Our Catholic Academy Trust


The six schools who have converted into academies under The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust are:

Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Ilkley, a Voluntary Academy
St Mary’s Horsforth Catholic Voluntary Academy
St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Pudsey, a Voluntary Academy
St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Otley, a Voluntary Academy
Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, a Voluntary Academy
St. Mary’s Menston, a Catholic Voluntary Academy

The Trust allows us to strengthen the work we all do together in providing a world class Catholic education for all the families within our parishes. Staff and governors continue to work together to provide the best for our young people in all our schools throughout their education. I would like to thank them and all our families for their continued support.

We have a vision for Catholic education that goes beyond individual schools and changes our perception from ‘my’ school, to ‘our’ schools. The challenge for us all is how we can share our gifts and talents to ensure that education for all of our children is outstanding.

Caroline Hyde 499px
Caroline Hyde
Chair, The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust

2015–16 Calendar

Please find the holiday dates for next year.  The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust headteachers have agreed on the attached dates, to bring all schools in the Trust into the same timeframe.

Please note that these dates do differ slightly from both the Leeds and Bradford Education authorities.

2015 – 2016 Term Dates

The following dates were agreed:

Start End
Autumn Term 1 Monday 7 September Friday 23 October
Autumn Term 2 Monday 2 November Friday 18 December
Spring Term 1 Monday 4 January Friday 12 February
Spring Term 2 Monday 22 February Thursday 24 March
Summer Term 1 Monday 11 April Friday 27 May
Summer Term 2 Monday 6 June Tuesday 26 July

Agreed training days so far:

Monday 7 September 2015

Monday 25 July 2016

Tuesday 26 July 2016

St. Mary’s Menston celebrating 50th Anniversary during the Academic Year 2014–15

St. Mary’s Menston first opened its doors to pupils in November 1964 and was officially blessed and opened by the Rt. Rev. Mgr. George Patrick Dwyer, Bishop of Leeds on 3 July 1965.

1979 Clitherow opening card

This card is from the Blessing and Official Opening of the Clitherow Building in November 1979, by Bishop Wheeler

Find out more about St. Mary’s Menston 50th Anniversary Celebrations [STMARYSMENSTON.ORG]

Academy Trust Photograph 2014

During the Deanery Day at Leeds Trinity University on Friday 27 June 2014 special photographs were taken showing  Year 6 pupils from each of the five Primary schools in our Academy Trust, as well as pupils from St. Mary’s Menston.


The six schools in the Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust work very closely with each other offering a Catholic education from 4 to 18.

It was Bishop Gordon Wheeler himself who said: “The Church maintains that children ought to have the advantage of a Catholic school throughout the period of their education.


Vacancy: Teaching Assistant, St. Joseph’s Otley

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Bradford Transport Update

Fight is lost for free transport at Bradford ‘faith schools’

Campaigners battling to save free transport for pupils at faith schools lost their fight today. Article in the Bradford Telegraph & Argus 24 June 2014.
St. Mary's Menston pupils arrive by bus, June 18 2014

St. Mary’s Menston pupils arrive by bus, June 18 2014

Campaigners battling to save free transport for pupils at faith schools lost their fight today. But the chairman of a Catholic school trust blasted the Council for never properly listening to their objections, calling the consultation process “an expensive fait accompli”.

The decision to push ahead with the cut was made at a meeting of the Council’s executive.

The executive first agreed to the changes in April, but this decision was later examined by a scrutiny committee, which urged senior councillors to reconsider.

But the executive stuck to its original decision, with executive member for children’s services, Councillor Ralph Berry, saying budget cuts had left them with little choice.

Parents wanting to send their children to a faith school, or those who live nearest a faith school but want to send their children somewhere else, will now face a £370-a-year bill. Pupils who already receive free transport will not be affected.

Speaking out against the plan was Caroline Hyde, chairman of the Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust – a group of Catholic schools in the Wharfe Valley which include St. Mary’s Menston and Sacred Heart Catholic Primary, Ilkley.

She said the impression it had all along was that the Council had made its decision ahead of the public consultation.

She said: “I am left greatly disillusioned by the so-called democratic process.”

Mrs Hyde said as a volunteer governor, she had been very disappointed to see her objection comments “pulled apart line-by-line by council officers, paid for by my council tax”.

And she said she would have far preferred “a co-operative approach”, with an open and honest discussion between the local authority and the faith schools about the budget pressures and how they might be tackled.

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) told the executive she was not convinced the plan would save money.

She said: “You could actually be shooting yourselves in the foot.”

But Cllr Berry said they had to make difficult decisions about whether to fund the discretionary transport service, or education social workers or special needs workers instead.

He said: “It’s not something that anybody would have chosen to do, but faced with the priorities we have at the moment, I believe this is the most equitable way forward, bearing in mind the demands that we have on our services.”

Cllr Berry said to his knowledge, no other local authority continued to pay for transport for pupils at faith schools.

Transport cuts decision ‘harsh on Wharfe Valley schools’

Article in the Ilkley Gazette, 12 May 2014

A decision to scrap free school transport for pupils attending faith schools in the Bradford District could lead to children being denied places at Ilkley Grammar, says the head of a Catholic schools trust.

Chairman of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust, Caroline Hyde, says the effects of the decision by Bradford Council’s Executive will be “particularly harsh” in the Wharfe Valley.

The new school transport policy could come in from October this year.

Mrs Hyde handed a petition over to the Executive at its meeting last month, in a bid to convince councillors to abandon the proposals.

Mrs Hyde warned the change could result in local families being denied places in future at already over-subscribed schools such as Ilkley Grammar School, as parents select their nearest school.

She said: “The effects will be particularly harsh in the Wharfe Valley area, where schools are full to overflowing. If parents are unable to pay the proposed £370 per child per year and opt for their closest school geographically, in this case Ilkley Grammar School, other local children will be denied places.

“The council will then have to fund transport to bus these children out of the area.”

The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust is a group of Catholic schools within the Wharfe Valley that includes those serving the areas of Addingham, Burley-in-Wharfedale and Ilkley.

Local schools affected by the ruling are St Mary’s, Menston, and Sacred Heart Primary, Ilkley.

Mrs Hyde added: “I am bitterly disappointed that, while accepting the lack of clarity around the savings and agreeing that what is really required in order to achieve best value is a reassessment of the provision of all school transport, the Executive voted unanimously to implement the proposals for all new pupils from October 2014.

“Bradford has a proud tradition of supporting diversity and Catholic schools have been proud partners in the provision of education. Adopting a policy which will only provide savings by requiring a particular group or community to pay for it is unfair and unjust.”

She said a report to the Executive as ‘misleading’ and failed to identify the consequences of the proposal.

Bradford Council’s Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee called in the decision and referred the decision to scrap free school transport for children attending faith schools in the Bradford district back to the council’s Executive committee for another look.

 Transport cuts decision ‘harsh on Wharfe Valley schools’​ [ILKLEY GAZETTE]

Bradford Transport Proposals: Bradford Council Meeting

Despite strong support to the contrary, Bradford Council has passed its proposal for the withdrawal of free home to school transport. Caroline Hyde made representations at the council meeting on 26 March. The proposal was referred to the Scrutiny Committee who elected to pass it following a long discussion. However, the proposal will be looked at again by the Children’s Services committee on 6 May 2014.​

The Inaugural Mass of Dedication of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust

On Wednesday 26 February, the school and parish communities of six Catholic schools gathered for the Inaugural Mass of Dedication of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust.

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To celebrate the forming of the Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust, representatives from six Catholic schools celebrated the Inaugural Mass of Dedication, held at St. Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds. Over 300 students from St. Mary’s Menston, St. Joseph’s Otley, Ss Peter and Paul Yeadon, Sacred Heart Ilkley, St. Mary’s Horsforth and St. Joseph’s Pudsey participated in the Mass. Many staff, both past and present, Trust and Academy Governors, guests from the Diocese of Leeds, local councillors, and parents attended.

The theme for the mass was “In Truth and Love” which is the motto contained on the Bishop Wheeler Episcopal Coat of Arms.

The Mass was presided over by Mgr John Wilson, the Diocesan Administrator and the following concelebrated: Mgr Michael McQuinn, Mgr Kieran Heskin, Canon Lawrie Hulme, Mgr Paul Owens, Fr Anthony Jackson, Mgr Billy Steele, and Fr Malachy Larkin.

The Mass commenced with an entrance procession of the school banners carried by representatives from each of the six schools involved, behind the new Trust Banner and the Diocese of Leeds banner.

In the homily Mgr John Wilson used the family of Mr Men and Little Miss books to highlight that we are all different, but we all belong to the same Trust family. Mgr Wilson displayed the Wheeler Trust plaque which was situated above the Cathedra, the Bishop’s Chair in the cathedral Wheeler during his episcopacy from 1966 to 1985.

The celebration of the newly founded Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust was symbolised by the lighting of the Trust Candle.

Bidding Prayers were read by representatives from the Trust Primary Schools: the prayers enforced the mission of the Trust to work together in truth and love to provide the best possible opportunities for all our young people and their families.

The Trust’s mission is the provision, development and future safeguarding of a World Class Catholic Education where every child, member of staff and family matters. The schools, their governors and the trust directors work together, based on the principle of subsidiarity, in faithfulness and humility, to provide an education where Christ and His values of respect, service, tolerance, dignity and forgiveness are at the heart of everything we do.

• Let us pray for Pope Francis and all those entrusted with the leadership of the Church, on whom we rely so heavily: that they may be fearless and rock-like in proclaiming Christ’s message of hope, truth and love for all; and that, through the working of the Holy Spirit, they will be granted the courage and wisdom always to lead in faith and serve in love the flock that has been entrusted to their care, and in turn guide us to bring the Good News to everyone we meet.

• Let us pray for world leaders: that their decisions may reflect the wisdom and loving care of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and that, in seeking the welfare of all the peoples of the Earth, they act justly, truthfully, peacefully and with compassion, never forgetting our responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth’s God-given resources which must be shared fairly.

• Let us pray for everyone in the world who doesn’t have enough to eat today; for those whose lives have been torn apart by war and violence; for those who do not have the chance to go to school; for those who suffer through untruth or lack of love; and for everyone who is trying to help them in any way. May our world reflect more and more God’s Kingdom Values of Love, Truth, Justice, Peace and Reconciliation.

• Let us pray for anyone we know who would appreciate a prayer today; for those who are ill and for those who worry about and care for them; for those who are lonely or who have many problems; for those who are sad because someone they love has died and for those without faith, hope or love. May we always do what Jesus told us and show our love for our neighbour in the way we live our lives, remembering that our actions speak louder than our words.

• Let us pray for all the schools that comprise The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust: for our children, teachers, governors and all those who contribute in any way to the success of what we seek to achieve. We remember especially all our Year 3 children who have begun preparing to make their First Holy Communion and our Year 9 pupils who are preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation later this year.

• Let us pray that we may grow ever closer as a community that has Christ at its centre, and that each of us uses our unique gifts and talents so that together we encourage and support each other to live lives that measure up to the standard that Jesus set for his followers. May the Holy Spirit guide us to recognise the worth and value of each individual, and always to seek the truth, no matter how hard or difficult, in a spirit of love and compassion for our neighbour. Let us pray that all with whom we work, and all those whom we meet, may see in us the reflection of the master, whose we are, and whom we seek to serve.

A representative from each school then lit their school’s candle from the Trust Candle and accompanied the Headteacher from each of the six schools, who read the schools’ promises:

Mr T Rothwell
On behalf of the school communities of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust, St. Mary’s, Menston, promises to put love and service of others at the heart of everything we do, (remembering always Your commandment to love our neighbour as we loved ourselves).

Mrs A Lubomski
On behalf of the school communities of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust, Sacred Heart, Ilkley, promises to deal with other with truthfulness and integrity, however difficult that may be, (remembering always that God is the source of all truth and that You were the way to the Father).

Mrs C Knight
On behalf of the school communities of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust, St. Joseph’s, Otley, promises to deal with others fairly and justly, and to speak out against injustice in our world, (remembering always that You stood up for those least able to help themselves when You were on Earth).

Mrs A Ashworth
On behalf of the school communities of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust, St. Joseph’s, Pudsey, promises to deal with others peacefully and with good will, and to work for peace in our world, (remembering always that the peace that You give to us is beyond the world’s understanding).

Mr P Hughes
On behalf of the school communities of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust, St. Mary’s, Horsforth, promises to offer to and to seek from others forgiveness and reconciliation, without holding grudges, (remembering always that only then can we expect forgiveness for ourselves from God).

Mrs D Todd
On behalf of the school communities of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust, Ss Peter and Paul, Yeadon, promises to show respect through word and deed for every person that we meet, (remembering always that all human beings are equal in Your sight, and that You have no favourites).

Music for the Mass was provided by an orchestra and choir made up of students from all the Trust schools, ably led by Mrs Chapman, music teacher at St. Mary’s, Menston.

Mr Thomas Rothwell, Acting Headteacher at St. Mary’s Menston said:-

“This was a wonderful service which showed how coordinated the work of all the schools in the Trust has become in such a short period of time. The children were a credit to their schools and the Trust as a whole. The atmosphere created was one of joy, happiness and belonging – a spiritual and uplifting event.”

Mrs Alixena Lubomski, Headteacher at Sacred Heart, Ilkley, who coordinated the Mass arrangements said:-

“As the promises were read, the enormity of the potential impact of our Trust on the lives of our current and future students, staff and families was reinforced to everyone present. Special Collective Worships were also held in each school that day which echoed the readings, bidding prayers and promises from the Mass. As Headteachers, we were keen to ensure that our school communities experienced unification through this Inaugural event, spiritually and physically. Due to its success we are looking forward to praying for and celebrating the work of the Trust together on an annual basis.”

Mrs Caroline Hyde, Chair of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust said:-

“Our Trust is set up under the Leeds Diocesan geographic model of multi academy trusts. Our schools see this as an opportunity to use the Academy structure to provide truly outstanding Catholic education from aged 4-18 for all the families in our area. It enables us to provide an education that has Christ at the centre, offering excellence of provision and allowing all our young people to grow and use their talents to the full, whilst safeguarding the future of Catholic education in this area. Integral to this is the principle of subsidiarity and maintaining the individual identity of each school. We are developing innovative ways to share facilities, skills and good practice and develop Catholic teachers and educational leaders for the future.”

Following Mass, guests gathered, very appropriately, in Wheeler Hall for refreshments.

The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust Inaugural Mass witnessed and blessed the commitment of the six schools to work together ‘in love and truth’ and to put Christ at the centre of all that they do. The Mass consolidates this commitment to the Catholic Church and in Catholic education and heralds the first of many collaborative celebrations and events.

The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust​ [DIOCESEOFLEEDS.ORG.UK]

Mass celebrates forming of new schools trust​​ [ILKLEY GAZETTE]

Bradford Transport Proposals: 25 March Bradford Council Meeting

Next Tuesday Caroline Hyde and Mrs Lubomski, Headteacher of Sacred Heart, Ilkley, supported by parents, will be handing our petition to Bradford Council at their meeting in City Hall at 4pm. We hope to highlight that the proposal to scrap free transport to “faith” schools is poorly thought out and discriminatory. It will not produce the savings officials have highlighted. In this area it will act solely against Catholic families, any savings could only be made by expecting our parents to pay nearly £400 per year for transport for each future pupil. Parents may feel they have to drive children to school causing additional traffic, safety and environmental issues.

If parents feel unable to take on these additional costs, they may choose to send their children to other schools. All our local schools are oversubscribed, which will in turn mean other local children will be denied places at their nearest school. Ironically this will result in the Council sending these children to schools outside our area and having to pay for their transport.

Please support our campaign if you will be affected, if you currently receive free transport for your children and to help safeguard Catholic education in this area. Write to your local councillor and if possible come and support us at the Council meeting. Further details are available on the schools’ websites.

Chairman of schools trust speaks out over pupil transport cost-cutting [BRADFORD TELEGRAPH & ARGUS]

Petition Raised Against Unfair Transport Plans

Plans by Bradford Council to cease paying for transport for children in faith schools continue to cause upset amongst the Catholic community.

In an attempt to find savings, Bradford Council is consulting on plans to cease paying for transport for children in Catholic schools, leaving parents from St. Mary’s, Menston and its feeder primary schools with an unforeseen financial burden.

By law, all children who have to travel more than 3 miles to school (2 if aged under 8) are entitled to receive free transport with the new proposals meaning that all new pupils in ‘faith schools’ will no longer receive this.  In this area, this will only affect children who will go to Catholic schools.

Mrs Caroline Hyde, Chair of the Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust has been in regular correspondence with Bradford Council regarding the plans, expressing her grave concerns about the adverse effects of the proposals.  The Catholic communities of Addingham, Burley and Ilkley have since raised a petition indicating their opposition to the proposals which they feel will treat Catholic families differently to those attending other state schools within the area.

Since the petition was presented, Mrs Hyde has been invited to address the full Bradford Council at a meeting to be held on Tuesday 25 March along with other representatives from the Trust.

Mrs Hyde said:-

“I am really grateful that the Council have given us the opportunity to raise this issue with them directly. Parents understand the immense financial pressures on local councils at the moment. However this is a poorly thought through proposal with little clarity about how savings will actually be made. Parents who cannot afford to pay nearly £400 a year per child may have to send their children to other already over full schools, such as Ilkley Grammar. Other local children will then be sent to schools further away – and the council will have to pay for their travel. This proposal will only save money if Catholic families are able to pay, effectively a tax on Catholic families.”