TUESDAY TALK: Spalding Academy on the crest of an exciting wave

Executive head teacher Laurence Reilly and students celebrate Spalding Academy's record-breaking GCSE results. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG240817-142TW.
  • Votes of confidence from successful GCSE students

A change of name and outlook has worked wonders at the Spalding school that used to bear the name of old Holland County Council leader Sir John Gleed.

Spalding Academy students have a new sense of pride and purpose just over a year after senior educators from South Lincolnshire Academies Trust (SLAT) were given “the freedom to stand or fall” by their promise to revitalise the school.

Students with certificates and trophies presented at Spalding Academys Outstanding Achievement Evening in July. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG110717-111TW.

The Trust applied a similar remedy to that used on Bourne Academy when it was Robert Manning Technology College ten years earlier, with instant results after Year 11 students achieved the best GCSE grades in Spalding Academy’s recent history.

Executive headteacher Laurence Reilly said: “There’s been no permanent or temporary exclusions at the school so far this year, mainly because the behaviour of students has been so good.

“When we had our Open Evening for prospective students four weeks ago, we had 400 information bags to give out and they all went.

“We also very nearly ran out of parking spaces which goes to show that the summer’s GCSE results have given children and parents more confidence in the school which, in turn, makes the staff feel really positive.”

It’s an absolute privilege to be here at Spalding Academy where we’re trying to build its prestige in order to offer the town an alternative to the selective education offered by Spalding Grammar and High Schools

Laurence Reilly, Executive Head Teacher, Spalding Academy

When SLAT took over Spalding Academy on September 1, 2016, senior staff appointed an “Operational Rapid Improvement Team” (ORIT) made up of teachers based at Bourne Academy.

The ORIT brought in changes which included the installation of a 2.4 meter fence and electronic gates to improve site security, new uniform and teachers, a house system, supervised breaks and lunchtimes, a revamped curriculum and a “back to basics” discipline campaign.

Mr Reilly said: “Sir John Gleed School had gone through a turbulent number of years and we thought ‘can we fix it?’

“So we went to the Regional School Commissioner, having set up SLAT and suggested the Bourne Academy model could work in Spalding.

“We were given the freedom to come in and stand or fall by what we did, with the total support of South Holland and the Deepings MP, John Hayes.

“It’s an absolute privilege to be here at Spalding Academy where we’re trying to build its prestige in order to offer the town an alternative to the selective education offered by Spalding Grammar and High Schools.”

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