DfE Co-education Approval for 2023 – 28th Feb 2022

A male staff member is seen standing at the front of a classroom with a book in his hand, presenting to his students.

Dear parents and carers

Following the consultation which closed at the end of January where the majority of the thirty respondents who offered views supported our proposal, I am delighted to confirm that the Department for Education has approved the change to co-education admissions from September 2023. From this point on, the schools’ name will change to Leigh Academy Tonbridge (LATon) with the cost of updates to pupils’ uniform for existing parents paid for by Leigh Academies Trust (LAT).

This is an excellent decision which safeguards the future of the academy and enables us to invest more resources so that LATon becomes a highly successful and popular choice secondary school for families in Tonbridge. Due to existing improvements at the academy we expect increased numbers of pupils in year 7 this September, but don’t expect we will be able to reach full capacity until girls are admitted for the first time from September 2023.

From September 2022, we will be introducing LAT’s small school model of education by appointing two Heads of College (Vice Principals). This will add much needed additional leadership capacity with both new appointments reporting to the Principal. We have already appointed Lead Practitioners in maths and science with more due to start in MFL after Easter and in English from September. They are adding more expertise to our teaching team so that standards across the curriculum accelerate. Combined with additional Student Services Managers appointed just before Christmas, we are building up the whole staff team to ensure excellent opportunities and support for our pupils.

We would like to thank the parents who took part in our survey and for those who continue to provide their invaluable support to the academy. Results from our recent survey of parents demonstrate that the academy is held in increasingly high esteem. An impressive 88% of you said that you would recommend the academy to another parent and only 5% of you said you would not. However, we are certainly not resting on our laurels and are keen to drive these statistics up even further. Our latest initiative to issue all pupils with their own Chromebook to support their learning at no cost to parents is yet another example of how LAT is investing in the future success of the academy.

We will be writing to you again in due course with more details about all of the above, but were keen to share this initial news with you as soon as we were informed. If you have any queries at all, please follow up with the academy in the normal way.

Yours faithfully,
Simon Beamish | Chief Executive