A troubled school is set to be re-named in honour of Blackpool’s most famous footballing son – in a bid to give it a fresh start and help revitalise part of the town.
Bosses at Revoe Primary have revealed proposals to rebrand the school Armfield Academy, after footballing legend Jimmy Armfield.
And teachers and community leaders have today welcomed the idea, saying it will help instil pride in the area and wipe the slate clean for the school.
Last year six members of staff were suspended over child safety allegations, while Ofsted inspectors slammed it as inadequate in a damning report.
Julie Bascombe, chairman of the Revoe Residents Association community group, said: “If it improves the area and makes children proud of their school then I’m all for it.
“I think it’s good they’re thinking of changing the school name, everyone’s in a bit of a quandry after everything that’s happened but a name is a new beginning.
“Armfield Academy is a good suggestion because he’s someone important and has done a lot for the community but it’s for the community to decide.”
Neil Reid, co-founder of Blackpool Food Bank which supports families in Revoe, said: “If it makes people want to support their community then that’s great. If such a name gives people ownership and a sense of identity I think that’s a really good thing.
“Revoe is one of the more challenging communities in Blackpool, but there is a good vibe in the community, it’s very friendly and open.”
It is hoped the renaming will bring to an end a problematic period for the school, which has more than 400 pupils. After Ofsted inspectors said the school “required improvement”, following an inspection in May last year, it was taken under the wing of a multi-academy trust, comprising Blackpool’s Anchorsholme, Devonshire and Park schools.
Dayle Harrison, current headteacher at Boundary Primary School, Grange Park, and formerly acting headteacher at Collegiate High School, will be taking on the headship at the school from April.
Neil Hodgkins, headteacher of Devonshire Primary School and executive headteacher of Revoe, wrote to parents on Wednesday about the proposal.
He said: “As the school becomes an academy we think it is the right time for it to have a new identity and put the troubles of the last 12 months behind it.
“I have written to all parents to ask them for their thoughts of what the school could be named. One of the popular options is Armfield Academy.”
Sporting legend Mr Armfield, who played 569 games for Blackpool FC, said he did not want to comment on the proposal until it was confirmed.
But he has long supported the school which already has its library named after him.
He said: “It’s nice to know people care about you like that.”
What’s in a name? Parents’ views...
We celebrated ‘Revoe forever’
Lesley Robbins, 32, has five children at the school and is a past pupil. She said: “The name Revoe means something to me and my friends, we went there and we used to have ‘Revoe forever’ days.
“Changing the name isn’t going to change its past.”
Education matters, not a name
Paul Clare, 35, has five children at the school. He said: “The name doesn’t bother me, my priority is the education. The school has got much better since the Ofsted report.
“Changing the name won’t change perceptions of it.”
It should be a sports academy
Joel Palmer, 25, has three children at the school and is a past pupil. He said: “Sometimes the name Revoe gives bad connotations but things are changing at the school now. But unless it’s a sports academy I’m not sure about that name.”