In April 2017, the government announced that they wished for Leigh Academies Trust (LAT) to open three new free schools. These are Bearsted Academy, Maidstone Primary Academy and Medway Academy. In addition, LAT is already approved to open Leigh Academy Blackheath, a 6 form-entry secondary academy with sixth form in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in September 2018.
Bearsted Academy is a secondary special school for the region based at J7 of the M20, near Maidstone. The new special academy will work in close partnership with LAT’s doubly outstanding Milestone Academy to offer excellent opportunities for some of the region’s most vulnerable pupils. Bearsted Academy will open in September 2020 in brand new, state-ofthe-art premises. LAT’s bid was given full support from Kent County Council.
Dee Pickerill, currently Vice Principal at Milestone Academy, has accepted the role of Principal Designate. Dee’s skills and knowledge in special needs education are second to none and this appointment is richly-deserved. Dee will continue as Vice Principal of Milestone until she takes up her new post at Bearsted. She will become immediately involved in aspects of this new project, and as we move into next year, will begin a careful transition into her new role.