Official consent from the Regional Schools Commissioner means that Louth’s two comprehensive schools will merge to form one Louth Academy from September 2018.
The ratification follows several months of consultations, and comes after six weeks of intensive building works at the newly-created Louth Academy on the Monks’ Dyke Road site, which has opened to pupils this month as a member of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust (TMAT).
This site, which now has a brand new uniform with Louth Academy logo, currently educates pupils aged from 11-18 years, but from September next year it will become the upper school (or South Campus) for Louth Academy for students in Years 9, 10 and 11, with 600 students.
It will also have a Sixth Form Centre, offering academic A Levels for students in Years 12 and 13 (capacity for 200 students).
The North Holme Road site (currently Cordeaux Academy) will become the lower school (North Campus) for Louth Academy, educating students in Years 7 and 8, with 400 students.
Major improvements are already well underway at Louth Academy and students are benefitting immediately from an injection of outstanding teachers and enhanced learning environments.
The site improvements are the result of a close working relationship between TMAT and Lincolnshire County Council, both of which are determined to create an academy offering first-class education for the children of Louth and its surrounding villages.
Louth Academy and Cordeaux Academy will continue to run as separate schools throughout this academic year but, as both are now members of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, work will be underway in the background to ensure a smooth merger from September 2018.
It is also hoped to introduce the new Louth Academy uniform at the North Holme Road site (free of charge) to all students from January 2018, to further unite the schools.
Major improvements to the Louth Academy site over the summer have included demolition of the Quad teaching block, which was surplus to requirements and too old and costly to refurbish. It has made way for a much needed playground and a staff car park. There is also a brand new school reception; a refurbished student canteen with freshly cooked school meals provided daily by Aspens and brand new PE changing rooms for both girls and boys. The largest teaching block has undergone a total refurbishment with new Science, Maths and Art classrooms, which have new flooring, decoration and whiteboards. Classrooms throughout the academy have new tables and chairs for all students. The academy will also have new windows throughout.
The remainder of the teaching accommodation will undergo similar refurbishment in the coming months. The former Media Centre on the site will be transformed into a new Sixth Form Centre, which will welcome its first cohort in September 2018. Students will study Academic A Levels, which will qualify them for university or high-quality apprenticeships.
Louth Academy is now under the leadership of Executive Principal Martin Brown, and Vice Principals, Rob Colbert and Janice Mitchell, all of whom have extensive experience within TMAT, and are responsible for turning around the fortunes of a number of other academies which were also in special measures.
Outstanding teaching staff from within the Trust have also joined Louth Academy in a bid to rapidly improve the fortunes of the school and create a first-class learning environment for the students.
The North Holme Road site (Cordeaux Academy) is also under the leadership of Executive Principal Martin Brown, supported by Vice Principals, Joanne Creese and Tracy Webb. A further Vice Principal, Simon Ritchie, is also working across both academies with specific oversight for Science. All have extensive experience within TMAT.
Minor refurbishments are already underway at the North Holme Road site (North Campus), which will then lead to more extensive works later in the year.
David Hampson, Chief Executive of TMAT, said: “Several factors have led to the decisions to designate the two sites in this way.
“Cordeaux has significantly less classroom space but will successfully accommodate Years 7 and 8, and retaining the largest group of current Year 7s at this site will also make it easier for movement of students next year.
“This year’s GCSE outcomes indicate that neither site performed better than the other and neither site is financially viable on its own. Therefore, from September 2018 we will be delighted to offer a single, non-selective 11-18 academy serving the Louth area.”
• Louth Academy will hold an Open Evening on Wednesday October 4 at the Monks’ Dyke Road site from 6-8pm, when prospective students and parents can see the changes for themselves.