I write this not to justify or defend the progress our wonderful academy is making but to merely put the record straight about what we are achieving in the face of ‘hit and miss’ media reporting which has surrounded the Department for Education’s correct decision to re-broker a new sponsor for 10 E-ACT academies, Winsford being one of them.
Amid the maelstrom of gossip, conspiracy theory, fact, recrimination and questions (the facts are in there), the academy has been an island of (relative!) calm.
And that really is the point.
Whilst whilst other dramas played out in the background, inside the Academy, 1050 students and 160 staff went about the business of learning. The strict structure of the teaching day is almost impenetrable to outside influence.
Our utterly committed, resilient and caring staff continued to put our students first.
We were having assemblies on the dangers of drugs and alcohol; GCSE students were putting in more after-hours commitment; we embraced a very popular member of staff who is going through a tough time; we showed a well-qualified volunteer around who wants to give of her time free of charge to offer maths students extra tuition; we were impressed by the new flatbread wraps in The Servery; Year 5 Primary students continued to taste life at the Academy in their transition visits; our Human Utopia coaching programme continued to change attitudes to life and transform aspirations; and an amazing sixth form trip to London was signed off.
The list could go on and on and on…
Of course, attention was given to outside events.
Students, rightly, considered the implications of having E-ACT writ large on the crest of their uniform badges. This is no small matter and is close to the hearts of our students. We would all wish to wear a badge with pride.
Staff, rightly, had questions and answers.
Leaders, rightly, worked to preserve the absolute best interests of the academy both in the day to day and the longer term.
Parents, rightly, emailed and phoned to seek clarification but to also offer unwavering support. After all, they know their children and the progress they are making.
We reassured parents that we would not tolerate any charge for a new uniform. We reassured them that they should absolutely not look to move their child because the day to day running of the academy was not set to change. We reassured Year 6 parents that if the Winsford Academy was their first choice then it was the right choice and we reassured parents that the Department for Education’s decision to re-broker sponsorship for 10 E-ACT academies was not due to any problems at ground level, at our academy.
On Friday 28th February, The Winsford Guardian’s Matthew Wood offered the most balanced piece on the events that have unfolded, whilst still focusing on concerns that must be addressed.
Believe it or not, on the island of relative calm, it was an operationally smooth week. Little drama.
Business, rightly, as usual.
And somewhere in the week that was, our latest full Ofsted Report was published, 30 school weeks after the last one with the “rapid improvements” we have made being clearly celebrated.
The rapid improvements we have made as an academy is down to the students, parents, staff and governors who have worked together as a galvanised collective to achieve excellent improvements for our young people’s personal, social and academic development.
Change worked for us last time and there’s no reason to suspect why it wouldn’t work once again.
We understand the journey we have taken and the distance still to travel. We look forward to sharing that journey with a new sponsor.
We know what we have achieved and we know who has achieved it.
The Winsford Academy.