better facilities.

“We want to raise our profile and show that we are here to serve the people of Walton.”

Mrs Stobbart added: “It was a suggestion from a parent about including Walton in the name.

“We spoke with stakeholders about suggestions and the decision was made to make it Walton and Lees Hill.”

The new headteacher says the move has been welcomed by everyone associated with the school.

“Everyone feels it is a really positive move and a good idea. The people of Walton feel they are getting their school back.

“It is giving people a sense of belonging, making us feel like we are part of that community of Walton.

“It is about making them feel more involved with the school.”

Although most of us are familiar with the back-to-school preparations by parents for their children, very few of us know what goes on behind closed doors to make sure everything is ready for the new academic term.

“I have been doing quite a bit preparing new desks, setting up classrooms, contacting people to recruit volunteers for our school.

“We are fortunate at the school to have a community passionate about our school.

“I’ve been making plans for the year, like deciding our topic for this term, which is out and about.

“Our focus is forest school learning.”

Despite only taking over the position of headteacher this week, Mrs Stobbart is no stranger to the school.

“I have been here for 13 years as a teacher and the opportunity came up to take on the job of acting headteacher.

“I am excited to move the school forward.

“Knowing about the school for 13 years I am excited looking at the future, knowing that I have a good team behind me.

“It is such a good opportunity for someone like myself who has been in the school for some time and to give it a go.”

Mrs Stobbart believes the appointment came at a good time for the school.

“This opportunity came about when we were doing so well. We were in a really good position with the curriculum and the outdoor learning.

“It is a passion for me, learning outside the classroom, getting children out and about.

“I have got some good ideas for topics, that I won’t share because I haven’t told the children yet.”

The headteacher is passionate about the importance of students appreciating the outdoors.

“Local is what we want for the forest school learning. Our school is based locally so it is beneficial for children nowadays to discover what they have nearby.

“We want them to appreciate their routes, their family routes.”

The school welcomed three new pupils through its doors on Wednesday, with Poppy Chapman, Harris Slater and Hannah Irving all joining. Next year will mark 50 years since the merger of the Walton and Lees Hill schools. Celebrations are planned.