Air of “can do” as academy is opened

Official opening of Neale-Wade Academy by Steve Barclay MP -
Official opening of Neale-Wade Academy by Steve Barclay MP -

March Neale-Wade Academy was officially opened on Friday with a rousing message of positivity from its Principal, the local MP and even a current student.

An audience of staff, pupils and local dignitaries heard Principal Jason Wing talk with cautious optimism about this summer’s upcoming exam results at the official opening of March Neale-Wade Academy and he said the school now had an air of ‘can do’.

Official opening of Neale-Wade Academy by Steve Barclay MP - 'Christine Crawford (Yr 12 student)

Official opening of Neale-Wade Academy by Steve Barclay MP - 'Christine Crawford (Yr 12 student)

Mr Wing, who took charge in September 2011, admitted it had been tough when the school was put into ‘Special Measures’ shortly after he took over following an Ofsted inspection.

But since then the improvement has been immeasurable and the school is well on its way to becoming ‘good’ and Mr Wing praised, staff, pupils and parents for their support and hard-work to turn the Neale-Wade around.

He said at least 80 per cent of lessons were now either good or outstanding and that pupils were finally developing a belief in their ability to achieve.

Mr Wing, who attended the Neale-Wade himself, said he had a “fantastic education” and he wanted to ensure that the town and its people have the kind of good school it deserves at the heart of the community. He said there was now a strong sense of partnership between pupils, staff and parents which is crucial in helping the school to progress.

Official opening of Neale-Wade Academy by Steve Barclay MP - 'left to right Clive Bush (CEO Active Learning Trust), Christine Crawford (Yr 12 student), Steve Barclay MP, Jason Wing (Principal), Carol Cox and Alan Melton

Official opening of Neale-Wade Academy by Steve Barclay MP - 'left to right Clive Bush (CEO Active Learning Trust), Christine Crawford (Yr 12 student), Steve Barclay MP, Jason Wing (Principal), Carol Cox and Alan Melton

Clive Bush, CEO of the Active Learning Trust, which sponsored the Neale-Wade in becoming an Academy, praised Mr Wing, describing him as dynamic.

He said: “The school deserved so much more than that Ofsted report, to be put into special measures with 4s across the board, that was as low as it gets. Jason immediately made a difference here since he understood the needs of the school and we are delighted with the huge improvements which have been made so far and are confident things are on the right path.”

Mr Bush said people should stop making excuses about “this being the Fens” and accept the area has as much right to a successful academy as anywhere else.

MP Steve Barclay spoke about the way the school had already improving and said: “We have just heard about the journey so far in terms of getting us to where we are today, and we should be excited about what’s to come, there is a clear direction and the signs are extremely positive.”

Year 12 pupil Christine Crawford spoke of her own experiences at the school and said: “I have had a good education, my teachers are good and the school just keeps getting better and better. There have been so many positive changes.”

And Christine said the new school building provided a better learning environment for students and concluded: “I know some kids say they don’t like school but I have enjoyed my time here and when I leave I will have many fond memories.”