Tes Awards 2020: Secondary school of the year

‘This is truly a place to empower dreams’: Heartlands E-Act Academy in Birmingham snatches the title this year
13th November 2020, 8:56pm

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Tes Awards 2020: Secondary school of the year

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/tes-awards-2020-secondary-school-year
Secondary School

With a Progress 8 score of 1.46 in the 2018-19 academic year, Heartlands E-Act Academy has been ranked the number one sponsored academy in the country for progress and is sixth overall in the national league tables.

Clearly, this is a school that is at the top of its game, but it's the story behind the statistics that reveals just how extraordinary an achievement this is for the academy.

More than two-thirds of children in the school's catchment, the Nechells area of Birmingham, grow up in poverty and 69 per cent of pupils are classed as disadvantaged.

In response to this, new headteacher Fuzel Choudhury has made clear that disadvantage will not be tolerated as an excuse for a child's underperformance. 

The school's award entry explains: "We prioritised working closely with our parents and carers, who often didn't believe that their child could achieve, coming from the community they did."

The school also invests time and effort in creating positive student-teacher relationships and embracing the community.

And it offers cycling training for every Year 7 pupil, so they can be safe when they cycle to school. Meanwhile, its Year 10 students collect, package and distribute food for those in need.

Christine Gilbert, the lead judge for the category, said: "Heartlands Academy is truly 'a place to empower dreams'. It emerged as the winner, for me, not only because of its outstanding performance but also because of the attention given to developing its students as active change-makers with impact in their local communities.

"This is a school that succeeds against the odds and is doing a fantastic job for its students and community. All involved in the Heartlands Academy - staff, students, governors and parents - rightly have huge pride in this remarkable school."

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