What is an academy?

Academies are government-funded independent schools. They provide free education to young people of all abilities from the local community.

Academies that are part of a trust can draw on the skills of sponsors, such as the University of Brighton, to help shape the way they are run and how young people learn.

Academies have flexibility to decide on the best curriculum to meet the needs of their pupils. English, maths and science must still be taught; however, academies can enrich the curriculum in more creative ways.

In the same way as other state schools, academies are inspected by Ofsted, publish their examination and test results, and follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and exclusions.

All the teachers in our academies are qualified or working towards qualified teacher status.

Whilst academies are independent of the local authority, there are key areas where they continue to work closely, including admissions, school transport and SEND. Academies also can and do choose to continue to work with local schools and local partners.

Academies do not receive any additional funding. They do however receive the funding that the local authority holds back to provide services to the school and have greater flexibility to determine how that funding should be used. Academies are responsible for buying their own services.

Innovation in practice

Impressed by the innovative approach used to engage pupils in their learning, The St Leonards Academy was awarded TEEP ambassador status by the Schools, Students and Teachers Network in 2017. The academy joins a prestigious network of schools using the Teacher Effectiveness Programme – a model of effective teaching and learning drawn from research and best practice - to enrich the learning of pupils.

Excellence in practice

Four of the Trust’s academies will start using Learning Loop - a teaching and learning framework to support the planning and delivery of lessons - in September 2017. It comprises six cycles, including preparing for learning, new learning, practising together and applying learning to new problems and evaluating. Practice will be shared via video clips to support all teachers to improve their practice.

The Baird Primary Academy follows a mastery approach to mathematics, based on the underpinning principles of the Shanghai approach. Pupils explore the ‘wow factor’ of maths, by using creative problem solving and reasoning tasks to gain a deep understanding of real-life and abstract concepts.

Sponsored and converter academies

There are two types of academy.  Sponsored academies are low-performing schools that become academies to benefit from the expertise and support of the multi-academy trust that they join. Converter academies are successful schools that choose to join a multi-academy trust, sharing their insights and practice to help other schools achieve excellence.

We believe the best results can be achieved by working with schools at all stages of their improvement journey. We have a strong track record of supporting under-performing schools: this includes schools serving the most challenging and disadvantaged communities in the region.