STAFF at Thameside Primary School in Abingdon will be understandably pleased that they have joined the Vale Academy Trust.

As one of the bigger trusts in Oxfordshire, it has so far proved successful in running King Alfred’s Academy, Larkmead School and others.

So it is easy to see the attraction for Thameside, which will, as the VAT chief executive points out, be able to benefit by sharing ideas and resources across the trust.

At the same time, it is fair for people to point out concerns about big trusts.

True, VAT is far from the size of some national trusts which have dozens of schools within their remit.

But it is getting bigger quickly and the pace of change has clearly alarmed some people, who may already be sceptical about the benefits of academies in general.

Multi-academy trusts lack the democratic oversight that was a feature of governance when local authorities ran most state schools.

Parents may, therefore, feel further removed from the decisions being taken about their children’s education.

Some may also worry about the fact that a trust based in Wantage is running education in Abingdon.

The towns are not a million miles apart, but children in each will face slightly different challenges, which it may not be possible for a trust to address.

Regardless of these fears, the main concern for the majority of people will be that children are getting a good education.

So far there is no reason to doubt that VAT is providing anything less than excellent schooling for pupils.

Indeed, its expansion and the eagerness of schools to join suggests that it is providing what they feel they need, in order to give pupils the best shot in life.

It is important to remember that those people worried about VAT’s expansion are not being critical for the sake of it.

They have genuine concerns and apprehensions that deserve to be addressed.

But, provided they see positive outcomes for pupils, there is no reason why they cannot be brought onside and eventually endorse VAT’s work.