Free uniforms for students as March’s new Neale Wade Academy opens

Principal Jason Wing talking to the teachers at the official opening of the Neale Wade Academy, in M

Principal Jason Wing talking to the teachers at the official opening of the Neale Wade Academy, in March. - Credit: Archant

A principal has set his sights on leading what he believes will become one of the best secondary education centres in the country - as more than 1,000 students get a free school uniform.

After months of hard work by staff and the completion of a £25m new building Jason Wing said the Neale Wade Academy in March had gone from 'taking a bit of a kicking' to now proving it had a bright future ahead of it.

'We have never shied away from the truth, we have always been transparent about the problems here,' said Mr Wing. 'This time last year we had just come out of what was a tough Ofsted visit but we didn't sit around moping, we got out of it.'

The school is now officialy being run by a trust committee instead of the local authority and is one of around 700 secondary schools in the country to have switched its control to academy status.

'We've had a bit of a kicking, we had been told we were a failing school, We had a lot of work to do but we have made some radical changes and we are now in a really strong position. The future of the school is bright.'

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Teaching staff, a leading schools commissioner and members of the management team, Active Learning Trust, gathered for the first day of the centre's first official day as an Academy.

'Changing the school has been like trying to turn a tank around,' he said, but the Neale Wade was on its way to achieving great things and confidence was growing within the local community.

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'When I first started I didn't want to compare ourselves to other schools in the area I wanted to measure ourselves against other schools in the country.

'I said that 18 months ago and I stick to it. We are more than capable and we are up for it.'

Academies are paving the way for the future of education in the UK, said schools commissioner for England, Dr Liz Sidwell, who said Academy status meant working towards quality education where every child could reach their potential.

'The Neale Wade is a place full of hope and strength where young people can thrive under strong leadership and quality education,' she said.

'The Academy programme is gathering pace. It was seen as a system for failing inner city schools, but the whole country needs it.'

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