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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Big changes for academy school

MORE lessons and shorter lunch breaks are on the cards for West Lakes Academy pupils.

The changes at the Egremont school are set to take place in September to allow more teaching time for students.

Other major changes are in the pipeline as pupils get ready to move into the new academy building.

Students are to receive 27- and-a-half hours of teaching time per week, compared to the 25 which is standard amongst most schools.

Currently there are five lessons with an hour lunch break. From September, there will be six lessons a day and students will have a 30- minute lunchbreak.

Principal Vanessa Ray says this will mean younger students will have an earlier lunch compared to the existing timetable.

Mrs Ray said: “The younger ones aren’t so keen, but the older ones realise it’s a competitive market out there. If that means having more teaching time and ultimately getting better grades, they are happy to do it.”

A county council spokesperson said: “All secondary schools, not just academies, can choose how long to take for lunch breaks. Usually it’s between 50 minutes and an hour and 10 minutes but it can be what they want it to be.

“Academies do have more freedom in terms of setting timetables and the curriculum, which is part of the reason they become academies.”

Students will also have the chance to study for their GCSEs over three years rather than the standard two. Mrs Ray says Key Stage 4 teaching will now take place from Year 9 through to Year 11.

A new logo has been designed for the academy which means a new uniform will also be introduced.

Mrs Ray said sixth form student James Coulthard produced the winning design and was awarded £200 by Kier Construction. These will now be used on the academy’s blazer and ties.

Existing students will have these replaced free of charge, while new students will have to pay.

Mrs Ray said they are still recruiting for the new intake of Year 7 pupils for the September start as well as sixth form places.

Following two years of construction work, the new-build is set to open in just a few weeks time.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed visited the academy last week to speak to staff and tour the new facility.

Mrs Ray said: “He was very positive. He is interested in local things and the academy is a big event locally. This new build is quite an adult environment. We have a whole new computer system, new electronic keys and a cashless catering system.”

Student tours have been taking place recently where groups of pupils have looked around the facility. Members of the community and parents have also looked around the new build, which has been designed and constructed by Kier.

The official opening is set to take place in the autumn term.

Have your say

I can only hope that the new building encourages the pupils to take reponsibility for their own learning and gives the staff a desperately needed morale boost. The Head teachers empathasis seems to be on cosmetic, high tech gadgets to perhaps dazzle prospective parents and lead them away from the reality of an underperforming student body. How many students from the academy are able to bridge the gap between rote-taught GCSE's and application of knowledge A-levels? I sincerely hope the Academy can offer pupils more than a 'shiny new building with a new logo'.

Posted by Dr Mary Graff on 29 March 2012 at 20:26

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