Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education Visits Wilmington Academy

Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education talking to a student from the academy

Yesterday morning, on behalf of Leigh Academies Trust, Wilmington Academy hosted a visit by the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, during which Mr Williamson was shown the preparations we are making for students’ return to classrooms next week.

Mr Williamson was given a tour of the academy to view the measures in place for a safe return, the provision for key worker and vulnerable students and, in particular, the COVID testing facilities. He had an opportunity to meet, socially distanced, with a number of staff and students to hear their thoughts and feelings about returning to school.

Speaking at Wilmington Academy, Mr Williamson said,

“It’s wonderful to be here at Wilmington Academy in Dartford, to see the work that has been undertaken to get the testing regime set up ready to welcome all the children back from next week and to talk to some of the children, seeing their enthusiasm and seeing how keen they are to see their friends back at school. Wilmington Academy is such a friendly, happy school that’s ready to give all the children the great opportunity to start learning in the classroom once more”.    

Michael Gore, Principal at Wilmington Academy said,

“It was a pleasure to host Mr Williamson today to showcase all of the tireless work that staff have undertaken to support students with their remote learning and on-site provision during this challenging time. It was pleasing to show Mr Williamson the efforts put into ensuring a robust and efficient testing regime at the academy operated by staff volunteers alongside trained Health Care Assistants from Newcross Healthcare. Mr Williamson met with students to discuss their learning experience during lockdown and their thoughts on returning to school next week. Mr Williamson was hugely impressed with his visit and this is a tribute to both staff and students at the academy.”

Simon Beamish, Chief Executive of Leigh Academies Trust added, 

“I am delighted that Mr Williamson was able to visit the Trust today and see the outstanding work taking place at Wilmington to ensure that staff and students remain safe when they return and to showcase their achievements during the lockdown in continuing to deliver a high-quality education to their students. Across all of our 28 schools, we have been busy preparing for students and staff to return next week as we believe that the best place for children to learn is in the classroom supported by our excellent teaching and support staff.”