Schools Minister Visits Wolverhampton’s First Academy

Diana Johnson visited South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy on Monday September 7, and was accompanied by Pat McFadden MP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills and the MP for Wolverhampton South East.

The Minister toured the former Parkfield High School to view the investment in the new Academy, where building improvements have been made through refurbished classrooms, new social areas and the upgrading of students’ facilities.

The Academy is sponsored by City of Wolverhampton College, the University of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton City Council, whose support and expertise gives the Academy the opportunity to become a centre of excellence in teaching.

The Academy’s specialisms in Engineering and Science reflect the strengths which are found within both the College and University. The strong links with both will also lead to greater opportunities for sixth form students.

Interim Academy Principal Rob Rossides said: “This Academy has taken just three months to come to fruition – which is testament to the hard work and commitment of a range of partners, including both the three main sponsors and staff from the predecessor school.”

Councillor Gillian Fellows, Wolverhampton Council’s Lead Member for Schools, said: “This is an exciting development for the communities in Bilston and south Wolverhampton. The opening of the Academy paves the way for a significant transformation in teaching and learning as well as substantial investment in new facilities. The Academy has the potential to enhance the life chances of all young people attending the Academy.”

City of Wolverhampton College Principal Ian Millard said: “We were delighted to welcome MP Diana Johnson to South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy and show her the great strides we are making to ensure young people in Wolverhampton gain a first class education.”

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline Gipps said: “The new Academy will be uniquely positioned to be able to offer enhanced opportunities for progression to further and higher education. We are very pleased to be one of the sponsors and look forward to working in partnership with the Principal and her team.”

Support from the £28 million Black Country Challenge programme has also been provided to the school in its journey towards Academy status. The Chief Adviser for the Challenge, Sir Geoff Hampton said he was: “Delighted to note that Parkfields has seen a dramatic increase in the percentage of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs including English and Maths. This provides an excellent platform for the future development of the new Academy.”

The South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy will relocate to a brand new state-of-the-art school in Bilston by September 2012.

Further information

South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy was established on 1 September 2009.

The Academy is part of the City of Wolverhampton Academy Trust, a partnership between the City Council, the University of Wolverhampton and City of Wolverhampton College.

South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy was formerly Parkfield High School. The most recent results have seen the proportion of pupils gaining 5 GCSEs grades A* - C (including English and Maths) improve to 27%.

The University of Wolverhampton has around 23,000 students, including a growing number from Europe and overseas.

Academic quality and standards were highly commended earlier this year following an official inspection by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), which assesses higher education institutions.

The University promotes innovation and enterprise and has a successful focus on employability, with excellent business links and collaborative working.

For further information please contact the Marketing Team from City of Wolverhampton College on 01902 317580 or the University Media Relations team on 01902 322003.

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