Parents from Monks' Dyke Tennyson College, Sarah Turner (left) and Sharon Miller (right) chat with David Hampson, Tollbar Multi Academy Trust Chief Executive, at the consultation meeting.
Louth parents looking for reassurance about the future education of their children gave Tollbar Multi Academy Trust Chief Executive David Hampson a round of applause following a consultation meeting at Monks' Dyke Tennyson College.
More than 100 parents listened as he set out the Trust's vision for a permanent solution for non-selective education in Louth, after years of what he described as "a yo-yo effect between Monks' Dyke Tennyson College and Cordeaux Academy."
Mr Hampson told MDTC parents that the school had suffered from low pupil numbers and lack of finance. He said improvements would begin immediately, with an interim leadership team from the Trust moving in to the school on July 15 to work with existing leaders in preparation for its re-opening in September as a member of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust. As part of the changes the school will be renamed Louth Academy.
The Interim leadership team will include Martin Brown, who was responsible for turning around the fortunes at both Cleethorpes and Somercotes Academies. Last summer, Cleethorpes Academy achieved its best ever GCSE results and Somercotes Academy, which only joined the Trust in November 2015, also achieved outstanding GCSE results. Somercotes Academy has grown in popularity and is now oversubscribed.
Mr Brown will take on the role of Interim Executive Principal at MDTC, and Rob Colbert will join him as Interim Vice Principal, having worked alongside Mr Brown at Cleethorpes Academy. Other senior TMAT officers will also be on site to add support in a bid to rapidly improve the fortunes of the school.
Mr Hampson said that, with the huge support of Lincolnshire County Council, an investment programme will begin at MDTC this summer to transform the school and create a first-class learning environment for students. He said the work will include demolishing the block known as the Quad to make way for a student playground and staff car park, and refurbishing every classroom. New toilets and student changing rooms will be a top priority. He reassured parents that the work would be done on a rolling programme with as little disruption to students as possible.
"We did it at Cleethorpes on a larger scale and we can do it here," he said.
Designated Interim Executive Principal of MDTC, Martin Brown (right) and Interim Vice Principal, Rob Colbert (left), alongside some of the new uniforms for the new Louth Academy. Upper school students will have black blazers with blue ties and lower school students, black blazers with green ties. Boys and girls will both wear black trousers.
He added that the academy will have a brand new uniform from September, which will be provided for all students free of charge including the incoming Year 7 students. The uniform will be emblazoned with a new logo for Louth Academy, which depicts Louth's Holy Trinity Church and the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Mr Hampson said that in light of poor Ofsted rulings on both MDTC and Cordeaux Academy, a permanent solution for education in the town had to be found. He said that as a resident of the Louth area for 27 years he has watched the two secondary schools go back and forth vying for students, but in reality the town only has room for one non-selective secondary school.
"That is why," he said "from September 1 2017, when both MDTC and Cordeaux Academy officially transfer to Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, we will begin consultation to combine the two schools to form one Louth Academy. The Trust will designate one site as a lower school (Years 7 and 8) and one site as an upper school (Years 9, 10 and 11 with an academic Sixth Form).
Mr Hampson continued: "At the moment, MDTC has capacity for 1,500 students but has little more than 300. Cordeaux is bursting at the seams. Combining the two schools provides stability for student numbers and, therefore, stability for both schools and will provide the community with a real alternative to the grammar school for 11-16 and 16-18 education.
"Louth Academy will have all the values of other Tollbar MAT academies, including zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour, high aspirations for all students and outstanding teaching, which will see students here give the grammar school a run for its money."
Mr Hampson said that, following consultation, it is hoped that the two schools will become one Louth Academy from September 2018, and until then they will continue to run separately, both as members of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust.
Parents at the meeting said they felt reassured by Mr Hampson's words and were looking forward to having stability for their children and an environment in which they could learn without interruption.
Sharon Miller said: "I am pleased that the Trust has high expectations for behaviour because my daughters want to learn and are fed up of lessons being disrupted by misbehaviour. Having listened to Mr Hampson and his team tonight I am excited about the changes for my daughters. Hopefully the existing staff will find pride in the school again too."
Mr Hampson addresses parents at Monks' Dyke Tennyson College, soon to be Louth Academy.