When Tadpole Farm Academy opens in September 2014 it will be a new Church school providing two forms of entry at the heart of a new housing development in north-west Swindon.
The academy will join Fishponds CE Academy as a member of The Diocese of Bristol’s Academies Trust and is the first new Church school the Diocese has opened for 10 years. The Trust was founded in 2012 and will soon accommodate at least four academies.
Pictured, the green fields at Tadole Farm, before development starts
Swindon Borough Council recommended the Trust to the Department for Education (DfE) over the summer having been greatly impressed with the Trust’s vision for community engagement, the quality of its leadership, and its range and depth of partnerships. The DfE confirmed the Trust’s sponsorship last week.
Diocesan Director of Education and CEO of the Trust, John Swainston, said: “Church schools thrive and try to ensure that pupils, families and staff are all welcomed and supported. Naturally, we are delighted to have been confirmed as the academy’s sponsor and look forward to working to make it one of the best in Swindon.”
The Diocese was particularly keen that the housing development be supported by a Church school. Not only does it help maintain a good proportion of Church schools as Swindon expands rapidly but it will provide unique and holistic support to the needs of children, their families and new communities. Providing the academy will go hand-in-hand with other work the Diocese is doing to ensure it will be at the heart of the new residential area.
“We are committed to contributing to the formation of healthy new communities,” said Rt Revd Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon. “Our Church schools can play a critical part in offering a rounded ministry in these developments. I am delighted that the Trust has won the bid.”
The Trust made its bid in partnership with other organisations in line with the recommendation of last year’s National Society report The Church School of the Future. Joining the Trust in establishing and nourishing the school are Cabot Learning Federation (consultancy on school improvement), DBE Services (property services), Delegated Services (educational technology and support services) and neighbouring St Francis CE VA Primary School, located at Taw Hill in North Swindon (who will provide advice on leadership, governance and curriculum, plus community liaison).
It is important for dioceses to act as sponsors in order to preserve the Christian character of those Church schools becoming academies. The new Tadpole Farm school begins life as an academy and so the Trust has effectively established a new Church school.