David Hampson, the chief executive of Tollbar Multi-Academy Trust, has said that Councillor Adam Grist and East Lindsey District Council should be congratulating - rather than criticising - the Trust what they have achieved in the East Lindsey area.
In a rebuke to Coun Grist’s open letter regarding the Sixth Form situation at Louth Academy, published by East Lindsey District Council last week, Mr Hampson outlined how poor the situation was in the area before the Trust became involved - and explained what changes the Trust had made over recent months and years.
With specific reference to the two Louth secondary school sites, Mr Hampson said: “Louth Academy (formerly Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College), we have sponsored since September 1, 2017.
“The school was Ofsted-rated ‘Inadequate’, had less than 300 students on site (in a school with a capacity for 1500 students) and was in very serious financial difficulties.
“Financially non-viable, inadequately staffed, with low standards of attainment and an appalling standard of buildings and resources.
“Thanks to the support of Lincolnshire County Council, we have demolished a third of the school that was un-repairable and will have refurbished the rest of the site to provide an upper campus for Years 9-13 due to be completed by September.
“Again, Tollbar MAT has invested heavily in the Academy, in terms of time and energy, staffing, expertise and finance.”
Mr Hampson continued: “The Department for Education asked us to re-broker Cordeaux Academy from its previous MAT, and with some reluctance we agreed to do this.
“The Academy was Ofsted-rated ‘Requires Improvement’ and has numerous serious problems in terms of its budget and staffing structures as well as a site which is not fit for purpose.
“We only agreed to re-broker Cordeaux Academy to enable us to offer Louth a single non-selective academy by converting it to the lower campus with Years 7 and 8.
“Again, the MAT is making a major investment into the Academy to refurbish the site. When we started in September, both schools had no Year 12 sixth form students and only 10 in Year 13 at Louth Academy.”
Mr Hampson said the intention to open a sixth form in due course has ‘not wavered’ - and hoped that the number of applications would increase next year when the Academy has become ‘more established’.
“All the applicants were informed by letter on May 1, and our Head of Sixth Form helped students with other post-16 applications.
He added: “Some students have decided to access our free bus service from Louth to Tollbar Academy Sixth Form, where many students from the Louth region already attend.”