Buildings and curriculum work together at the academy to provide an atmosphere that visitors say is like a university. Nearly 1,500 pupils are split into four mini-schools where they study the core subjects of maths, English, humanities, modern foreign languages and information technology. Each college also takes responsibility for two or three subjects that it franchises out to others. The distance between the colleges is never more than a two-minute walk.
Inspectors said recently that this structure worked well and noted the pride and optimism shared by pupils, parents and staff.
Judges' verdict: "The scope and design of the academy are impressive. This is an outstanding, functional environment. The college is a very coherent building that maximises the use of space and creates an excellent learning environment and sense of community."
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