A new academy fit for purpose

Vice-principal Claire Adams and principal Wayne Birks outside the new Ruskington campus building. EMN-150421-130913001
Vice-principal Claire Adams and principal Wayne Birks outside the new Ruskington campus building. EMN-150421-130913001

St George’s Academy is determined to make things better for its students and the community by investing in the final phase of re-building at its Ruskington campus.

Principal Wayne Birks and vice-principal Claire Adams took The Standard around the school to show off the high quality facilities.

The new library at Ruskington campus, with from left - Margaret Pearson - the academy's head of libraries, and new librarian Andrea Singer. EMN-150421-130948001

The new library at Ruskington campus, with from left - Margaret Pearson - the academy's head of libraries, and new librarian Andrea Singer. EMN-150421-130948001

The old 1960s building has been swept away as Mrs Adams says it was no longer fit for purpose. The initial school building was erected behind but this has been followed up by the latest phase to build additional maths, English, art and languages classrooms plus staff office space and a school hall big enough to accommodate all 393 years 7-11 students on site.

She said the additional phase has added 40-50 per cent extra floor space. Prior to that they have had to squeeze assemblies into the dining hall.

The dining hall is a multi-use space and there is a separate entrance to the new school hall to enable it to be used by the community too. Both halls are equipped with big TV screens.

Mr Birks added: “At the front we have new tennis courts and we are currently building a new extension at the front for disabled services.”

“It is about consistency of quality” - Wayne Birks

Wayne Birks

There will be rooms for staff meetings and for medical care, as well as two large vocational teaching rooms for the growing range of vocational subjects the academy is offering with plans to take it up to sixth form level at Ruskington too.

Mr Birks said the £2m investment in the extensions has been tremendous. He said: “This new building project is saying that this is one academy with two campuses, we want the best for the community. It is about consistency of quality wherever you are taught.”

The classrooms open onto wide, airy central corridors with upper floor balconies allowing light to fill the building. Flexibility has been built in to allow the school to be a three or four form intake. Students also had an input in designing the toilet facilities for security.

The academy council of pupils have spent the last few months working on pinning down six key values for students to integrate into their everyday lives at school: respect, excellence, ambition, opportunity, tolerance and teamwork.

Claire Adams, vice-principal of St George's Academy and head of campus at Ruskington, in the vast new hall just completed. EMN-150421-130937001

Claire Adams, vice-principal of St George's Academy and head of campus at Ruskington, in the vast new hall just completed. EMN-150421-130937001

Mrs Adams said: “The children really respect the new building and look after it.”

A Student of the Week board has helped build pride and ambition among the students, said Mr Birks, something difficult to achieve in a selective system.

An attractive new library in the Ruskington building brings the total to over 30,000 books across both sites within its three libraries. There is still room for a full size running track at the rear of the school on the field.

The academy is working with the district council to move plans forward for a swimming pool on the Sleaford campus.