New Leigh Academies Trust head Simon Beamish plans to expand into Greenwich

New Leigh Academies Trust head plans to expand into Greenwich

Simon Beamish.

How the new Leigh UTC will look.

First published in News News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

THE incoming head of the Leigh Academies Trust has ambitious plans to expand into Greenwich.

The trust currently runs six schools in and around Dartford including the Leigh Technology Academy in Green Street Green Road, Longfield Academy and Wilmington Academy.

A seventh school, the Leigh University Technical College, is currently under construction at the Bridge Science and Business Park on the former Joyce Green hospital site and is set to open in 2014.

Simon Beamish, at 36 the youngest chief executive of any academy trust in the UK, says the board of governors at a secondary school in Greenwich has voted unanimously to become part of the LAT.

The aim is to set up another ‘cluster’ of schools in the borough like the one in Dartford and the trust also has plans to set one up elsewhere in Kent.

Mr Beamish told News Shopper: "We will never expand or grow if it means sacrificing the strengths we have in the Dartford cluster, so we need to get the balance right.

"I think schools work best and succeed best when they operate within successful teams and successful families.

"It is very difficult for schools to survive alone and they need the challenge of working with a family."

The father-of-three and former Longfield Academy principal says schools like the UTC will help boost Britain in an area where the country has fallen behind.

He said: "The school will offer a specialist curriculum focusing on engineering, technology and computing.

"It is an area where the UK hasn’t delivered in the past few years despite having produced the likes of Isambard Kingdom Brunel."

The Leigh UTC will train up to 600 of the next generation of engineers, aged 14 to 18, during 8.30am to 5pm days aimed at preparing students for the work place.

Mr Beamish is set to take over from Frank Green after he was appointed the new schools commissioner by education secretary Michael Gove.

Academies are publicly-funded independent schools with freedom from local authority control and greater autonomy to set pay and conditions for staff, deliver their curriculum and change the lengths of terms and school days.

The first academies were set-up by Tony Blair’s Labour government in 2000.

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