Alternative academy opens in Grantham
A new state-of-the-art school in Grantham opened this week for pupils who can no longer access mainstream education.
Springwell Alternative Academy Grantham, in New Beacon Road, welcomed its first cohort of pupils on Monday after regional contractor G F Tomlinson completed their works on the academy.
It will accommodate 63 pupils aged between four and 16 with a maximum of eight pupils in each of the eight classrooms.
It will provide specialised teaching spaces, a special educational needs therapy room, sensory room, hygiene room, fitness suite, parents’ room, hall and multi-use games area.
The academy has been delivered in partnership with Wellspring Academy Trust and Lincolnshire County Council through the Department for Education’s Construction Framework.
The trust celebrated its completion with an open event for teaching and support staff and local residents on Friday, before it opened to younger pupils on Monday, with pupils in Key Stage 4 set to join next week.
Ian Dalby, framework manager at G F Tomlinson, said: “The new academy is a wonderful addition to the region, providing a safe and secure environment to promote positive learning for local students requiring an alternative to mainstream education.”
Executive principal Phil Willott will lead the academy after 17 years in the education industry, predominantly working within secondary mainstream education as a teacher and senior leader.
Mr Willott said: “I have always gravitated towards the pastoral and inclusion side of education after studying a degree in criminology.
“It was a lecturer that encouraged me to pursue teaching after telling me that teaching is where I would have the most influence on young people.
“It helps that I have been a leader at a similar special setting and have also taught at challenging inner city schools so I can empathise with mainstream colleagues and the pressures that they are under.”
He also praised the academy’s teaching staff, adding: “Our staff are our most precious resource that our young people have. They have really taken on board our ethos and values and are passionate about making a difference.
“The amazing building provides our young people with a positive, warm and welcoming environment that will allow staff to create learning opportunities to help us meet their needs.
“We want to create as many positive moments as we can with our young people. It is not just about academic progress but personal development, too.”
Mark Wilson, CEO of Wellspring Academy Trust, has been working in partnership with LCC and the Department for Education to improve the offer to young people excluded from school and at risk of exclusion in Lincolnshire.
He said: “The school will provide a safe, caring and inspirational environment where our young people can be supported to reach their fullest potential.”