Welcome from the Executive Principal
I would like to welcome you to our website and hope that you find its contents useful. Please contact me should there be anything below which is unclear or around which you would like further clarification.
Bridge Academy came into being on 1 October 2013, having previously been four separate Pupil Referral Units, known locally as Personalised Educated Centres [PECs]. We now operate as one Academy across three geographically dispersed sites not three separate entities within one Academy. Strong links are maintained with referring mainstream schools. Data on attendance is fed back weekly to mainstream partners and academic progress data shared on a half termly basis. This is important particularly as reintegration is a primary focus of the work undertaken, particularly at Key Stage 3. Support in Bridge Academy is provided for up to 195 young people of secondary school age.
Bridge Academy is part of the Stephenson Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust, and has close working links with Stephenson Academy, a Social Emotional and Mental Health Special Academy. I am Executive Principal across both Academies and each Bridge Academy centre is led by an Assistant Principal who takes the day to day operational lead. Each Bridge Academy centre is supported by a Deputy Principal, based at the Stantonbury site. The Deputy Principals provide support and challenge in their area of specialism which are teaching and learning, inclusion, SEN/Therapeutic and Safeguarding. Our Business Manager also provides support across all sites. You can see the structure and linkages between both organisations in the diagram below.
Students are referred to Bridge Academy via a monthly Alternative Education Panel, or in some cases on an emergency placement between Panel meetings. Each of the secondary schools in Milton Keynes, plus Milton Keynes Local Authority and Milton Keynes College are represented, at a senior level, on the Alternative Education Panel which I chair. This facilitates better partnership working to the benefit of students. All schools have to complete a detailed Information Passport before a student comes into alternative education. The Information Passport highlights current educational attainment for students, attendance plus a range of other data. Improving school attendance is a key priority and it is a main aim of Bridge Academy to improve upon mainstream attendance at the point of referral. Parents and young people will be involved in the production of the Information Passport. Our aim is to improve on predicted mainstream outcomes notably at the end of Key Stage 4. This allows Bridge Academy to demonstrate both individual and whole school improvement.
All students are on the SEN Register at School Action Plus, a small minority have a Statement of Special Educational Needs. Most students have a significantly disrupted educational background.
Looking at the three individual sites, Bridge Academy South, based in the south of Bletchley provides education and support for up to 50 students at Key Stage 3. These students are at high risk of permanent exclusion or may even have been permanently excluded from mainstream. The primary focus of Bridge Academy South is to reintegrate students back into mainstream within agreed timeframes. The curriculum is very much focused on a mainstream curriculum with additional time for working on social skills.
Bridge Academy Central is based in Coffee Hall and supports up to 105 students at Key Stage 4. Students at Key Stage Four are also at high risk of permanent exclusion or have been permanently excluded from mainstream schooling. The aim at Key Stage 4 is for students to exceed their mainstream predicted grades so as to ensure that few, if any, become NEET. The curriculum at Key Stage 4 is broad and balanced with six subjects in the core. Core subjects, studied at Level 1 and 2 are English, mathematics, science, ICT, humanities and catering. We have adopted a pathways approach so there are multiple choices around the level of qualification that can be studied and also the way in which the course is delivered. For example, in mathematics and English there are both GCSE and Functional Skills pathways that can be studied at Level 1 or 2. Optional subjects, studied at both Level 1 and 2, include motor vehicle, construction, hair and beauty, art, health and social care, sport, music and animal care. We will be adding public services, child development and philosophy and ethics in September 2015. All have accredited outcomes at either Level 1 or Level 2, be that GCSE, BTEC or a specialist vocational qualification as in the case of motor vehicle and hair and beauty.Teaching is in small groups, never more than 10 students with two adults and more usually a ratio of six students with two adults.
A range of interventions, notably literacy, are offered where necessary and all Bridge Academy students have access to a therapeutic team which includes two psychological therapists, an Educational Psychologist, School Counsellor and a Family Support Worker.
Bridge Academy West is based in West Bletchley and caters for up to 40 students at Key Stage 3 and 4. It provides education for students with emotional and medical needs. Core and optional subjects at Key Stage 4 are as at Bridge Central and North. Strong links are maintained with referring mainstream schools and at Key Stage 3 reintegration is again the main focus.
Dr Neil Barrett
Executive Principal Stephenson and Bridge Academies