September really is a milestone month for the former Alfreton Grange Arts College.
The school is undergoing a complete overhaul with the hope of becoming one of the top education providers in the area.
The makeover includes a new name, new school sponsor, a new £15million building, new uniform and new headteacher.
Not only is it a fresh start for the newly-named David Nieper Academy, the school is also set to make history by becoming the first Derbyshire school to be backed by a local employer.
Alfreton fashion firm David Nieper agreed to become the school’s sponsor and now has ambitious plans to improve its Ofsted rating to ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ in the coming years.
Managing director of the firm Christopher Nieper, said: “In 2014 I set up the David Nieper Education Trust to support education at all levels. I began to consider a number of options to raise the level of local education and consulted with other employers about the best way to tackle the lack of employable young people and the acute skills shortage they all face.
“Serious consideration was given to setting up a university technical college or a joint venture with several local schools and then, quite suddenly the government intervened at Alfreton Grange and issued an academy order.
“I took a deep breath and decided to offer the company’s support as a potential sponsor for the school.
“The venture offers an exceptional opportunity for local children to be part of a truly progressive secondary school. The youngsters are really excited about their teachers, uniform, and new state-of-the art school building with first-class facilities and equipment. This building with house the latest technology to support learning across a broad curriculum.”
Earlier this year the David Nieper Trust launched a national search to find the best of British teaching talent to take up the headteacher role, and found Kathryn Hobbs.
Originally from Derbyshire, Kathryn brings enormous experience from an extensive career in senior positions at many UK schools. And Kathryn was ready to take on the challenge, and keen to work alongside the firm.
She said: “Since my appointment in March, Christopher and I have worked very closely together to ensure that we are able to deliver the aims and vision of the David Nieper Educational Trust both in the immediate and long term. The conversion to academy status has required a lot of planning and preparation. The close proximity of the school and David Nieper has also facilitated a close working relationship.
“The focus for this term is on establishing all of our new routines, ensuring high quality teaching and learning and preparing for our move into the new school building, which opens to students on January 9.
“This is a really exciting time to be joining the school – it is a brand new start with fantastic opportunities for both students and teaching staff.”
The dedicated duo agree that the future is very exciting for the David Nieper Academy.
Kathryn added: “The new school will not only offer first class academic support, but will also give children a privileged connection with local employers and a career-enriched curriculum intended to lead to jobs, apprenticeships or a head start in further education at college or university.
“The vision is to turn what has been a failing school into the best school in the area.”
For more information visit: www.davidnieper.co.uk/academy.