Birmingham-based Archway Academy successfully provides a variety of learning programmes for young people who may have experienced difficulties in mainstream education, with the overall objective of helping them to become economically inclusive.
Founded in 2004 by principal and managing director Jim Ryan, it was registered as an independent school in October 2007 following a stringent Ofsted inspection. Education and skills are provided for 16 to 19 year-old students, mainly from Birmingham and Solihull, but also from Sandwell, Worcester, Kidderminster and Bromsgrove.
The academy delivers a specialist approach for those who may otherwise have had to go to residential education institutions and its one-to-one provision allows you people to remain within their own communities and receive holistic support from academy.
This involves working with their families and various agencies to deliver and educational package that will enable young people to take a responsible place in society.
One-to-one education provision to provide local authorities with an alternative to residential care as, in many cases, it is so much better for the young person. Prior to this local authorise did not have an alternative.
The results have been most pleasing, because 96 percent of out one-to-one students move on to further education,” says Mr Ryan, who is adamant that all young people can succeed.
The Archway Academy’s one-to-one provision, recognised by professional bodies nationally as unique in the UK, helps to see young people through these troubled times. It has turned them on to earning from a position where they might otherwise have been banished from education and has provided the inspiration for them to enjoy the benefit of FE colleges.
Another important element of Archway Academy’s strategy is pre-16 provision, where children still attending mainstream schools can go to the academy one, two or three days a week, or as often as deemed necessary, giving them a break from the school environment they may be struggling with.
They can learn a variety of valuable skills at Archway Academy, including bricklaying, painting and decorating, carpentry and, from September 2009, Art and design.
Last year 70 children from schools around the region attended the academy for pre-16 education, which enables them to experience vocational areas they may want to enter a little later in life and gain valuable qualification.
Traineeships & Study is a new programme at Archway Academy applies to both 16-19 learners who want to work, but who need extra help to gain an apprenticeship or job. Traineeships will give these young people the oppotunity to develop the skills and workplace experience that employers require.
“That such a high percentage decide from choice to be with is a strong indication that the Archway Academy has a very good reputation,” says Mr Ryan. “Each year, about 80 percent of our Traineeship & Study students went on to work or college, one of the highest proportions in the region.
There is so much more for young people to enjoy at Archway Academy, such as five-a-side football for which tropics can be won. Boxing, in conjunction with Small Heath ABC, is another activity, and recently a local hero, world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Frankie Gavin, presented wards to those who have completed qualifications.
Dancing, theatre, concert and light opera visits are among the artistic delights enjoyed and students are all encouraged to learn a piece of Shakespeare. Badminton, skating and bowling are also on the agenda.
Archway Academy also runs a programme on dyslexia assessment and support, carried out in a warm and comfortable suite on site through Abide Zenenga, who has a master’s degree in special educational needs. Anyone who feels that they need support with reading and writing is welcome to attend.