A primary school is set to become an academy in a move to gain greater control over its budget and teaching.

Damers First School in Poundbury is preparing to transfer to the Thomas Hardye Multi Academy Trust (MAT) on October 1 this year.

In a letter sent to parents, headteacher Catherine Smith said key reasons behind the transfer are “provision for a more consistent approach to teaching a learning,” “freedom from local authority control” and “greater control over budgets.”

Mrs Smith added that the transfer would provide “greater access” to opportunities for pupils and allow Damers to work with other schools in the MAT. She assured parents that there would be little day-to-day change as a result of the transition.

Speaking to the Echo, Mrs Smith said: “Every decision that is taken at Damers First School can be traced back to the school’s relentless focus on improving outcomes for the children within our community.

"Our proposal to join the Thomas Hardye Multi Academy Trust reflects the school’s determination to secure the absolute best for our school and our children. This has been the school’s own decision, a decision that is firmly underpinned by over five year’s worth of discussion and due diligence.

"We are currently in a good place in terms of outcomes, leadership and budget and are securely placed to take a proactive step towards a more formal collaboration that is purely based on outcomes for children.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to join a local MAT that shares our values and places a strong focus on inclusion and are excited about the future, the role that we will play in the MAT’s focus on outcomes for children from 4-19 and the valuable impact that this will have on our whole community."

Ofsted inspectors rated Damers as good in all areas in its most recent inspection.

Mike Foley, CEO of the Thomas Hardye MAT and headteacher of Thomas Hardye School, said the move will strengthen the trust and its ability to support other schools in the area.

Mr Foley said: “There’s been a strong tradition of schools working in partnership in Dorchester.

“Damers is part of a family of schools, this is a progression of the relationship we’ve always had.”

Mr Foley said Damers’ move to the MAT is unlike other academy transitions for struggling schools with poor Ofsted ratings.

He continued: “We do a lot of outreach work to support other schools but our expertise is in secondary, and we’ve been looking for a primary partner. We were very keen to involve Damers.

“By joining the MAT they become an academy and will have new responsibilities and freedoms that come with academisation. For this town it’s an amazing thing that we have got schools with strong leadership.” Local authorities don’t have the resources anymore and someone has to fill that gap.”