Parkside Drive Academy - Part of Academy of Central Bedfordshire - Is Officially Opened

A ceremony has taken place to officially open the Academy of Central Bedfordshire.

The Academy is split across two sites – the Kingsland Campus, in Parkside Drive, Houghton Regis, and Church Road, in Stotfold.

And in the short time it has been open the Academy has celebrated many achievements - including receiving a 'good' rating by Ofsted during its first inspection last summer.

So to mark those, a plaque was unveiled at the Stotfold site during a ceremony last month. It was unveiled by Charlie Taylor, a former expert advisor to the government on behaviour in schools. He was on the interview panel made up of government officers during the Academy’s application process.

Mr Taylor was joined at the ceremony by pupils, staff and a host of invited guests including chairman of governors Nigel Croft, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills Cllr Mark Versallion, Director of Children’s Services Sue Harrison and Assistant Director School Improvement Helen Redding.

Executive Principal Peter Cohen said: “Staff working at the Academy of Central Bedfordshire are very much aware that young people who are disaffected with and disengaged from education are more likely to experience significant limitations to their life chances and opportunities.

“The Academy reflects the local authority’s and governors’ ambition to offer a new approach to enhance the educational opportunities for some of the most vulnerable young people in Central Bedfordshire.

“That is why the curriculum is personalised and appropriate to the needs of the students. Both sites have extensive vocational curriculums supporting the delivery of English and maths.”

Cllr Versallion added: “It is amazing how much the Academy of Central Bedfordshire has achieved in such a short space of time. This is reflected in the progress which pupils make and a good grading from Ofsted.

“Although official opening ceremonies tend to take place soon after schools open, in a way it is fitting this event has taken place now because everyone attending was able to take stock of the great work which has already taken place at the Academy, speak with pupils about how clearly they are benefitting from being here, and also take a look towards the future.”

The Academy was one of the first alternative provision free schools to open in the UK. It means that there is a focus on more vocational subjects such as vehicle maintenance, construction, catering and hospitality and hair and beauty – although pupils also still study English and maths.

The curriculum is personalised to pupils’ needs and dedicated to providing positive experiences, helped by the state-of-the-art facilities which students enjoy.

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  • Photo: the official opening ceremony (from left, Helen Redding, Peter Cohen, Charlie Taylor, Nigel Croft, Cllr Mark Versallion and Sue Harrison).