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Your Questions
What is an Academy
An Academy is a state-funded independent school at which education is free to students. They are all established by sponsors working in partnership with central government and the local education partners. They have a number of freedoms to innovate in ways which is considered to benefit their students and provide the education required.
Academies are not controlled by a Local Authority, but by an Academy Trust, a registered charity established by the sponsors. The trust also works with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) to appoint the Academy’s overall Principal. The trustees of the proposed Academy would also appoint some of the governors of the Academy. The Local Authority, parents and carers, staff and wider community would also be represented.
As well as providing the best opportunities for its pupils, Academies also have a key part to play in the regeneration of the local community. The proposed Academy would offer local solutions for local needs.
Why should St.Aelred’s Catholic Technology College and Newton Community High School become an Academy?
The Local Authority and Governing Body of St Aelred’s with agreement of the Archdiocese have been supporting a School Improvement Partnership with Newton Community High School. Under this arrangement, the two schools have been working together under a single Executive Headteacher. This has contributed to the removal of Newton Community High School from Special Measure in 2006.
The local population is changing and decreasing pupil numbers means that there will be too many secondary school places. The Local Authority and other local stakeholders believe that the best way to move forward and make significant further improvements and reconcile the issues associated with the decreasing student population is through this proposal for a joint Catholic and Church of England Academy.
This proposal has the support of the governing bodies of both schools. Meanwhile the Local Authority and Dioceses are continuing to commit their energies into supporting the improvement work at both schools.
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Where will the Academy be located and when will it be open?
The Academy will be opened in new purpose built accommodation in September 2011. The location for the Academy is on the site of Newton Community High School.
The new building will reflect high standards in environmental design and conservation in keeping with the proposed environmental specialism. The principles of sustainability will be embedded in its design and will be utilised as an active tool in learning about the built environment.
The Academy will be welcoming, comfortable, both spacious and non-intimidating in scale, naturally lit, bright and colourful and ecologically sustainable. There will be a dedicated space for worship and spiritual reflection, symbolising the key role played by spirituality in the life of the Academy community.
It is anticipated that the landscape of the school site will become itself a learning context in which young people acquire and develop skills appropriate to the creative sustainability of their local environment.
The process of building the Academy will be managed by the Local Authority.
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What will the change to an Academy mean for my child?
All students on roll at St Aelred’s Catholic Technology College and Newton Community High School prior to the opening of the Academy would be offered a place at the proposed Academy on 1st September 2011.
The 2011 admissions process is now virtually complete, students will be notified about offered places 01 March 2011.
What will the building be like?
Consultation with the young people in the two existing schools resulted in a description of the new building. They asked for one which would be:
•  full of light and colour;
•  spacious and open;
•  aesthetically pleasing and a home for works of art
•  demonstrably sustainable and efficient;
•  comfortable;
•  calm and de-stressing;
•  a place where God is recognised through it’s Christian ethos, faith space and symbols
•  a place where peace is found.
The building will also reflect the intention that the Academy will have a family feel to it and students will not want to be anonymous in a large establishment. The building will be designed so that Family Groups, Houses and Schools will be grouped together within the Academy to give young people a more intimate experience for their pastoral and personal care and welfare, while benefiting from the advantages of a larger school by having a wider curriculum offer and range of learning opportunities.
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How will students be looked after?
This “school within a school” structure will exist not only for tutorial and welfare purposes: it will also be the basis for assemblies (in family groups, houses and school) and will provide the place for much of the teaching and learning for year 7 pupils when they first join the Academy.
How will teaching be organised?
For teaching purposes, students wil be regrouped into classes of their own age (or stage if they are capable of learning faster). Y7 will be planned as a “transition year”: a half-way stage between the primary and secondary curriculum with fewer teachers teaching more of the subjects and knowing their students better.
For these lessons Y7 will remain based in their own “House Area”. In Y8, if some students still need a transition approach, they will be able to continue the arrangement of having fewer teachers, while others will be able to benefit from the advantage by having the full range of curriculum expertise offered to them.
What are “Individual Learning Plans”?
A distinctive feature of the Academy’s academic structure is that every student (not only those with Special Education Needs) will have an individual Learning Plan (ILP) and will have a specific adult linked with them (a teacher, Teaching Assistant, Mentor, or even the Principal).
It will be this adult’s personal responsibility to ensure that their ILP is met and that they are making the progress expected of them.
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2013-14 PROSPECTUS &
For further Information or queries contact:
The Admissions Secretary
Hope Academy
Ashton Road, Newton-le-Willows
Merseyside WA12 0AQ
Tel: 01744 671930       Fax: 01744 671931
The Archdiocese of Liverpool Diocese of Liverpool Liverpool Hope University In Partnership with St Helens Council