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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Official opening for £26m West Lakes Academy school

Today marks the official opening of west Cumbria’s first academy school – almost five years after it was created.

West Lakes Academy photo
Principal Vanessa Ray

The ceremony comes as staff and pupils of West Lakes Academy complete their first full academic year in its £26 million purpose-built complex created in Egremont.

Lessons have been held in the academy’s new building since March 2012, but demolition and other construction work continued to be carried out around it as the transformation was completed.

West Lakes Academy opened in September 2008 and was created from the amalgamation of Ehenside School in Cleator Moor and Wyndham School in Egremont.

The two poorly-performing schools were closed and the academy created in a bid to drive up pupil achievement and aspirations.

Exam results have improved significantly since the academy opened.

West Lakes Academy’s predecessor schools – Wyndham and Ehenside – had both failed inspections and were put in special measures. Ofsted now judge the academy to be good.

In the last week, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust has also confirmed that the rapid progress made by students puts it into the top 20 per cent of schools in the UK, following analysis of last summer’s GCSE results.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed and council leader Elaine Woodburn are among those invited to today’s opening ceremony.

Academy principal Vanessa Ray said: “Our vision is to succeed in changing lives through learning, by providing the very best possible educational opportunities for young people in west Cumbria.”

West Lakes Academy is sponsored by the University of Central Lancashire, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Sellafield Ltd.

Tony Price, managing director of Sellafield Ltd, said: “I am delighted that we are involved in such a fantastic, modern educational institution.”

John Clarke, chief executive of the NDA, said: “To be a former pupil of Wyndham School myself, and having had children attend that school, to stand here now and look at this world class facility fills me with a real sense of pride.”

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