Merchants' Academy

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Merchants Academy
Merchants academy logo.png
Established 2008
Type Academy
Principal Nick Short
Location Gatehouse Avenue
BS13 9AJ
Coordinates: 51°24′39″N 2°36′43″W / 51.4108°N 2.6120°W / 51.4108; -2.6120
DfE URN 135597 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Capacity 1410
Students 1084
Gender Mixed
Ages 3–18
Houses Castle (yellow)
Frome (green)
Lawfords (blue)
Temple (red)

Merchants' Academy is an independent academy in Withywood, Bristol, England. The school is funded by Bristol City Council and sponsored by the Society of Merchant Venturers and the University of Bristol.[1]

The sponsors provided an initial £2 million towards new school buildings and facilities, and continue to provide additional revenue support.


Merchants' Academy opened on 15 September 2008, replacing the former Withywood Community School. It is housed in a £30 million new build, which was erected on the site of the predecessor school.

The new build consists of seven separate buildings laid out around a central courtyard and the school was awarded the 2009 RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) regional award for architectural excellence.[2]

The founding Principal was Stephen Kings, and the founding Chair of Governors was Denis Burn.[3] Anne Burrell was appointed as Principal in 2010.

The Academy was officially opened by Princess Anne on 9 February 2011,[1] and an Ofsted Inspection in June 2011 concluded "Merchants' Academy is a good school where all students achieve well".

The Academy opened its Army Cadet Force, in spring 2011 in its own purpose built facilities, one of the very few in a state school in the country. The cadet force is part of the vision of the Society of Merchant Venturers to provide character-building activities to students. It was officially opened by Education Secretary Michael Gove and former Chief of the General Staff General Lord Dannatt on 28 February 2014.[4]

The Academy is sponsored by the Society of Merchant Venturers and Bristol University.[3] It has links with various partners, such as Burges Salmon and The Bank of Ireland, who help deliver work experience and enterprise programmes.

Academic achievement[edit]

The school has improved its results year on year, with an increasing percentage of students hitting the key measure of 5 A*-C GCSEs including English and Mathematics. The school achieved its best ever GCSE scores in 2013.[5] The Academy works closely with Bristol University to provide opportunities and support for students to continue to university. In 2014 it received an award for being in the top 20% for progress students had made in the five years from entry to GCSE.[6]

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
5 A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths 17% 25% 32% 40% 51%


The Academy run the Merchants' Academy Sports Centre adjacent to the school site, which is open to the general public, providing outdoor sports pitches, gym facilities and sports hall hire.[7]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "It's you that makes Merchants' Academy special! The Princess Royal tells students and staff". University of Bristol. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Wessex Winners 2009". RIBA. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "£29 Million New School Prepares to Open". The Society of Merchant Venturers. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  4. ^ Marc Rath (28 February 2014). "Education Secretary Michael Gove visits Bristol schools". Bristol Post. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Double award success for Merchants' Academy". Bristol Post. 25 May 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Merchants' Academy Sports Centre". Merchants' Academy Sports Centre. Retrieved 15 November 2015.