Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns was welcomed to Livingstone Academy on Friday 3rd March to meet staff and pupils at the town’s newest school as they celebrated World Book Day.

During a tour he learned about the challenges facing the academy, which is run by Aspirations Academies Trust, as they utilise buildings converted from the former magistrates’ court and Grade II listed coroner’s court in the Lansdowne area of the town.

Principal, Dr Kimberly Elms has been leading the school, which aims to provide a state-of-the-art digital education with STEAM at its heart, since its opening in September 2021. Temporarily housed on part of the Bournemouth and Poole College campus, staff and pupils were able to move into the new buildings in June last year.

“Urban schools are exciting places to learn in,” she said, “but they do present challenges from parking and security to outdoor exercise areas. Additionally, we are custodians of historic buildings in this unique repurposing project and that means making compromises in the ways in which we use the space.”

“We are hopeful that, with the help of the local authorities, we will be able to head off any problems around increasing traffic and school drop-off before they arise. However, information is not always forthcoming and we have concerns about how plans for traffic routing will impact us.”

Acknowledging the practical difficulties of the academy’s location, Conor Burns offered his support to ensure Dr Elms’ concerns are listened to:
“The school is doing fantastic things and the future for the pupils is positive,” he said. “ I’m very happy to help engage with the local authority to get them to understand the challenges facing Livingstone Academy, which will only increase as the school reaches capacity.”

As part of his two hour visit, Mr Burns admired the historic courtroom from the judge’s bench, and observed lessons in Spanish, Coding and PHSE as well as meeting members of the school council.