As one of his final acts as MP for the town, Sir George Young recently convened a meeting at the House of Commons to discuss the progress of Winton Community Academy in Andover.
Both Sir George and Kit Malthouse, his successor as conservative candidate, believe that educational standards are key to the future prosperity of the town and so following a visit to the school last month, they met with Ian Comfort, Chief Executive of the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) to discuss their plans for Winton and what can be done to help.
AET took over the former Winton School in late 2011 and have been working hard to drive up achievement in the school, including hiring a new Headteacher last year.
Mr Comfort raised a number of issues which fall to government to resolve, particularly the funding formula and he was keen to strengthen the links with the feeder primary schools, building on work carried out in Birmingham where a closer partnership had produced promising results.
Kit Malthouse had already held a meeting with the Leader of Hampshire County Council, Cllr Roy Perry, when he raised the challenges facing all three secondary schools in the town and lobbied for a sustained effort to raise standards.
Sir George said: “Both Kit and I have met the new Head of the school, Nathan Thomas, who showed us round a few weeks ago. We were both impressed, and the school recognises that it has to raise its game. The school has much going for it – small classes and motivated teachers – and the predicted outcomes for this year’s exam results are a significant improvement on last year.”
Kit Malthouse said: “Raising school standards across the board is possibly the most important issue facing Andover today. Great schools turning out highly literate and numerate kids with the skills to progress will be the foundation of a bright future for the town. As Winton shows, we are getting there, but more can be done, and whoever wins the election on May 7th absolutely must put their shoulder to the wheel to help.”