New Blackpool school announced by departing David Cameron

FCAT chief executive officer Felicity Greeves with finance lead Jane McCumiskey, HR business partner Laure Ferris, and community relations and estates lead John Topping
FCAT chief executive officer Felicity Greeves with finance lead Jane McCumiskey, HR business partner Laure Ferris, and community relations and estates lead John Topping

Blackpool is to get its first new purpose-built school in decades, it was announced.

Approved by the Department for Education, the new all-through school – which will cater for both primary and secondary pupils – was announced by former Prime Minister David Cameron in one of his last acts in office.

It will open before 2020 somewhere in South Shore, although a location and name have yet to be decided.

It will cater for 1,180 youngsters at full capacity.

Felicity Greeves, chief executive officer of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), which already runs four schools and revealed its ambitious proposal in December, said: “We are thrilled.”

FCAT bosses learned their bid had been successful when Mr Cameron named Blackpool as the location for 31 new schools during his final visit as PM, to Reach Academy in London on Tuesday.

Hours before being replaced by Theresa May, he said: “Free schools have been at the heart of this government’s education reforms which have seen more than 1.4 million more children in good or outstanding schools since 2010.”

Mrs Greeves added: “Our new FCAT school will build on the outstanding practice which already exists in our academies.

“One of our existing schools, Unity Academy in North Shore, is an all-through primary and secondary school, and this is proving popular with parents and carers.

“We will make the same quality offer for parents and carers in the south area of the town.”

Unity, in Warbreck Hill Road, was told to improve by Ofsted last June, but inspectors reported ‘effective action’ was being taken during a follow-up visit. Its nursery was found to be outstanding.

Montgomery High School, in Bispham, was taken out of special measures and described as being on ‘an upward trajectory’ in May this year.

Aspire, in Blackpool Old Road, has not yet been rated, while Hambleton was already ranked ‘outstanding’ when it joined FCAT last year.

Sarah Pearson, interim director of New Schools Network, said: “It is a testament to FCAT’s hard work that they have been approved to open.”