A ray of hope for Winterton School of children at Winterton School have been given a ray of hope it can be saved after they found an academy trust that is willing to take over.

The Consortium Multi Academy Trust - one of 42 approached by a parent and Save Winterton Primary Committee member – has been talking to the interim board currently in charge of the school and has reached an agreement in principle for it to join the nine primaries in its care.

In a letter to parents on Tuesday IEB chairman John Organ said: “This is very encouraging, but please note that we still have some hurdles before this opportunity can come to fruition.”

The proposal will be discussed at a head teachers board on August 23.

“This will be an exceptionally significant meeting and will decide whether we can proceed to the next steps,” he said.

Based just south of the county border in Halesworth, the trust was not approached by the IEB. But when a parent got in contact it said it has been in discussion with Norfolk County Council about expanding into Norfolk and agreed to ask the authority for more for information.

On its website the trust says its fundamental aim is to maintain and enhance the position of rural community schools.

“We have a passion for and recognise that for our smaller primary schools to remain vibrant and viable, closer integration and collaborative working is necessary to ensure that our curriculum is exciting, provision is full and the outcomes for pupils are exceptional.

“Our structure offers the framework to support these schools within a bigger family of schools.”

Schools already under its wing include Glebeland at Toft Monks near Beccles, and Southwold Primary.

In his letter Mr Organ said: “The board's review of the trust's structure, and the trust's responses to many questions posed, has allowed the board to conclude that the Consortium Multi Academy Trust offers a very attractive framework, with their collaborative working approach, providing a good match to support Winterton Primary School going forward.

“This is a very positive situation, as such a solution could provide the environment to ensure the long-term viability of our school and bring a much wider resource and specialisation base for the school to make use of; thereby providing and maintaining the essential basis for sustainable improvement and promising education opportunities for our pupils.”

He concluded: “I hope that, with this information, you will consider maintaining your child(ren) at Winterton Primary School.”