Education Secretary Gillian Keegan meets staff and pupils at Wigan borough high school

The Education Secretary swapped the corridors of power for school corridors when she visited the borough.
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Gillian Keegan went to Atherton High School with Leigh MP James Grundy, where they met staff and pupils.

They also discussed changes made at the school, which was the first free school in Greater Manchester when it opened in 2012.

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Atherton High School headteacher Ben Layzell, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Leigh MP James GrundyAtherton High School headteacher Ben Layzell, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Leigh MP James Grundy
Atherton High School headteacher Ben Layzell, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Leigh MP James Grundy
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Mr Grundy said: “It’s great to be here as the local MP visiting Atherton High School, which has been on an amazing journey over the last decade.

“I remember when I was a councillor, the school was facing closure with poor GCSE results but since it became a free school it’s now on the verge of being rated as outstanding by Ofsted, looking to upgrade the school buildings and expand its pupil numbers this year.

“What has happened here at Atherton High School is a really important story for local people as they campaigned to keep the school open, so it was an absolute pleasure to bring the Education Minister here today to meet the staff and pupils and see the fantastic work they do.”

Ms Keegan added: “I’d like to thank James for inviting me along to visit Atherton High School today and meet the staff and pupils.

Atherton High School pupils with headteacher Ben Layzell, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Leigh MP James GrundyAtherton High School pupils with headteacher Ben Layzell, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Leigh MP James Grundy
Atherton High School pupils with headteacher Ben Layzell, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Leigh MP James Grundy
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“From speaking to pupils it’s obvious they are receiving a great education and are very happy, which is thanks to the headteacher Ben Layzell and all his staff who are doing a brilliant job.”

The school’s latest Ofsted report – published in January – reported progress had been made, but more was needed for it to move from “requires improvement” to “good” – the second highest mark possible, behind “outstanding”.