Wolves Uni launches latest academy

A West Midlands primary school is the latest to reopen as an academy under a new trust led by the University of Wolverhampton Social Enterprises Limited.


University of Wolverhampton Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer (left) with Headteacher David Grist (right) officially open the new academy.

Fairway Primary Academy in Muirfield Gardens, Kings Norton is sponsored by Education Central Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), within the University of Wolverhampton.

This will be the fourth school to join the Multi-Academy Trust.

The University has a track record of raising standards within schools in the region, firstly through the Black Country Children’s Service Improvement Partnership (BCCSIP) which ran successfully for more than 10 years, including leading the Black Country Challenge.

BCCSIP has since become Education Central, a not-for-profit social enterprise set up to raise standards through working in partnership with schools.

As part of its work Education Central was approved by the Department for Education as a sponsor of academies in April last year.

Further primary and secondary schools in the region are due to join up in the next six months with a view to create a family of around 20-25 schools.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, Professor Geoff Layer, said: “Education Central was set up as part of the University’s vision for regional regeneration through education, to help raise standards and aspirations of young people in the area.

“This vision now extends to sponsorship or working in partnership with schools across the West Midlands. We believe with our expertise and excellent pedigree in supporting schools we can bring a unique offering to the table.

“We want to work in collaboration with schools not to impose. We see the Multi-Academy Trust acting like a network to share success and best practice while retaining individuality, particularly where schools are already achieving in certain areas.”

Headteacher David Grist said: “It is hard to believe that when you look at Fairway Primary Academy, a thriving one form entry academy with excellent outcomes for its pupils, serving and supported by its local community in Kings Norton, that just seven years ago it faced possible closure which led to falling pupil numbers.

“At that time, changes to housing within the local community meant that pupil numbers fell to only 89 children and the outlook for Fairway was bleak.

“However, it was through the dedication of parents, staff, governing body and community that the school not only stayed open, but steadily began to see increasing pupil numbers and a real sense of community spirit building around and through the school.

“That spirit lives on at the heart of Fairway today and is something that will transfer with them as they have chosen to move from school to Academy with Educational Central, Multi Academy Trust.

“With many year groups being full, the academy having a waiting list for its reception class, educational results that the pupils and academy are, rightly, proud of and an ethos which puts children at the heart of all they do; then their vision of ‘Inspiring learners, building foundations and shaping tomorrow’ is one which will take Fairway Primary Academy forward to a bright and successful future.”