The former Home Secretary and Education Secretary David Blunkett was given a tour of Charles Read Academy today.
Lord Blunkett met pupils and staff at the Corby Glen school which he was visiting in his capacity as chairman of the David Ross Education Trust which sponsors the school.
Charles Read headteacher Robert Sloan and students took Lord Blunkett, accompanied by his guide dog Cosby, on the tour of the school which was taken over by the trust last year.
Following the tour Lord Blunkett said he was impressed with the students and facilities at the school.
He said: “Without being prompted the students had positive things to say about the school. They liked the idea of being in a small school because the teachers knew who they were and they could get to know the teachers. They like the new facilities here and they liked the sporting facilities. We went into a science group and they were really keen on the laboratory that has been set up. So that was very encouraging.
“We are on a good trajectory recruiting for next year. Getting the numbers up is a challenge but we want to make sure the school has a long-term future which it has at the moment. The trust would not have invested in it if it did not have a long-term future. The school is really well led with an enthusiastic group of teaching and non-teaching staff.”
Lord Blunkett trained as a teacher and was education secretary from 1997 to 2001. Harking back to Tony Blair’s election promise, Lord Blunkett said today he was “literally education, education, education” because of his many existing commitments in the realm of education. Two weeks ago he made his maiden speech in the House of Lords on education.
Lord Blunkett said he was enjoying his time as chairman of the David Ross Education Trust. He said his relationship with David Ross was a “good working relationship which is truly robust. I think we are both characters and we have both done very interesting things in our lives. I don’t think either of us suffer fools gladly.”
Mr Sloan said: “We have had a lot to do at the academy over the last two years and I think you can see all the hard work is paying off in terms of the number of students that are attending the academy, the results that the students are getting academically, and the investment that we have made in the facilities. There is always work to do but we feel the students are doing really well and are enjoying themselves and making good progress.”
Chief executive of the trust, Wendy Marshall, added: “When we took over Charles Read we made a big commitment to make it work. We have a growing reputation and we are investing in the facilities so we hope that gives a very clear signal out to everyone that we are here and committed to Charles Read.”