‘Exciting’ future at academy

Schools across the country are set to fully open on Monday to all pupils in line with the Government’s roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown.

By Janet Harrison
Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 10:36 am

But at Boston Spa Academy, as well as dealing with the challenges of the immediate return, leaders and staff have their sights set on a longer route into the future.

In an interview with the Wetherby News, Sir John Townsley, CEO of The Gorse Academies Trust, which Boston Spa Academy is part of, said they were looking to creating an outstanding school for the community.

“We are very excited about the future,” said Sir John, on the day that secondary school offers revealed that 80 per cent were given their first choice in the Leeds area.

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“Essentially we have moved to a position where we are very excited that the school has become once again the school of choice and very popular within the Boston Spa, Wetherby and surrounding community, so the villages of that area too.

“At one time Boston Spa had got quite small in numbers and was under-subscribed but for September we’re absolutely full.

“And we have got lots and lots of people who have been unable to secure a place with us, which we are going to have to deal with, but it is nice to know that Boston Spa now is a very popular and over-subscribed school for the first time in quite a long time.”

He added that 280 Year seven pupils will start in September at the school , which has already undergone an investment of more than £750,000 in its facilities.

“What’s really important to us too is that in the past there were lots of children coming to Boston Spa from outside the immediate area of Boston Spa and its surrounding community and that now has diminished and we are now popular in our own area,” added Sir John.

“And that is great because what we want is obviously some great schools for local children to attend and that’s the model that works on many fronts, including an environmental front too so you have got less travelling, children using their own local schools and that is very important to us.”

At the other end of the school years, Sir John said Boston Spa was enjoying a renewed appeal to student and families.

He said: “Another area that we are really excited about is what’s happening on the Sixth Form and post 16 which had again become quite small but for September we will move to much more boyant numbers, including attracting significant numbers from outside of our own Year 11.

“The sixth form, which is one of the highest performing sixth forms in the whole of the city and always has been a real strength of the school, is now attracting quite a lot of students from outside the school which we are really pleased about.”

Last year there was a full refurbishment of the post-16 area, including the creation of Elliott Hudson College.

And Sir John put the increased popularity of the sixth form down to the school’s ‘strong reputation’.

“In terms of the sixth form specifically, in fairness Boston Spa has always had a really strong reputation on what happens on post 16.

“But I think we have been able to communicate more effectively about that excellence than has been the case previously.

“And I think it is also fair to say that other schools in the area have closed their sixth forms so families and students are looking for other alternatives that are of a high quality and Boston is certainly the sixth form of choice for many now.

“So we will go over 200 students in our sixth form provision in September and we are really confident it will rise from there and that is something the community will really welcome.”

Following its upgrade of computer and projector provision in classrooms Gorse Academies Trust last year announced that £2million more of investment was on the cards for this year.

This will include the creation of a new Performing Arts Centre and more details of these plans will follow in next week’s Wetherby News.