Isambard Community School is set to be renamed Abbey Park School, as of September, as part of a major rebranding exercise that will also see the introduction of a smart new uniform and school logo.
Executive Principal Clive Zimmerman, who also runs Lydiard Park Academy, explained: “I think that we felt that there was a mixed perception of Isambard in the community and it needed to be refreshed. We felt it was important to introduce a new vision and set of values.
We have introduced a new tie and blazer and this along with the name change and the new logo signal that things at Isambard have changed. We hope that this will make the children who attend the new Abbey Park School feel proud of their school.”
He explained that the new name and logo reflected the school’s proximity to Blunsdon Abbey, a former Victorian country house situated just off Tadpole Lane – with the folly tower forming part of the new school crest.
And the revamp at the school, which saw a change of leadership at the end of October last year, extends beyond the cosmetic.
Since a highly critical Ofsted report, the school has been brought under the leadership of Mr Zimmerman as part of a multi-academy trust.
A new operational headteacher, Jon Young, has been appointed and staff have been working hard to bring about a cultural shift and raise expectations at the North Swindon secondary school.
Mr Zimmerman said: “The newly named Abbey Park School and Lydiard Park Academy will be working hand in hand from September, sharing best practice.”
Other changes that have been introduced, to address concerns raised by Ofsted, have included a renewed focus on the consistency and expectations of teaching throughout the school and a new rewards and consequences system. There will also be changes to the school day that will see the introduction of a short break between each of the lessons and a shorter lunch break aimed at helping students give maximum concentration on learning.
The Lydiard Park Academy’s 6th form, now in its third year, will be renamed The Park Academies Trust and give equal access to students from both schools wanting to study A-levels and general vocational courses.
Mr Young, in a letter to parents to introduce the changes said: “The opening of Abbey Park School represents a fantastic opportunity for everyone in the North Swindon community.
We open in a modern, well equipped building with outstanding facilities that will allow our staff to use up to date approaches to really bring education to life.
“That’s not to say that we shun traditional approaches – far from it. When it comes to standards of personal conduct, maintaining respectful relationships and developing a strong work ethic, our expectations are very traditional.
This is reflected in our choice of uniform for Abbey Park School, as we believe that dressing smartly is part of developing a positive mindset that will help our pupils become confident, successful young people.”