A SECONDARY school in Wigan has begun a new chapter after converting to an academy.

Hindley High School has officially become Outwood Academy Hindley. It has opened its doors to students as part of Outwood Grange Academies Trust.

The school was rated as Inadequate by Ofsted following an inspection in March 2020 and subsequently it was issued with a Directive Academy Order (DAO) by the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) on behalf of the Department for Education.

Outwood Grange Academies Trust was selected as the preferred sponsor by the Regional Schools Commissioner.

Since then there has been a collaboration between Hindley’s existing senior leadership team and Outwood Grange Academies Trust in an effort to improve the school, which was recognised by Ofsted in a monitoring visit in February 2021.

The academy will be led by Mrs Jude Norman, who was the acting headteacher at Hindley High School. Mrs Norman will work alongside Outwood’s Julie Slater, chief executive principal secondary, and Cara Ackroyd, associate executive principal.

Mrs Norman said: “This is a very exciting time for both our school and our school community, and we are delighted to become a part of the Outwood Family.

“Working with Outwood represents a brilliant opportunity for Hindley as the Trust has a track record of not only transforming schools, but also the local communities they serve.

“As we embark on this exciting next chapter in our school’s journey, I would like to thank our students, their parents/carers, our hardworking staff and IEB members, and every member of our academy community for their patience during this process.”

Outwood had been working with Hindley High School for some time as it prepared for the conversion, laying the groundwork for the transition.

Cara Ackroyd, associate executive principal at Outwood, added: "Working with the school ahead of the conversion has been a great experience and we are grateful for the warm reception we have received.

“The school has a vast amount of potential and we are determined to put students first and work hard to raise standards and transform lives.”

Outwood Academy Hindley is one of two Outwood academies opening this month, with Outwood Academy Haydock also opening in St Helens.

Julie Slater added: “I am so excited for the journey we are embarking on, not just with the staff and students, but also the wider community. I’m from the North West and I know this area well. It feels like I’m coming home, and the warm reception we’ve received in the borough makes me more determined to bring success to Hindley.

“As such, we will do everything we can to help to ensure the students at the school receive the best possible education, and that everyone strives to fulfil their potential.”