Regional Schools Commissioner praises ‘huge improvements’ at Severndale
22 Nov 2021
by Cathy Block

Severndale principal Brian Thomas, right, with Regional Schools Commissioner Andrew Warren, and Toby Morris, who was one of the many children he met during his visit.

The Regional Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands paid a visit to Severndale Specialist Academy in Shrewsbury to see the ‘huge improvements’ being made by its new leadership team.

Andrew Warren said he wanted to see for himself some of the achievements and improvements at the school since it became part of the Learning Community Trust earlier this year.

He had a tour of the facilities, meeting children, staff and governors including principal Brian Thomas, chair of governors David James, as well as the Learning Community Trust’s chief executive Dr Gill Eatough, and chair Mike Briscoe.

Thanking the Severndale team for their ‘warm welcome’, Mr Warren said: “It was really good to visit this large special school and see the huge improvements that the Learning Community Trust has already made.”

Mr Thomas said it was a pleasure to be able to tour the school with Andrew and his colleague Richard Jones and share first-hand the fantastic work happening at Severndale on a daily basis.

“It was also an opportunity to celebrate the progress that is happening at Severndale Academy with the support of the Trust, and highlight the quality of the specialist work that staff display to enhance the learning of our amazing pupils,” he said.

Dr Eatough added: “The academy is making fantastic progress under new leadership, and it was great to have the opportunity to share the improvements being driven by Brian and his team, with the commissioner.”

Mr Briscoe said: “It is just over a year since we first started working with the learners and staff at Severndale to support them in moving forward, before welcoming them into our family in February of this year as our 8th academy.

“The Regional School Commissioner was able to see at first-hand the fantastic advances made, to speak with children and staff, and be assured that Severndale is thriving.

“We are as proud of Severndale as we are of each of our academies which together make up our growing and supportive trust.”

Severndale Academy specialises in educating young people with moderate, severe and complex learning difficulties. It caters for young people from the ages of 3-25.

In addition to its main base at Monkmoor, it has a satellite centre at Mary Webb School & Science College in Pontesbury and is uniquely a 19-25 provision called Futures at Shrewsbury College’s campus on London Road. The academy currently has around 420 pupils and a staff of 280.

The Learning Community Trust was created in 2017 to drive improvement and ensure the best possible outcomes for students.

Its list of academies includes Telford-based secondary schools Hadley Learning Community, Ercall Wood and Charlton, as well as Wrekin View and Crudgington primaries, plus Queensway Special School.

Andrew Warren has been Regional Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands since January 2019. Before his appointment, he was chair of the Teaching Schools Council. He is a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching.

The Regional Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands is responsible for making decisions about the academies and free schools across the region’s 16 local authorities.