11 April, 2008 – Oldham's Academy Vision Unveiled
The vision for how education will be improved and better facilities provided for the whole Oldham community at Oldham's proposed three new academy schools was unveiled today.
- The Oldham College and educational charities Edutrust and Oasis Community Learning have each produced their formal Expressions of Interest ‘ a legal document that officially kick-starts a 12 month feasibility period when the three sponsors will work with Oldham Council on the detailed plans for each academy.
The Expressions of Interest set out the aspirations for each academy in terms of how they will transform education, provide wider opportunities for the whole Oldham community and help community cohesion.
Students and their parents being able to access the curriculum and support materials through their home, or any computer, and parents being able to track their child’s individual progress on-line.
New facilities for the whole community to use, including adult learning, health and fitness and sports, with opportunities to further develop community use.
Students having their own individual webpages detailing their own learning programme, targets, performance and portfolio of work accessible to teachers and parents.
New vocational and academic subjects, including media technology, electronics, financial services, construction, textile design and photography.
Children being given their own laptop computer and internet access.
The opportunity for students to take part in non-traditional school sports.
Other innovations could include staggered start and finish times and more project-based learning.
The feasibility stage will concentrate on all aspects of the new schools, including their design, new ways of teaching and learning, parental involvement, the student voice as well as the legal and financial aspects.
There will also be strong focus on the particular opportunities for Oldham to build strong, cohesive and integrated communities while valuing the culture, faith and individual identity of each child.
The three proposed academies would replace five existing schools’ Breeze Hill, Counthill, Kaskenmoor, South Chadderton and Grange – and have the working titles of Oasis Academy Oldham, The Oldham College Academy and the Edutrust Academy.
Oasis Academy Oldham would replace South Chadderton and Kaskenmoor schools on a new site, proposed to be the former Oak Colliery site off Hollins Road. The Oldham College Academy would replace Breeze Hill and Counthill schools and is proposed for the Orb Mill site in Waterhead.
The Edutrust Academy would replace Grange School and is proposed to be on site of the present Our Lady’s RC school in Royton. Each academy would initially open in the existing school buildings in 2010, before moving to the new purpose-built schools in 2012/13.
The three academy schools are a key part of Oldham’s £200 million Building Schools for the Future programme to rebuild, replace or refurbish every secondary school in the Borough and to provide a better education for every child in Oldham and improve community cohesion.
Janet Donaldson, Oldham’s Interim Executive Director for Children, Young People and Families, said: "Our Building Schools for the Future plans are about ensuring that all Oldham?s young people get the skills and qualifications they will need for places in higher education and to get the best jobs.
To do this we need high-performing schools and schools that are outward looking so students can make the most of opportunities available locally in the Borough and in the wider region.
We have worked hard with our sponsors to develop these proposals which will transform education and make our schools more exciting, enjoyable, and rewarding places in which to learn and teach.
Every school and every child will benefit from this transformation and the proposals for the academy schools unveiled today give a flavour of what we aim to provide at all our schools.
The proposals to open three academy schools and close five existing schools will go out to formal public consultation in May.
All Oldham’s sponsors are committed to retaining national pay, terms and conditions for all staff, to recruit staff on the same non-discriminatory principles as all Oldham?s schools, and the academies would remain accountable to the local authority in most key areas.
They are committed to the core of the National Curriculum and to admitting students from all faiths and no faith and of all abilities, including children with special educational needs. All will have full wheelchair access and special facilities to help children with sight or hearing difficulties.
Key to the proposals put forward by each sponsor is to build close links with Oldham’s other schools, colleges, University Centre Oldham, and local and regional employers so they can provide more academic and vocational routes into higher education and jobs.
They will also deliver a wider range of subjects and an education more tailored to needs and learning styles of individual children, including special programmes to help underachieving and the most gifted and talented groups to achieve their full potential.
All have a strong commitment to retain staff from existing schools and strong staff development programmes so they can attract and keep the best staff.
For more information on Oldham’s Building Schools for the Future proposals visit the website at www.oldham.gov.uk/bsf.
Source: Oldham Council Press Release