The Winsford Academy

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The Winsford Academy logo.png
Motto 'Succeed, Aspire, Learn Together'
Established September 2010 (School Site 1909)
Type Academy
Principal Mr Andy Taylor-Edwards
Chair Governor Tom Peryer/Ann Moore
Founders Merged
Location Grange Lane
England Coordinates: 53°14′56″N 2°32′12″W / 53.2490°N 2.5367°W / 53.2490; -2.5367
DfE number 896/6906
DfE URN 136184 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Capacity 1700
Students 1144
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses Britten, Purcell, Elgar, Sullivan




Publication Newsletters & Bulletins

The Winsford Academy (Formerly The Winsford E-ACT Academy), simply referred to as 'Winsford Academy', in Winsford, Cheshire, England was established in September 2010, and is located on the campus of the former Verdin High School on Grange Lane that was founded in 1970. It was formed through the merger of the two secondary schools in Winsford; Verdin High School and Woodford Lodge High School. In addition, it constitutes a recent change to a school with a very long and proud history, served for over a century by many superb teachers, head teachers and Governors.[1] The Verdin High School was formerly one component of a two-campus school, initially the Verdin Grammar School (founded in 1895) and later, the Verdin Comprehensive School.[1]

The Academy has seen improvements in academic achievement and attendance. Beyond the classroom, the Academy offers an extensive range of enrichment activity, which allow students to develop new skills and interests. The Academy has numerous links with the community which are firmly established and through effective partnership work, the Academy is able to provide their students with a wide range of opportunities locally, nationally and internationally.

In September 2013, the Academy moved into a brand new, £20 million, state-of-the-art learning environment which includes 60 brand new classrooms with flexible learning spaces; a 400-seat theatre in their new Performing Arts Centre; Learning Resource Centre; outstanding sports facilities; new science labs; drama and dance studios; music rehearsal rooms; media suites; a Sixth Form Centre; art studios; and technology workshops.

In addition to this, the Academy has invested £1.7 million into ICT which will transform the learning experiences of all students. From September 2013, students had access to mobile learning devices and will benefit from an unrivalled mix of ICT that will fully prepare students for an ICT-rich future. Windows and Mac-based PCs will be available across the Academy, Apple TV and large HDMI, flat-screen televisions will be a staple feature of all classrooms and industry standard Mac labs will be central to learning in Technology and Creative Arts.[2]


[3] From September 2014, the Academy's ambition is to appoint a Community Manager who will have full responsibility for coordinating a full and enriching programme of community activities so they can become a true extended hours Academy. The Academy's new build features top of the range facilities, which may be of interest to community groups including:

  • Sporting groups
  • Keep-fit enthusiasts
  • Drama groups
  • Dance troupes
  • Adult educators
  • Film enthusiasts
  • Art & Craft groups
  • Reading circles
  • Community forums
  • Rehearsing musicians

The interior of the build comprises a large and spacious central corridor area with glass-fronted classrooms on either side. Open spaces, balconies and a ‘cafe culture’ canteen also feature. The Academy’s innovative approach to outdoor learning will see a garden, orchard, allotment and natural habitat zones. In addition, the Academy's new build boasts a monochrome design with vivid, industrial splashes of colour throughout.[3] The Facilities include:

  • A 425-seat studio theatre with open stage, raked, retractable seating and full audio visual capability. The theatre also has a giant screen and projector.
  • Dance Studio with wooden sprung floor and full-length mirror with bar.
  • Gymnasium.
  • Five-court sports hall including full size basketball court, five badminton courts, cricket nets, and a five-a-side football court.
  • A large assembly hall able to seat 425 people.
  • A fitness suite
  • A large field with 5 football pitches, 6 tennis courts, a rugby pitch and a running track.

House System[edit]

The Academy's systems of care, support and guidance are based on their House System. The Academy has four houses which, as a Specialist Music School, are named after English composers, Britten, Purcell, Elgar and Sullivan.

Each pupil belongs to a Tutor Group of approximately 25 pupils all of whom are members of the same year group and belong to the same House. The group Tutor is the key point of contact between the Academy and parents and will stay with the Tutor group as the student's progress through the Academy.

In addition to their Tutor, each House has a Head and Assistant Head of House and a Pastoral Manager. House staff have nominal or zero teaching loads in order that they can focus their time and energy on providing support and guidance for their pupils. The Academy believes that safe, secure and happy pupils achieve best. Therefore, the Academy has a staffing model with high levels of support which enables them to rapidly and effectively respond to the personal and educational needs of all their pupils as well as keeping parents well informed and fully engaged with issues that their pupils are faced with and working through.[4]


The Winsford Academy is a comprehensive Academy and serve a diverse range of pupil needs. Their high ability pupils need to be stretched and challenged to achieve their very best. Other more vulnerable pupils need support to access the curriculum and help to remove some barriers to learning which may be affecting progress and/or wellbeing. The Academy offers a range of services to support all pupils in ensuring every child has the opportunity to fulfil their unique potential.

Their House Team is composed of four Heads of House, four Assistant Heads of House and four Pastoral Managers. At any time of day, there will always be a person available from each House to address individual pupil concerns. Family Co-ordinators support children where barriers to learning exist beyond the normal school day. The Attendance team work closely with the Family Co-ordinators to raise attendance and remove barriers to attending school punctually each day. For the most vulnerable pupils, the Academy offers counselling services and access to an Educational Psychologist. The school nurse is also available one day per week for all non-emergency medical issues.

In the classroom, the Academy employs over 20 Teaching Assistants and higher Level Teaching Assistants. These staff work with pupils to ensure equal access to the curriculum for all pupils needing additional support. They have also set up core teaching in Year 7 and 8 for students who need greater continuity, less movement and a more intensive learning support package. In addition, they also offer an Inclusion Support Centre for pupils who are struggling with the demands of mainstream school. These pupils are out of mainstream for longer periods though the intention is always to re-integrate back into mainstream where possible.

The Director of Learning Access and Support and Additional Needs Manager also works to support pupils needing alternative off-site education. The Academy employs two home tutors and also have substantial links to local colleges and alternative education providers.[5]


Subjects include syllabuses for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4: English, Mathematics, Performing Arts (Drama, Music, and Dance), Science, Information Communication Technology, Business Studies, Humanities (Geography, History, Travel & Tourism, Religious Education, Psychology, and Sociology), Physical Education, Modern Foreign Languages, Health Studies (Child Development, Food Technology, Health & Social Care, and Psychology), and Design & Technology (Art, Construction, Photography, Product Design, and Textiles).



Specialist College[edit]

The specialist school programme helps schools, in partnership with private sector sponsors, and supported by additional government funding, to establish distinctive identities through their chosen specialisations and achieve their targets to raise standards.

Specialist schools have a focus on those subjects relating to their chosen specialisations but must also meet the national curriculum requirements and deliver a broad and balanced education to all pupils.


The Academy was sponsored by E-ACT; a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales with the Company Number: 652 6376. E-ACT are "a leading, independent Academy sponsor whose principal purpose is to create centres of excellence for all by establishing, maintaining, managing and developing Academies and Free Schools".[20]

As of Wednesday 27 February 2014, it was confirmed that the Academy is one of 10 Academies who will no longer be sponsored by E-ACT. The Department for Education (DfE) is now brokering with other Academy chains to set up the Academy with a new sponsor.[21]

As of Wednesday 9 July 2014, it was confirmed that the Academy's new sponsor, with effect from 1 September 2014, will be the Fallibroome Multi-Academy Trust in Macclesfield. E-ACT will cease to be the Academy’s sponsor from 31 August 2014. This follows the decision of the E-ACT Academy chain to divest itself of ten of its Academies following intervention from the Department for Education (DfE) in January 2014.[22]