Future is looking bright for newest Blackpool academy

Mereside Primary pupils celebrate becoming part of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust.  Pictured are Tayla Hawes, 6, Syd Jewell-North, 5 and Skyla Tolmie, 4.
Mereside Primary pupils celebrate becoming part of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust. Pictured are Tayla Hawes, 6, Syd Jewell-North, 5 and Skyla Tolmie, 4.
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The headteacher at a Blackpool primary school says it is ‘well placed’ for the future after becoming an academy.

Sue Diver said parents shouldn’t notice a real difference in the day-to-day running of Mereside Primary School, which joined the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) on January 1, but said it would be more efficient behind the scenes.

She said: “We are not changing the uniform or the name of the school, and none of the staff will change.

“From the parents’ point of view they will see very little change. When we spoke to them, we said the first thing they notice is the FCAT logo on letters and signs outside the school.”

FCAT now runs seven academies, including Aspire, Montgomery, Unity, and Hambleton Primary. Gateway Academy and Westcliff Primary joined last year, while the trust is set open a new free school in South Shore next year.

As well as sharing ideas of what works within schools with each other, the academies will share certain back office departments, including human resources.

Susan Wilson, head at Westcliff, in Crawford Avenue, is now also executive headteacher at Gateway and Mereside, with parents told to keep an eye out for her at future events.

The Langdale school will also adopt FCAT’s standard policies after parents took part in a consultation last June and July.

Governors then formally approved the academy conversion, before legal paperwork was lodged and rubber stamped at the end of last month.

National director for schools at education watchdog Ofsted, Sean Harford, said the school is now a new legal entity separate from the old school.

Last inspected in 2013, Mereside was rated as ‘good’, and is expected to be routinely visited again at some point this year.

Writing on the school’s website, Mrs Diver added: “This is an exciting time for us now as we move forward in partnership with some of the most successful schools in the area.

“Mereside School is now well placed to build on the good work we have done so far, and provide the best education possible for your children, now and into the future.”

Tony Nicholson, FCAT’s chief executive officer, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mereside Primary School and Children’s Centre into the FCAT family of schools, and look forward to working with staff, governors, students and parents and carers on their continued journey towards Mereside being an outstanding school.”