St Aldhelm’s Academy was opened in 2010 as one of the first sponsored academies under the Coalition Government, supported by the Diocese of Salisbury and Bournemouth University. The academy currently provides education to mainstream secondary pupils aged between 11-16 years from the local area of Wallisdown and Parkstone.
The Academy was extensively remodelled in 2013 to include a new large main building, landscaping and refurbishment of two other teaching blocks. This gave the Academy excellent facilities to deliver a broad range of subjects including a number of vocational areas. Further building works to remodel the main block are currently being undertaken (due for completion in September 2015) to provide outstanding learning spaces for the core subjects of English, maths and science. Students at the Academy are also fortunate to benefit from the access to the world class sporting facilities of the Rossmore Campus site.
Having being involved with the initial setting up and challenges that this can bring, the sponsors requested that the sponsorship be transferred to another organisation with significant resource and expertise to ensure the continued progress of the Academy. Following a transition process, Ambitions Academies Trust took over the Academy from 1 June 2015.
Under Trust leadership SAA is moving forward at pace. The curriculum has been reviewed and realigned providing a student centred model to ensure all students are able to maximise their individual progress and achieve their full potential. The new curriculum, which is incorporated within a slightly increased student week, provides a broad offer of subjects for Year 7 & 8 students with opportunities to pursue subjects of choice from year 9 onwards.
The curriculum is a balanced blend of core and foundation subjects in line with latest DfE guidance which places greater emphasis on the EBacc subjects (English, mathematics, science, humanities and a language). In addition students at SAA have the excellent facilities to supporting progress in vocational courses such as Hair and Beauty, Engineering, Motor Vehicle and Sports Science further enhancing onward progression.
Additional student skill development and engagement opportunities are facilitated through a collegiate style Enrichment Programme. This key component of the curriculum runs across the Academy every Wednesday afternoon and offers a wealth of personal learning opportunities and engagement opportunities with the wider community.
SAA has recruited a significant number of outstanding teachers for September 2015 to supplement the existing dedicated staff ensuring the Academy provides a safe, stimulating learning environment for all its students. Priority is given to the promotion of excellence and enjoyment of learning ensuring that all students strive to ‘Be the best they can be’ and in doing so maximise their individual life chances in this competitive 21st century world.
St Aldhelm’s Academy is led by Ms Sian Thomas, Principal.