Francis Bacon School plans unveiled

MORE light has been shed on radical plans to transform a St Albans secondary school this afternoon.

As reported by the Herts Advertiser last year, Francis Bacon School in Drakes Drive, which has suffered from a low take up in recent years, will be turned into a brand new ‘all through’ school for four to 19 year olds pupils on the same site.

And Sir John Lawes in Harpenden has now been unveiled as the school which will lead the development, in the process sponsoring Francis Bacon to become an academy which is scheduled to open in September 2012 under a new name.

Richard Thake, executive member for education and skills, said: “This will be the first academy of its kind in the county. We see this as a big step forward for education in this part of St Albans which offers children a very exciting future.

“Sir John Lawes has been judged as outstanding by Ofsted and is recognised by the Government as a high performing school, which we feel makes it ideally suited to ‘parent’ the new academy.”

All current pupils will automatically become part of the new academy and a spokesperson for Herts County Council stressed that there will continue to be continuity of education for them. Some building work and changes to the existing site to accommodate the wider age range will however be required.

Sir John Lawes head Claire Robins said: “We want to work together with the staff at Francis Bacon to build on the excellent work they have already done in raising standards. We hope to use the skills and experience of staff in both organisations to develop Francis Bacon into the kind of school that the parents of St Albans can have confidence will provide their children with the very highest standards of education.

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“Current pupil numbers at Francis Bacon are low and we will be working to build them up again and create a successful school of choice for local parents and students.”

She added: “This is an excellent development which will bring benefits to both schools. It will provide opportunities for staff, bringing fresh ideas and challenges. Through partnership working with the local authority and staff at Francis Bacon, we are looking forward to creating an exciting new school with a strong community focus.”