A talented new team of senior leaders has been appointed to lead The Valley Leadership Academy through an ambitious programme of investment and development.

In September, The Valley Leadership Academy in Stacksteads, welcomed its new Executive Principal, Andy O’Brien, who has more than a decade’s worth of experience transforming schools.

Andy O’Brien was previously the Principal and then Executive Principal at Accrington Academy where he spent 11 years in both teaching and senior leadership roles helping pupils to achieve outstanding results.

Alongside improving academic attainment, the new Principal is also committed to developing a broad programme of extra-curricular activities, which focuses on sports and the arts.

Mr O’Brien outlined his vision for the school, which he praised for its wonderful community spirit.

He said: “I have heard so much about how The Valley Leadership Academy is a school at the very heart of the community it serves. This is a school that has educated entire generations of local families and I feel very fortunate to be able to build on the school’s legacy. I am looking forward to working closely with parents and our community partners as we create the school our pupils truly deserve.

“The core of these developments will focus on improving pupils’ outcomes. Star Academies, the multi-academy trust responsible for The Valley Leadership Academy, has a long track record in running some of the highest-performing schools in the country. As part of Star Academies, The Valley now has access to greater resources, expertise and support to help it achieve its potential.”

Mr O’Brien will be joined by a new and experienced Senior Leadership Team, which has been appointed to help implement the developments. The new team includes a new Deputy Principal, two Assistant Principals, a science lead and the school’s existing Business Manager.

The new senior leaders have significant experience in raising standards and outcomes in schools across Lancashire and the North West. As well as bringing expertise in English, Science and Law, the academy’s new Deputy Principal, Mr Taylor, and Assistant Principals, Mrs Simpson and Miss Watson, have led a vast number of successful school and community initiatives ranging from literacy festivals to supporting Oxbridge entry.

Mr O‘Brien, the school’s Executive Principal, added: “I am delighted to have an extremely talented new Senior Leadership Team to help lead the ambitious next phase of investment and development at the school. Along with their extensive leadership experience, our team brings with them years’ worth of subject and exam experience to help our pupils achieve the best results possible.”

Sarah Davies, Chair of Governors at The Valley Leadership Academy, said: “This new term marks a key milestone in the school’s transformation to The Valley Leadership Academy.

“Star Academies and our incoming Executive Principal, Andy O’Brien, have worked tirelessly to recruit not only this highly talented and experienced senior leadership team, but also strengthen teaching across the school with new appointments in every faculty and major improvements to school facilities.

“In these uncertain times, this investment in education at the heart of the Rossendale Valley presents a huge opportunity for young people across the whole community.”

The school’s predecessor, Fearns Community College, converted to an academy in July 2019. Since joining Star Academies, the top-performing multi-academy trust in the country for the past two years, The Valley Leadership Academy has already benefitted from significant investment, a redesigned curriculum and investment in new specialist teaching staff. These changes are already beginning to impact on the school’s popularity in the local area with a significant increase in the number of pupils choosing to join the school this year.

In September, The Valley opened five new classrooms including cutting edge ICT, art and music rooms. These latest improvements are part of a longer-term capital investment in the school, which is scheduled to take place over the next few years.