The Winsford Academy

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The Winsford Academy logo.png
Motto 'Succeed, Aspire, Learn Together'
Established September 2010 (School Site 1895)
Type Academy
Principal Mr Andrew Taylor-Edwards
Chair Governor Mrs 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
Local authority Cheshire West and Chester
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
Telephone 01606 592300
Fax 01606 863562

The Winsford Academy (Formerly The Winsford E-ACT Academy), simply referred to as 'Winsford Academy', in Winsford, Cheshire, England is a coeducational Secondary School and Sixth Form with Academy Status, that was established in September 2010. It is located on the campus of the former Verdin High School on Grange Lane that was founded in 1970, and 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 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]

In September 2013, the Academy moved into a new, £20 million structure which includes 60 new classrooms with flexible learning spaces; a 400-seat theatre in their Performing Arts Centre; Learning Resource Centre; sports facilities; 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 spent £1.7 million on ICT. From September 2013, students had access to mobile learning devices. 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 the very outset of designing the new build which was completed in September 2013, The Winsford Academy was committed to creating an Academy which serves the whole community before and after the traditional school day and at weekends. The Academy's new build features facilities, which may be of interest to community groups. Some of these include:

  • 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 approach to outdoor learning will eventually see a garden, orchard, allotment and natural habitat zones. In addition, the Academy's new build features a monochrome design with "vivid, industrial splashes of colour throughout".[3] The Facilities include:

  • A 400-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 basketball court, five badminton courts, cricket nets, and a five-a-side football court
  • 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 has four Houses which, as a specialism of Performing Arts and a Specialist Music School, are named after English composers; Britten, Purcell, Elgar and Sullivan. Depending on what House each student is in determines the colour of their tie and blazer trim for prefects. Britten are recognised in blue; Purcell red; Elgar green; and Sullivan yellow.

Each House is structured vertically to include Tutor Groups from all years 7 to 13, 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. Teachers without tutor responsibilities will also belong to a House team.

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]

House Awards

The four Academy Houses compete against each other every year to win a trophy or more at the annual 'House Awards'; an end of Academic Year Celebration Assembly, and a competition that drives the House System at The Winsford Academy. The trophies awarded are:

  • House of the Year
  • House Competition Winner
  • Best Attendance
  • Highest Number of Vivos

Since opening in September 2010, Britten House has proven dominance, having won all trophies for a fourth consecutive year. The Academic Year 2014 was a tough year for Britten, with Elgar having pushed Britten as hard as they had ever been pushed before.

Award Britten Purcell Elgar Sullivan
House of the Year 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
House Competition Winner 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Best Attendance 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Highest Number of Vivos 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Sports Day

A 'Sports Day' is held every Academic Year during the summer. All four Academy Houses compete against each other on this day, battling it out with numerous sports activities. Purcell House has proven dominance on this day, having retained the honour of winning Sports Day for a fourth consecutive year.

  • Britten
    • Winners:
  • Purcell
    • Winners: Summer 2011, Summer 2012, Summer 2013, Summer 2014
  • Elgar
    • Winners:
  • Sullivan
    • Winners:


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:

Sixth Form[edit]

The Winsford Academy is committed to developing a Sixth Form which by 2015 will have 200 students. The Sixth Form offers a range of GCSE, AS and A2 Level courses including English, Maths, Music, and Science subjects. In addition to A Level subjects, the Academy's Sixth Form students study a range of Vocational Level 3 BTEC courses including Forensic Science and Construction. Uniquely for this part of Cheshire, the Academy's Sixth Form is able to cater for students who want to take a combination of A Level and Vocational courses.[6]

As of 14 January 2015, it was confirmed that The Winsford Academy has made a ‘difficult decision’ to suspend its Sixth Form provision from September 2016 due to funding cuts. The current Sixth Form students will remain to complete their A/AS Levels. Mr Andrew Taylor-Edwards, Principal has said that while the proportion of students opting to stay on for Sixth Form study has remained constant, recent cuts to funding have put increasing pressure on the financial viability of providing their small post-16 provision. He said: “Following discussions with the Governing Body and our Sponsors, I have made the difficult decision to suspend Sixth Form provision at The Winsford Academy with full effect from September 2016.

It is well documented that the viability of small Sixth Forms is becoming threatened due to funding cuts. We have always prided ourselves in our ability to offer a small Sixth Form provision, allowing students an intimate setting where every student is known and where class sizes are small. We will, of course, remain fully committed to our current Year 12 students who will start their second year of Sixth Form study from September 2015".[7]

The decision was met with outrage from parents, who took to social media to vent their frustrations at the decision. On the 24th January 2015, an e-petition was launched to reverse the decision made to suspend its Sixth Form provision from September 2016.[8][9]

On the 6 February 2015, Mr Andrew Taylor-Edwards, Principal has backed the e-petition, urging members of the community to support the campaign. He said: "I know the family who have launched the e-petition and they are a great credit to the town. I would urge other members of the community to sign the e-petition to show their support for Sixth Form provision in the town".

He also confirmed that the suspension of Sixth Form provision is a 'temporary measure'. He said: "I would reiterate that this is a suspension of Sixth Form provision, a temporary measure due to the current financial pressures on small Sixth Form providers. The Academy remains committed to providing a first class post-16 option for the town in the future."[10]

The temporary suspension of Sixth Form provision was mainly due to the restructuring process. E-ACT lost control to sponsor 10 of their Academies, including The Winsford Academy in February 2014. From 1 September 2014, the Academy along with it's new sponsor phased in to an 18-month process of structural reform. On the 11 March 2015, Mr Peter Rubery, Executive Principal of The Fallibroome Multi-Academy Trust (Academy's new sponsor) said: "The restructuring process has required the temporary suspension of the Sixth Form, but we are committed to re-establishing a vibrant post-16 provision at the earliest opportunity".[11]



Governing Body[edit]

[26] The Governing Body and its Committees meet at least three times per half-term. In addition to this, members of the Governing Body convene as ad hoc Committees dealing with a wide range of Academy Business, and are a regular presence in the Academy.

The Members of The Full Governing Body are

Name Designation(s) Name Designation(s)
Mrs Ann Moore
  • Chair of the Full Governing Body
  • Chair of the Standards and Curriculum Committee
  • Local Authority Governor
Mr Michael Fox
  • Community Governor
  • Finance and Personnel Committee
Mr John Stenstrom
  • Community Governor
  • Finance and Personnel Committee
Ms Carole Hitchen
  • Support Staff Governor
  • Finance and Personnel Committee
Mr Richard Clarke
  • Teacher Governor
  • Standards and Curriculum Committee
Mr Andrew Taylor-Edwards
  • Principal
  • Finance and Personnel Committee
Mr John Trasler
  • Chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee
Mr Tony Hooton
  • Vice Chair of the Full Governing Body
  • Finance and Personnel Committee
  • Safeguarding Governor
Cllr Brian Clarke
  • Community Governor
  • Finance and Personnel Committee
Mrs Joanne Watkins
  • Community Governor
  • Standards and Curriculum Committee

The Clerk of The Full Governing Body is Mrs Gaynor Hawthornthwaite.

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 students.

Performing Arts is the main specialism of The Winsford Academy, in addition to being a Specialist Music School. The former predecessor schools; Verdin High School had a specialism in technology, and Woodford Lodge High School had no specialism.


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".[27]

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.[28]

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.[29][30]


  1. ^ a b David Cogger (1995). Verdin School Winsford 1895 -1995. Verdin High School. ISBN 0-9523370-0-2. 
  2. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - Principal's Welcome
  3. ^ a b The Winsford E-ACT Academy - Use Of Facilities 2013/14
  4. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - House System
  5. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - Inclusion
  6. ^ The Winsford Academy - Sixth Form
  7. ^ The Winsford Academy to suspend Sixth Form provision from September 2016 - Chester Chronicle
  8. ^ Petition launched to save The Winsford Academy Sixth Form - Winsford Guardian
  9. ^ Keep The Winsford Academy Sixth Form Open - Campaigns By You
  10. ^ Parent launches petition to save The Winsford Academy Sixth Form - Chester Chronicle
  11. ^ Barrett, Frances (11 March 2015). "The Winsford Academy Teacher Cuts Proposed Due to Falling Pupil Numbers". Chester Chronicle. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  12. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - About
  13. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - About
  14. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - About
  15. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - About
  16. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - About
  17. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - About
  18. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - About
  19. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - Academy Awarded Cheshire & Warrington: Inspiring Apprenticeship Promise
  20. ^ Winsford Education Partnership
  21. ^ Winsford.GOV.UK - Education
  22. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - Job Description & Person Specification: Principal
  23. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - Academy Partners Up With England Rugby & Rugby Football Foundation
  24. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - Academy Partners Up With England Rugby & Rugby Football Foundation
  25. ^ Academy Partners Up With The Hive
  26. ^ The Winsford Academy - Governing Body
  27. ^ E-ACT
  28. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - Business As Usual Despite Confirmed Sponsor Change
  29. ^ The Winsford E-ACT Academy - Winsford Academy Joins The Fallibroome Multi-Academy Trust
  30. ^ Chester Chronicle - TAcademy secures new sponsor for autumn