Having delivered the best ever GCSE results in the school’s history, Lydiard Park Academy – formerly Greendown Community School, in Grange Park – is proposing to apply to the Secretary of State for Education to be allowed to open a sixth form in September 2014.
Parents of children already at Lydiard Park Academy and also children at partner primary schools across West Swindon are being asked to give their views on the idea by 30 November.
The school which opened as Greendown in September 1986, became an academy in 2011, but has spent a year making the transition to the different status, launching in September 2012 with a new colour scheme, logo, and introducing a more formal uniform. The summer 2012 exams saw pupils deliver a 75 per cent pass rate for five GCSEs at A* to C and 56 per cent five GCSEs at A* to C including English and Maths. The results put Lydiard Park Academy at the top of school league table in Swindon.
The proposed expansion would provide for 150 places for students in Years 12 and 13 studying AS and A2 courses, along with some GCSE equivalent and vocational courses at level 3. The school’s existing autism unit will expand to provide post 16 special educational needs support.
Headteacher Clive Zimmerman said the support of the community and the school’s partners for sixth form provision in West Swindon is crucial to the bid. "Under new arrangements academy’s can now apply to the the Secretary of State for Education to expand into providing courses for 16 to 18 year olds, but we must show there is wide support for the initiative.
"Lydiard Park Academy continues to build on the momentum for excellence that has been developing over the last few years. Our tremendous GCSE results this summer demonstrates that, as West Swindon’s secondary school, we are in a great position to deliver more to the community. Many students are suited to the continuity that a sixth form in a school provides and will benefit greatly from continuing to study with the teachers they know and respect"
He added that there will be little increase in the secondary aged school population in West Swindon in coming years which means post 16 provision can be included in existing accommodation, and no requirement for capital expenditure on the site. It will also relieve future pressure on post-16 provision elsewhere in Swindon by retaining West Swindon students locally.
In outline, the Lydiard Park Academy sixth form proposal will improve local provision by bringing a cost effective solution to the current problems of:
– increasing choice, as there is currently no sixth form provision in West Swindon
– improving retention, as too many West Swindon students currently fail to emulate their success pre-16 when transferring to local colleges post-16
– meeting unfulfilled need, by extending the school’s 11 to 16 special resource provision for autistic pupils to Years 12 and 13
– meeting future demand, by adding additional capacity which will be much needed when the bulge in overall Swindon primary school numbers reaches sixth form age
– improving our community, by keeping students in education who currently become NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training), particularly within the most deprived ward in the school’s immediate area
– poor take-up of important subjects in Swindon post-16, as the school has a strong track record in delivering good results and enthusing students in the key ‘facilitating’ subjects needed for good universities that current Swindon provision is not delivering on
– improving sporting options for elite athletes in the area, through the extension of Lydiard Park Academy’s new innovative Sports Academy programme to Years 12 and 13
– bringing environmental benefits, through removing the need for West Swindon students to have to travel out of their immediate area to access sixth form provision
The full sixth form proposal and a consultation response form can be found at lydiardparkacademy.org.uk
Parents are asked to print and fill out out the form and return to Lydiard Park Academy, Grange Park Way, Grange Park, Swindon SN5 6HN or post it in the collection box at primary school by 5pm on Friday 30th November 2012.