In April 2017, the government announced that they wished for Leigh Academies Trust (LAT) to open three new free schools by September 2019. 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.
Maidstone Primary Academy will be a brand new primary with 60 pupils each year and will share a site with Bearsted Academy. Like Bearsted Academy, it will open in September 2018 and help to meet the growing demand for primary school places in Bearsted and north Maidstone.
Debbie Biggenden will take overall responsibility for this new school as Executive Principal in addition to the four LAT primary academies already within her remit. This is a very considerable additional acknowledgement of Debbie’s excellent contribution to the Trust.
Since joining the Trust just over two years ago, Debbie has played a leading part in removing two primary academies from special measures that LAT inherited from another multi-academy trust. She has ensured that Oaks Primary Academy has remained in the top 5% of similar schools nationally for its key stage 2 SATs results for the last two years, and has been instrumental in successfully opening the brand new Langley Park Primary Academy with its new Principal, Libby Fidock, in September 2016.
This additional new role will enable Debbie to have even more of an impact on the lives of children across the Maidstone area. We intend to appoint a new Principal for Maidstone Primary in early 2018 who will report directly to Debbie.
All of these projects will require strong stewardship. I have asked Neil Willis, Deputy CEO, to oversee the development of all aspects of the pre-opening stage of our recently approved free schools on behalf of the Trust. These are exciting times. These appointments demonstrate how LAT carefully develops its own leadership talent and provides outstanding new opportunities to its staff on a very regular basis. Indeed, there will be more announcements to come as the next few months unfold.