Renowned school trust to take over struggling Kirkby College

A renowned education trust known for strong-performing schools is set to take over struggling Kirkby College.
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The college is in the process Of Joining Outwood Grange Academies Trust, one of the leading multi-academy trusts in the country, it has been announced today – with plans to make an ‘outstanding school for an outstanding community’.

The Tennyson Street school is currently a single academy trust, but will transfer to Outwood after the multi-academy trust was asked by the regional schools commissioner to take it on.

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Mark Golden, college headteacher, said: “We know it’s been a very challenging time for us recently, but joining Outwood is a major step forward for us.

Kirkby College is to become part of the Outwood family of schools - and renamed Outwood Academy Kirkby.Kirkby College is to become part of the Outwood family of schools - and renamed Outwood Academy Kirkby.
Kirkby College is to become part of the Outwood family of schools - and renamed Outwood Academy Kirkby.

“We believe, with the expertise within Outwood, we will be well-placed to make quick improvements, which can only be good news for our students and school community.”

The college was placed into special measures by education watchdog Ofsted following an inspection in 2018.

However, despite regular monitoring visits, it was found to still be inadequate after another inspection in November 2021, with Ofsted noting the curriculum is ‘not ambitious enough’ and homophobic and transphobic comments have ‘become the norm’, leading to its transfer to Outwood.

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Kirkby College.Kirkby College.
Kirkby College.

Students first

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Once the transfer is finalised, Outwood Academy Kirkby, as it will be known, will become Outwood’s 40th school, including 26 other secondaries.

The trust already runs Outwood Academy Valley and Outwood Academy Portland, both in Worksop, which are regularly among the best-performing schools in Nottinghamshire.

Julie Slater, Outwood Secondary chief executive principal, said: “Our vision is students first and this means placing students at the centre of everything we do and every decision we make.

“We want to do all we can to ensure the students are fully supported to reach their potential, so they leave school with the skills and knowledge that enables them to achieve whatever it is they want to.

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“We are aware of the challenges we will face, but confident in our ability to succeed – we have a proven track record of turning around schools.

“Our aim is an outstanding school for an outstanding community.”

Outwood said it will be working to secure funding to ‘transform the current buildings and build new state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities which will benefit the community’.

Sue Reast, college chairman of trustees, said: “The trustees welcome the decision and are enthusiastic at the opportunity to join Outwood.

“We believe this presents a real opportunity for change at Kirkby College and for the local community.”

Colin Pettigrew, Nottinghamshire Council director for children and families, said: “This is excellent news for students, families and the school.

“Outwood Grange Academies Trust has a long and proven track record of rapidly transforming schools across England and has taken its Nottinghamshire schools in Worksop from being two of our worst-performing schools to two of our best and has done so quickly. Those schools are now unrecognisable from the places they were only a few years ago.

“I have every confidence those students starting their secondary education in September 2022 at Outwood Academy Kirkby will achieve outstanding GCSE outcomes they and their families will be proud of.

“This marks a new start for this school including government investment to entirely rebuild a new school on the current site.”

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