Unity City Academy

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Unity City Academy
UCA.png
Motto A learning community (old) "To make our best better" new since September 2012
Established 2003
Type Academy
Principal Mr Neil Powell [1]
Location Ormesby Road
Middlesbrough
North Yorkshire
TS3 8RE
England
Coordinates: 54°33′23″N 1°11′52″W / 54.55632°N 1.19769°W / 54.55632; -1.19769
Local authority Middlesbrough
DfE URN 133768 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–16
Houses Adventure, Discovery, Endeavour, Resolution. In theme of Captain Cook Ships
Colours green, red, orange, yellow
Registered company number (England and Wales) 4357009
Registered charity number (England and Wales) 1091063
Website Unity City Academy

Unity City Academy is a city academy in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England which is sponsored by the Academies Enterprise Trust

History[edit]

Unity City Academy opened in 2003, sponsored by support services company Amey plc. The funding for the Academy consisted of £8m from the Department for Education and £2m from the sponsor, Amey.[2] The Academy was built for 1,200 pupils but in 2015 it has still, yet, to recruit to capacity.[3] After opening the Academy went through a period of difficulties, including being placed in Special Measures in 2005.[4] In September 2006 the academy was relaunched as a Vocational and Enterprise Centre, following the building of a new enterprise centre funded by the Department for Education and Skills.[5] The school was declared inadequate by OFSTED and placed in Special Measures for a second time in 2009.[6] In order to raise standards the Department for Education intervened and a Chief Executive, a Director of Education and an Executive Principal were appointed.[7] The Academy then improved and in March 2013 the Academy was graded as 'Good' by OFSTED.[8]

The Academy has changed sponsor twice and it went through a highly unusual 14 month period between sponsors, when it had no sponsor at all.[9]

Between 2008 and 2015 Patricia Towey was the Principal.[10] She has been described as the Academy's most successful Principal.[11] In 2014, at the personal invitation of Ian Comfort, the CEO of Academies Enterprise Trust, Mrs Towey left Unity City Academy to take on the leadership of 17 other schools within the Academies Enterprise Trust network.[12] The next Principal was Neil Powell who had previously been Principal at East Point Academy before it left the Academies Enterprise Trust network to join the Inspiration Trust.[13] Mr Powell stated during the takeover of East Point that he wished to "remain with the AET" [14]

Academic standards[edit]

This table shows the proportion of pupils achieving 5 GCSEs A-C (including English and Maths). Data is taken from the Department for Education School and College Performance Tables.[15]

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
National maintained school results 59% 59% 60% 57% 56%
Unity City Academy results 25% 48% 34% 34% 26%

The minimum standard acceptable for an English school (known as the 'floor target') is 40% 5A-C (including English and Maths).[16] Unity City Academy has missed that target for the three years between 2013 and 2015.

The first set of exam results as an AET Academy in 2013 saw results falling to 34% of pupils gaining 5 GCSEs A-C (including English and Maths). This placed the school 2115th out of the 3123 secondary schools in England.[17] The falling exam results in 2013 led to an Ofsted inspection. Ofsted reported that

The academy’s current assessment information indicates that Year 11 students are now on course to increase the proportion attaining five A* to C GCSE grades, including English and mathematics in 2014.[18]

However, contrary to expectations the proportion of pupils gaining 5GCSEs A-C (including English and Maths) did not increase in 2014. Commenting on the 2014 exam results Mr Powell, the Principal, said:

the results last year were not what I would have expected. I feel a moral draw to work in schools in which I can help to raise aspirations and achievement of the pupils in them.[19]

Mr Powell previously lead East Point Academy which also had declining exam results which had fallen below the minimum standard of the floor target.[20] The 2015 exam results at Unity City Academy fell to their lowest level in four years.[21]

In addition to concerns about exam results, concerns were raised in 2014 about how narrow the curriculum was at Unity City Academy and how such a narrow curriculum can damage children’s employment prospects. It was found, for example, that only two local schools, one of which was Unity City Academy, had just 1% of pupils achieving the curriculum breadth known as the English Baccalaureate.[22]

The Principal, Neil Powell is very optimistic about the future of Unity City Academy and stated:

Within the next three years, Unity City Academy will be rated as an Outstanding Academy with students achieving excellent GCSE results.[23]

Extra curricular life[edit]

In 2013, the Archbishop of York visited the Academy and talked about the Academies theme "Dare to Dream". He said to the pupils they should dream up what would like in the future and grasp it with both hands. The Academy has four house teams called Adventure, Discovery, Endeavor, Resolution which support different charities. A significant event to raise money for these charities is a 24-hour challenge which will commence on 28 June 2013.

The Academy has a wide range of activities in place which include learning about Road Safety.[24] The Academy achieved the rare distinction of gaining a 5* rating from the British Safety Council for its procedures to keep children safe.[25] In its sporting life, the Academy benefits from having Sunderland Ladies captain, Stephanie Bannon, as a PE teacher in 2014.[26] In March 2015 there was a particularly notable Oscar’s night with strong performing arts evident.[27]

Role of the sponsor[edit]

Academies Enterprise Trust support for Academies at the local level is led by the AET Regional Director of Education (known as a RDE). The 2014 OFSTED report about AET explained that ‘some academy leaders said that there was too much variability in the support and challenge offered by Regional Directors employed by AET.'.[28]

Unusually, Unity City Academy receives extra help and support from the Academies Enterprise Trust. The CEO, Ian Comfort and the Vice Chair of Academies Enterprise Trust Trustees, Mr Adam Gaunt, are both trustees of Unity City Academy itself.[29]

Writing in 2014 Ofsted stated with respect to the Academies Enterprise Trust that:

The sponsor works closely with the Principal to ensure that support is proportionate to need and this is well judged.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Unity City Academy website. "Unity City Academy". unityacademy.org.uk. 
  2. ^ Cassidy, Sarah (13 January 2014). "City Academies 'will harm local schools'". Independent. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Unity City Academy in Middlesbrough ‘inadequate’ says Ofsted". Gazette Live. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  4. ^ Brown, Mike (17 September 2014). "Unity City Academy appoints new leadership team". Gazette Live. Retrieved 27 November 2015. . See also "City academy failing says Ofsted". BBC News. 27 May 2005. Retrieved 21 March 2007.  and Matthew Taylor (19 May 2005). "Private academy produces worse results than schools it replaced". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2007. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Garner, Richard (1 April 2009). "City academy fails Ofsted inspection for a second time". Independent. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Select Committee on Public Accounts 52nd Report, 2007". www.paraliament.uk. Paraliament. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Unity City Academy gets best Ofsted report in a decade". Evening Gazette (Teesside). Retrieved 21 March 2007. . See also "Ofsted Unity City Academy". Ofsted. Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  9. ^ "Names of all academies changing sponsors or chains for whatever reason". What do they Know. 27 July 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Brown, Mike (14 July 2014). "Unity City Academy's longest serving and 'most successful' principal to leave at Christmas". GazetteLive. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  11. ^ Sampson, Lindsey (13 May 2013). "Unity City Academy gets best Ofsted report in a decade". GazetteLive. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  12. ^ Brown, Mike (17 September 2014). "Unity City Academy appoints new leadership team". GazetteLive. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  13. ^ Lindsey Sampson (22 January 2015). "New principal for Ormesby Road's Unity City Academy drawn by 'character of pupils'". gazettelive. 
  14. ^ "Parent Newsletter 19th September 2014.pdf". google.com. 
  15. ^ "Unity City Academy". School and College Performance Tables. Department for Education. Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  16. ^ Adams, Richard (29 January 2015). "Number of English schools failing on GCSE targets doubles in a year". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  17. ^ "Unity City Academy". GazetteLive. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  18. ^ "Section 8 Monitoring Report" (PDF). Ofsted. Ofsted. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  19. ^ Sampson, Lindsey (22 January 2015). "New principal for Ormesby Road's Unity City Academy drawn by 'character of pupils". GazetteLive. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  20. ^ "East Point Academy Results". School and College Performance Tables. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  21. ^ "Unity City Academy". School and College Performance Tables. Department for Education. Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  22. ^ Sampson, Lindsey (11 February 2015). "Middlesbrough a 'subject desert': Pupils unlikely to take exams that could be vital to job prospects". GazetteLive. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  23. ^ "Principal's Welcome". Unity City Academy Website. Unity City Academy. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  24. ^ Brown, Mike (20 November 2014). "Interactive workshops teaching youngsters road safety at Unity City Academy url=http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/interactive-workshops-teaching-youngsters-road-8139722". GazetteLive. 
  25. ^ Blackburne, Elaine (7 August 2014). "News Unity City Academy Middlesbrough-based Unity City Academy recognised for high standards in ensuring student safety". GazetteLive. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  26. ^ Carter, Ryan (25 April 2015). "Sunderland ladies captain on why being a PE teacher is better than football". GazetteLive. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  27. ^ Sampson, LIndsey (5 March 2015). "Middlesbrough students stage an Oscar-worth performance". GazetteLive. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  28. ^ "Inspections of academies within the Academies Enterprise Trust, a MultiAcademy Trust" (PDF). Gov.Uk. Department for Education. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  29. ^ "Unity City Academy: Trustees". Unity City Academy. Unity City Academy. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  30. ^ "Section 8 Monitoring Report" (PDF). Ofsted. Ofsted. Retrieved 27 November 2015.