Why a new secondary school for St Neots?
We have thought long and hard about what the right thing to do as a group is, and we have decided to propose this new school because we believe that it will massively benefit the town, without detracting from the work we are already doing with students elsewhere.
We recognise the hard work and successes of the existing schools here, but there are a number of compelling reasons why we think St Neots needs a new school, St Neots Academy.
The need for higher standards at GCSE
While there has been some improvement in local GCSE results in the last decade, in 2015 local students were still as far behind both the Cambridgeshire and national averages as ever.
Local children do well in their SATs when aged 11, yet don’t seem to do so well by the age of 16. They’re just as smart as other children. Their families care about their education just as much as those elsewhere. Their teachers work just as hard. However, in over a decade nothing seems to have narrowed this gap.
It is heartening to hear local schools announce improvements this summer, but we feel that if children in St Neots are ever going to match or do better than their peers elsewhere, something significant needs to change. We are confident that St Neots Academy could be a big part in this change.
More choice for families
St Neots has long been served by two secondary schools, and these are now both run by the same academy trust. We believe that families and their children will be better served by having a greater choice of schools – both in terms of who runs them and how they are run.
We don’t believe that it is about a school being “good” or “bad”, but about a school being right for a child – and that diversity of choice is key to allowing this to happen.
From discussions with local people, we know already that many families send their children to secondary schools elsewhere - indeed, we have several students at Bedford Free School who come to us from St Neots or the surrounding villages!
We believe that providing families with more choice will enable more secondary-aged children to be educated locally, benefitting the town and saving their families the complications and costs of sending them miles away.
Learning from the best schools in the country and our experiences in Bedford and elsewhere, we believe that some radical changes are needed to ensure that every student can be better prepared for university and a successful career.