On a visit to Lydiard Park Academy on 4 March Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan MP endorsed the school as an umbrella educational institution to provide management and teaching expertise to other schools which need help to improve.
The minister who spent Friday 4 March in Swindon discussed with headteacher Clive Zimmerman, chair of governors Dave Davidson and South Swindon MP Robert Buckland how the academy had become the top performing school in Swindon and had set up a 6th Form in 2014. She also spent 45 minutes in a question and answer session with staff and 6th Form students.
In 2015 the Academy achieved record results at GCSE with 67 per cent of pupils achieving 5 or more A* to C grades including English and Math – putting it top of the league table for secondary schools in the Swindon area.
Following two excellent Ofsted assessments the Academy was encouraged to become a hub of excellence and the minister confirmed LPA will become a Multi-Academy Trust. She said: “I think Lydiard Park Academy is fantastic and I’m really, really excited that it will be supporting other local schools to improve.
“They’ve just been approved to become a MAT which means the headteacher, the staff, the chair of governors will be able to offer their expertise so that every child and teacher will have access to an outstanding school.”
Mrs Morgan was intrigued that the Academy also provides education to a squad of young people from across the UK and Europe who train and play for the Okanagan ice hockey academy at Link Centre. She said: “Every school has its unique aspects; its all about setting high standards and providing the opportunity for every student to fulfill their potential.”
Headteacher Clive Zimmerman said he was delighted to welcome the Secrtary of State. ” She was keen to see the school for herself and learn more about the good work we’re doing here, and also discuss what he can offer as a Multi-Academy Trust.
“We had a very good question and answer sessions touching on everything from whether Britain should be in or out of Europe to government policy on education, and school funding. She was full and frank in her responses, the staff and students enjoyed her visit.”
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland was pleased Nicky Morgan had made the time to visit schools in his constituency. “In the morning she visited the Chalet Special School and told me she had enjoyed the opportunity to see two excellent schools that are creating opportunities and improving outcomes for local children and young people.
“Her visit to Lydiard Park Academy was a huge vote of confidence in the tremendous work of staff and students that has produced record high GCSE results and the Academy being oversubscribed.
“During the Q and A session, the issue of fairer funding for Swindon schools was raised. The Minister today (7 March) has launched a consultation about changing the formula for allocating central government funds which is based on a historic and outdated arrangement. For too long it has penalised schools in Swindon, it’s an issue my colleague in North Swindon Justin Tomlinson MP have campaigned loudly on.
“I’m really pleased that Lydiard Park Academy has been accepted as a Multi-Academy Trust which will see further collaboration with local academies, creating greater opportunities for staff and students.”
Later in the afternoon on 4 March, Mrs Morgan, who is also Minister for Women and Equalities, visited Swindon Women’s Refuge to meet members of Swindon Women’s Aid and discuss local support for victims of domestic abuse with Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson and Swindon Council’s lead member for children’s services, Cllr Fionuala Foley.