Exciting to see activity across the road on the proposed site of the Inspiration Academy!
Whatever the future shape of education policy, schools within Leigh Academies Trust are uniquely placed to offer the best education across the region. We have a long history of providing choice to families and achieving excellence for pupils of all abilities. Stationers’ Crown Woods Academy in Greenwich, which is run by Leigh Academies Trust, has a highly-successful grammar college on-site even though the Borough is fully comprehensive. Our four Kent high schools are consistently amongst the most successful in the County. The Leigh UTC, which specialises in engineering and computing and which will admit pupils into Year 7 from 2017, is achieving national acclaim for its dynamic, ground-breaking and employer-led curriculum. Furthermore, we are excited that in September 2017 several of our secondary academies will be offering the highly-accredited International Baccalaureate Careers-related Programme (IBCP) as well as more traditional A Levels so that we carry on meeting the needs of all pupils.
You will have seen in the news on Friday that a small local high school is consulting on whether it should become a grammar school by 2018. We are aware that this has caused concern already amongst the local community and has led some people to comment that this is a rather premature announcement. We hope this letter will help to address some of the questions which are being raised. Points to bear in mind are as follows:
- The proposal does not have the support of Kent County Council (KCC) nor the Regional Schools’ Commissioner (RSC).
- The new Conservative government does not have an electoral mandate to extend grammar school provision and their existing plans are in green paper form only at this stage.
- The debate on grammar school extension is likely to be protracted and hotly-contested.
- The suggestion to extend grammar school provision is already opposed by Ofsted, all political parties other than the Conservatives, 80% of the teaching profession, all teaching unions and will face considerable opposition in the House of Lords where the Conservatives do not currently have a majority, even if it passes through the House of Commons.
- Leigh Academies Trust’s position currently is to contribute to the grammar school debate constructively and in due course, work with other local partners to continue to meet the growing need for high-quality school places across the region.
We can reassure parents that KCC have confirmed that should legislation to extend grammar schools come into Law, decisions about how, where and when to create new grammars will certainly not be decided on a first come first served basis. A more careful, sensible and measured approach will be taken to ensure decisions are made in the best interests of all pupils and the communities in which they live.
Submit your views
We would welcome your views more generally on whether the area would benefit from an additional grammar school.
You can give your views electronically by completing our survey here.
Leigh Academies Trust
The Leigh UTC
Cosmetic Chemistry R and D started today with experimentation of a lot of products. Students and staff had a great time testing products and thinking about how they will design, test and market their own.
Today marks a milestone for education in Dartford, Kent, with the first cohort of young people beginning their Advanced Apprenticeship programme at The Leigh UTC.
Since opening in September 2014, The Leigh UTC has had many enquires with regards to apprenticeship programmes, apprenticeship reforms and opportunities to develop business / educational partnerships. Our partnership with SEMTA and The Leigh UTC offers Advanced Apprenticeship Programmes including HNC at Level 4 in Manufacturing Engineering. Being able to offer career related pathways from aged 14 upwards will see The Leigh UTC stand out as a true trailblazer.
Principal Steve Leahey commented “Engineering is central to what we offer here at the Leigh UTC so it is a logical step for us to enable students to achieve advanced level technical qualifications which will enable them to work at the forefront of their industry.”
A number of local employers have already signed their apprentices up for the programme including Stead and Wilkins, Boddingtons and Kenard Engineering. Their apprentices will attend the Leigh UTC once a week following a technical curriculum which will help them build the knowledge they will need to become highly skilled and valued employees. The programme aims to set our apprentices on a life long learning pathway whilst also addressing the skills gap within the engineering industry.
The Leigh UTC continues to look to expand the apprenticeship scheme and welcomes applications from prospective apprentices.