I enjoyed a really good afternoon chatting to TES reporter Stephen Exley at the end of term, on the last three years, links with Wellington College and our plans for the future.
The interview is published in today’s TES as Academy find change is a game of two halves http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6278621
We’ve had our results since then: 47% 5A*-C with EM, excellent A-level results and over 50 boarders starting September. The second half is looking more positive.
The scarf in question (see below 1). The LA visitor was actually Councillor Jane Scott, the Leader of Wiltshire Council and a very strong supporter of the academy. She happened to be here when we hosted a full meeting of the council in our theatre (see below 2). She’s also a United season ticket holder but I won’t hold that against here.
I was a bit startled when this fell out of the wrapper in my office last week. This is the latest FASNA mag with the academy featured on the cover.
FASNA stands for Freedom and Autonomy for Schools – National Association. http://www.academymag.co.uk/
Anthony Seldon has an article inside on the link between the two Wellingtons – Wellington College sponsored the creation of Wellington Academy from what was Castledown School in Tidworth, Wiltshire.
There is a good deal of interest in the proposed Wellington academy chain, with James O’Shaughnessy, ex-No10 insider drafted in to work on the proposals.
Anthony Seldon did an interview in April in the Telegraph on the subject: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9218310/Public-school-to-create-chain-of-happy-academies.html
State boarding on the increase. Wellington Academy’s boarding opened in September 2011, for up to 100 students.
One big topic this week is why independent schools are involved (or not) with academies. The TES cover and main feature explores this question, but it’s all a bit sceptical. There are extensive quotes from Robin Dyer, no.2 at Wellington College and myself on the tie up between the two Wellingtons.
Our academy is memorably described by reporter Richard Vaughan – who hasn’t been here – as looking more like a small provincial airport than a school. I’m actually quite happy with that, although I’m not sure he meant it as a compliment. We’ve also got some very cute bus stops – and you won’t see anything like that if you’re flying from Bournemouth, as far as I remember.
It was a great pleasure to welcome Michael Phillips, Principal of Ringwood Secondary in Melbourne, and his teacher wife Karen to the academy last week. He was on a study tour of Europe before visiting Harvard in the US. Michael is one of Australia’s leading Principals. I’ve visited his school twice to look at school design, applied learning and classroom practice in general. As usual he was a great source of inspiration and ideas – leaving behind a raft of presentations and documents. His eyes lit up when he saw our Business and Enterprise hub. The challenge for us is to engage students through excellent teaching and learning, adapted to our new environment. “How about letting your students drive the innovation agenda, (linking learning and technology)”, was Michael’s final challenge, as he left for Copenhagen, following an afternoon seminar with student ambassadors.
Footnote: Good year for us both on the sporting front – Collingwood won the Aussie Rules Premier League and City the FA Cup. About time too.
I took these shots last Thursday. There’s still one or two finishing touches to be done for the big day on Tuesday, but it’s looking very good.
http://flickr.com/photos/agschofield/sets/ (then click on ‘academy April 2011’ for a slideshow)