Bedfordshire schools mark move to two-tier system

Langford Village Academy welcomed its first cohort of Year 5 pupils last week, marking its move from lower to primary school

Langford Village Academy welcomed its first cohort of Year 5 pupils last week, marking its move from lower to primary school - Credit: BEST

As with the start of every school year, many use the milestone as the official marker of a fresh start.

But this academic year has seen some additional changes for a number of Bedfordshire schools in Comet country.

Henlow Church of England Academy, Langford Village Academy and Stotfold's Pix Brook Academy - the latter two of which are a part of Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST) - are part of the county's initial shift away from the three-tier education system, and into the more widely-used two-tier model.

Henlow Church of England Academy and Langford Village Academy are part of the county's initial shift away from the three-tier education system, and into the more widely-used two-tier model.

As well as this, Stotfold's Pix Brook Academy - which, along with Langford, is part of the Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST) - is currently an ‘extended secondary school’, meaning it has Years 5 and 6, as well as Years 7 through 11, and will eventually become a standard secondary academy.

Henlow Church of England Academy has expanded to welcome its first cohort of Year 9 students

Henlow Church of England Academy has expanded to welcome its first cohort of Year 9 students - Credit: Henlow Church of England Academy


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Henlow proudly opened the doors of its new buildings last week, as their first ever Year 9 students began their studies.

The school, which up until this year catered solely for those in Years 5 to 8, has undergone major refurbishments and expansions as it welcomes its first GCSE cohort.

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Headteacher Caren Earp said: "We have been planning for this moment for a few years and are delighted that this exciting stage of our building programme has been completed on time with students accessing the new facilities straight away."

Henlow Academy has opened four new science labs as part of its new expansion

Henlow Academy has opened four new science labs as part of its new expansion - Credit: Henlow Church of England Academy

As part of the academy's expansion, students now have access to a new Multi Use Games Arena (MUGA) and four science laboratories. 

The old gym has also been refurbished and now acts as a theatre - the same room where the academy claims James Bond and Paddington actor Ben Whishaw first stepped onto the stage.

Chair of trustees Perry Huntley added: "Our ethos has always been a strength and we are delighted that our new facilities enable us to welcome older pupils at the start of their GCSE journey."

As part of Bedfordshire's shift to a primary and secondary model, Langford has converted to a primary school, and welcomed its first ever Year 5 pupils.

Stotfold's Pix Brook Academy has also embarked on the secondary education phase of its development, with a Year 7 cohort for the first time.

Pix Brook Academy, in Stotfold, now has its first cohort of Year 7 students, as it moves towards being a secondary school

Pix Brook Academy, in Stotfold, now has its first cohort of Year 7 students, as it moves towards being a secondary school - Credit: BEST

The change is part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s Schools for the Future programme.

Langford Village Academy's two Year 5 classes have started lessons in the main school building while construction of their permanent home - a mobile unit being built on the school playing field - is completed.

Principal Debbie Randall said: “I’m delighted to welcome our first cohort of Year 5 pupils. Most of them are familiar faces, having been with us in Year 4, but we have a few new children as well.

“They have settled straight back into school and are working hard and challenging themselves in all of their lessons."

Pix Brook Academy principal Steve Adams added: “Perhaps the most gratifying element of working in a school is seeing the relationship between the members of the school develop.

“We now have our first group of secondary age pupils in school. These young people are already very different from the new Year 5s they were when they joined in 2019.

“We now have a common experience and their ever-increasing maturity makes for the most interesting and surprising conversations. Young people are full of life and thoughts and as we work together it is amazing to see them grow.

“This is something I know all of us at Pix Brook are looking forward to seeing.”

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