Head to step aside to concentrate on opening new school

Chris Lickiss (left), and his successor Stephen Cooke
Chris Lickiss (left), and his successor Stephen Cooke

The headteacher at Unity Academy in North Shore is to step aside from Saturday to help open the new Armfield Academy, he has announced.

Chris Lickiss will be replaced by current deputy head Stephen Cooke as he concentrates on his role of executive principal at the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), which runs Unity and a number of other schools across the Fylde Coast.

In a letter sent home to parents yesterday, Mr Lickiss said: “This post includes overseeing at least two of the trust’s academies as well as having responsibility for improvement across all the FCAT secondary schools.

“I have also been asked to play a significant role in the creation and subsequent running of the Armfield Academy, the trust’s free school in South Shore which is due to open in September 2018.

“To enable me to deliver all these varied responsibilities, I can inform you that, as of April 1, Mr Cooke will become principal and be in charge of the day-to-day running of the school.”

Mr Lickiss, who said he will continue to work closely with Mr Cooke, said his years as head have been ‘the most rewarding of my career’, adding: “My determination to see Unity as the school of choice in Blackpool remains unabated.”

Mr Cooke added: “I am incredibly honoured and excited to be appointed as principal, it has been a privilege, since 2013, to be involved in our transformational journey as vice principal. I look forward to leading our academy through the next stage, as we continue to improve the outcomes and life chances for our young people. I look forward to sharing in our successes with the students, staff, parents and wider community.”

Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) was established in 2012 by Fylde Coast Teaching School, a partnership of Blackpool Sixth Form College and Hodgson Academy in Poulton.

In December 2015, it revealed plans to open a new all-through school – which means it will cater for both primary and secondary school children – in South Shore.

At the time, it ran Unity, Aspire Academy, both in Blackpool, and Montgomery High in Bispham.

Since then, it has taken over the running of Hambleton Primary School, Gateway Academy, Westcliff Primary, and Mereside Primary.

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