Academy is ready to lead new rural hub

Garstang Community Academy Headteacher Phil Birch
Garstang Community Academy Headteacher Phil Birch
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Garstang Academy is planning to join forces with an major academy group - across the border in Blackpool.

The school is one of only a handful of standalone academies in the Lancashire Education Authority area and caused a storm of protest when it broke away from county control five years ago.

Now, the Bowgreave academy is to join forces with the Fylde Coast Academy Trust and lead the organisation’s rural hub from September after governors voted unanimously to join.

The new venture has to be approved by the Regional Schools Commissioner.

The multi-academy trust includes seven schools, mostly in Blackpool with two more besides Garstang, in the process of joining.

Garstang’s headteacher Phil Birch has been on secondment as executive principal with the MAT since January. His deputy Alasdair Ashcroft is now principal.

He said: “Being part of an innovating and invigorating organisation like FCAT will enable Garstang

Community Academy to continue to evolve and move forward as a school.

“In uncertain times nationally, the opportunities this collaboration will bring, including excellent training opportunities for our team, increased financial security, and an exciting new ‘Lead-School’ role for GCA will help us secure a resilient and outstanding provision in our area for future generations of children.”

Tony Nicholson, chief executive officer of FCAT added: “The Fylde Coast Academy Trust is absolutely delighted to wholeheartedly welcome Garstang Community Academy into our family of schools.

“As a growing and ambitious multi-academy trust with a proven track record of raising standards through successful collaborative working we are excited by the prospect of Garstang benefitting from and adding expertise to our proven leadership and high quality teaching teams.

The Fylde Coast Academy Trust has a de”termination to ensure all our students succeed to the highest levels and we will work with the excellent leadership team of Garstang to ensure a very bright and secure future for all the wonderful young people who will pass through GCA in the years to come.”