EXCITING FUTURE FOR ABBEYLANDS SCHOOL
Nord Anglia Education plc is to give long-term specialist support to Abbeylands School, Addlestone, until November 2007, Surrey CC's policy making executive has decided.
The company is an education services provider which owns and manages independent schools, nurseries and colleges in the UK and overseas.
The decision to appoint Nord Anglia as the external educational consultancy follows an intensive public consultation period involving parents, staff, pupils, school governors, county councillors and the council's education department.
Paul Gray, director of education at Surrey CC, said: 'From day one our objective was to provide a first class education for local children. We are very enthusiastic about this ambitious and innovative approach based on partnership, and will continue to work hard to ensure its success.'
The Abbeylands chairman of governors, Adrian Waite, said: 'I am very glad that we have been able to work with the local education authority (LEA) on this venture. All of the present and future pupils of the school will benefit from the changes ahead. We have been working towards a new start for some time, and are excited about the school's future.'
The LEA and the governors produced an imaginative proposal to work with an external partner to help boost the number of pupils attending the school, raise attainment and seek new status as a foundation school. To help take the school forward, the council has also committed to invest up to£1m in the school's buildings.
Surrey CC will now publish statutory proposals with Nord Anglia to close Abbeylands as a community school on 31 August 2002 and open again as a new foundation school on 1 September 2002. It will continue to be a mixed non-selective school.
In the interim period the council will continue to provide intensive support to the school.
Nord Anglia will be working with the new school to look at new curriculum options and the development of a specialism. It will also develop links with the community through partnerships with businesses, local schools and further and higher education institutes, notably Royal Holloway, University of London.
Closing and re-opening the school has a specific meaning in law. In this case it involves the local education authority discontinuing the school on a particular day and that responsibility immediately passing to a foundation.
All existing pupils will be able to transfer to the new school.
A new temporary governing body, with wide representation, will be appointed in accordance with the statutory rules. This temporary body will then formally be constituted at the time of opening the new school.
Nord Anglia Preferred Bidder for Surrey School Management Contract
Nord Anglia Education, the leading education services provider, has been identified as 'preferred bidder' by Surrey CC to undertakea unique and innovative management contract for Abbeylands School in Addlestone and Chertsey.
This school management initiative by Surrey involving a private sector partner is seen as a model for the more wide ranging school management proposals flagged in Labour's manifesto published this week.
Under a new seven-year contract Nord Anglia and Surrey CC will adopt a partnership approach focusing upon changing the negative attitudes of parents towards the school and radically improving a flagging application rate. Whilst the school is performing increasingly well academically, the governors are experiencing severe difficulty in attracting pupils. Other local schools are currently over-subscribed but Abbeylands image has deteriorated. Half the pupils now in the school are not there through first parental choice.
Nord Anglia will provide the leadership, structure and resources the school requires to improve its image and increase its application rate of 'first choice' students.
In partnership with Surrey and the governors, Nord Anglia's vision is to secure specialist status for the school with a firm focus on enhancing life choices for its young people and raising their achievement levels. The company intends Abbeylands to become Runnymede Business and Enterprise College from September 2002.
Nord Anglia's recent success with a number of poorly performing LEA schools makes this landmark contract with Surrey a not unfamiliar challenge for the leading education services provider.
Two of the company's recent school improvement contracts were Adwick School in Doncaster and St George's School in Westminster. Adwick School was successfully taken out of special measures by Nord Anglia's support development team in partnership with school governors, management, staff and Doncaster LEA.
St George's School in Westminster was also released from special measures in the space of 12 months. Westminster LEA's decision to enter into a voluntary partnership with Nord Anglia provides an innovative model for the improvement of failing and under performing UK schools and it is a model which Nord Anglia intends to build on in this Surrey contract.
Kevin McNeany, the executive chairman of Nord Anglia Plc said:
'We are very excited to get to preferred bidder stage for a contract of this nature. We are eager to assist the Abbeylands School in turning around its image and providing a high quality education for children in the locality. The LEA is aware that traditional methods to turn around the image of the school to local parents and children have not worked and it is our intention, through partnership with Surrey CC, to secure a high level of pupil attainment and increase the quality of education for all families in Addlestone and Chertsey.
'We have fulfilled some extremely high profile contracts with schools in the past and our recent successes with both Adwick School and St George's School have provided us with a positive model for effective partnerships withLEAs.'
The re-launched school is expected to open in September 2002.