A NEW free school in Solihull aims to give struggling or excluded students a second chance and ‘regain lost time’.
Solihull Academy is opening on April 16 starting with 30 year nine (13-14 Year old Students) for the first stage of intake.
The first batch of students will be drawn from across 15 existing Solihull secondary schools to offer them tailored support.
It will open fully in September with up to 110 students in Years nine to 11.
School representatives said the school will provide an additional and alternative solution for a number of students for whom mainstream education is not working.
The school’s principal Stephen Steinhaus said: “Our school is not being built as a short-stay provision to intervene and then send students back to mainstream schools.
“That type of intervention and respite may be a small part of our provision but, in the main, we will be a destination school, not a stopping-off point.
“The vast majority of our students will be registered with us and their home school and, regardless of their point and date of and academic level at entry to Solihull Academy, our job is to help our pupils gain ground, regain what may have been lost in their previous experiences of education, and take them as far as we can academically, socially, emotionally and morally until they finish with us in the summer of their Year 11.
“The strapline is simple…we must be the difference for our students who have a need for something different.”
The school reported they had passed a pre-opening Ofsted inspection with ‘flying colours’.
They are also fully staffed for April and September and have a waiting list for places.
According to latest figures from the government’s Department of Education, Solihull has one of the poorest records in the UK when it comes to permanent exclusion and persistent absence.
It ranks seventh worst out of 153 local authorities for overall permanent exclusion rates for state-funded primary, state-funded secondary and special schools.
It is also has the twelfth worst rate for permanent exclusion in state-funded secondary schools.
The school says class sizes will be small (maximum of 10-12), the curriculum will be innovative and bespoke and the building will have been extensively refurbished with a number of added benefits (courtyard garden, MUGA, mini gym, etc.).
But the core of what the school will offer students and parents/carers will be ‘innovative teaching, inclusive practice, therapeutic environment, positive relationships and unrelenting passion offered by intensely committed staff’.
Steinhaus is hoping the school can be a success and is aware his team is facing a challenge but believes there is a demand for the service his school offers in the borough.
For more information contact Claire Keys personal assistant to the principal at Solihull Academy.
Email: [email protected] The Quadrangle, Cranmore Avenue, Shirley, Solihull. B90 4LE www.solihullacademy.org