News Bradford Forster Academy opens with a celebration assembly with Bishop Toby


Filled with excitement and perhaps a few nerves, 140 year 7 pupils embarked on their secondary school journey this week at Bradford Forster Academy. Making their experience a little more special is that these young people are the first pupils to enrol at the new academy and the first cohort who will get to help shape the design, ethos and vision of the new school.

Celebrating the end of their first week at the new Church of England Academy, the pupils received a special visit from The Rt. Revd Dr Toby Howarth, the Area Bishop for Bradford who visited the school to provide a blessing of the school and to present the children with a bible which will be used to help guide their spiritual journey and growth. As part of the blessing and bible giving ceremony the young people, who have only been classmates for one week, also took the opportunity to show off their creative flair performing a lively dance routine for all the staff and guests present.

Bishop Toby commented “It is a real pleasure to join the young people of Bradford Forster Academy at the opening blessing for their new school. The life and enthusiasm generated from the school today is fantastic to see.

Forster Academy is the first Church of England secondary school to open in Bradford in 8 years. It will have an important role in steering generations of children through their academic and spiritual development. I wish the school, the staff and the community it serves every blessing on this exciting new journey”.

Bradford Forster Academy, is a new secondary Church of England Academy in the BD4 area of Bradford. It opened its door to year 7 pupils only this September and will grow to provide education for up to 1,050, 11-16 year old pupils by the time the schools reaches full capacity in 2019. Diane Pickering, the new Principal joined the school in January this year to work with the Academy sponsor, Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust (BDAT) to get the school ready for opening. She now leads a team of approximately 30 teachers and support staff who will guide the school through its first year.

Speaking at the blessing, Diane described her delight at finally seeing the school open its doors to pupils, ‘It is so wonderful to finally see the Trust vision for the Academy become a reality. We all feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to be part of the building of this community and are very much looking forward to the next five years’

The school will hold an official launch next April once children and staff are settled and have had time to embed and make real the Academy vision to be “a student-centred place of learning, fully committed to providing all the students in its care with the highest quality of education to allow them to grow and flourish”.

Bradford Forster Academy is a basic need provision Academy, bid for and awarded to Bradford Council in 2013 to meet a predicted shortage of secondary school places in the City. Two years forward, and after significant partnership working between the Council, Local Education Partnership and sponsor (BDAT), the £12 million academy has opened on time and within budget.

Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Portfolio Holder for Education, Skills and Culture, said: “I’m pleased that Forster Academy has now opened. We all know how much the additional school places are needed in Bradford. We have one of the biggest youth populations in Europe. These new facilities will be a brilliant asset for students and staff. They show what can be achieved with positive partnership working between academy sponsors, education providers and the Council.”

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