The Skinners’ Company and School
The Skinners’ Company, one the original ‘Great Twelve’ London livery companies, has long experience of establishing, running and supporting good schools, notably in West Kent. The Company is responsible for four schools. One - Tonbridge School- is independent, and the others are maintained. These include The Judd School, in Tonbridge; The Skinners’ School in Tunbridge Wells; and the Skinners’ Company’s School for Girls in North London. Now the Company is deeply involved in the government’s Academies programme. Already Tonbridge School is an important partner in co-sponsoring the Marsh Academy in New Romney. The Skinners’ Academy in Woodberry Down, Hackney is due to open in exciting new buildings in September 2010 as the focal part of a massive urban regeneration programme.
Now, in Tunbridge Wells, The Skinners’ School will be the lead sponsor in founding the Skinners’ Kent Academy. This is a unique partnership between a very successful local grammar school and an Academy in the same town. Recently identified as an outstanding school by Ofsted, Skinners’ is a strongly values-led school, where emphasis upon academic success is placed beside the ideals of service and community involvement. Over the past two years, mentoring schemes have been developed between Tunbridge Wells High School and The Skinners’ School, from which has developed the partnership that will help drive the new Academy.
K College, a co-sponsor of the proposed Tunbridge Wells Academy, is one of the most successful colleges of further and higher education in the south east region. K College delivers programmes leading to vocational, professional and academic qualifications at all levels. It serves 2700 full and part-time students aged from 14-19 and approximately 5000 adults. 650 HE learners study Foundation and Honours degree courses at the College. The College offers a growing apprenticeship scheme. This gives K College the capacity to offer extraordinary levels of support to the Academy in its programme of vocational education and progression routes.
K College’s current vision statement is to “inspire our students to realise their full potential and equip themselves with the skills and knowledge they need for a successful working life”. The expertise that the College offers is to build pathways that allow students to follow traditional and non traditional routes into successful employment and further and higher education. The sponsorship of the new Academy will allow student access to first class vocational resources and specialist teachers. The College is recognised for its proactive approach to partnership working. Partners include Employers, Universities, Training Providers, Kent FE Colleges and Schools. There are close working relationships with Local Authorities, Children Trusts, Sector Skills Councils and other agencies that will enhance the opportunities for children and their families. The College believes that through sponsorship opportunities for the students of the Academy will be maximised.
Kent County Council
Kent is the largest county council in England, with a population of nearly 1.4 million. It has been rated ‘Excellent’ by the Audit Commission for the quality of its public services, in 2008 being awarded the top grade in its Comprehensive Performance Assessment for the sixth year running.
Kent is at the forefront of Local Authorities developing academies in order to increase the range and choice of schools across the county that meet local needs. Kent was the first Local Authority to act as a co-sponsor of many of its academies. It initially engaged with the Academies programme in 2002 in order to transform teaching and learning fundamentally in the secondary schools that were experiencing sustained underachievement. Since then, Kent has led the way with its trailblazing Academies programme. The emerging network of academies, nine of which are now open or being developed across the county, is supporting local communities with a massive capital investment that has thus far generated in excess of £250m to modernise school buildings and facilities for 21st century learning needs.
Kent Academies represent a true partnership with pupils, the wider community, other public and charitable agencies and the business sector. To this end the Authority has developed partnerships with business, higher education and the charitable sectors, churches and prestigious independent schools to establish a number of state of the art, fit for purpose, all-ability, all-faith, secondary academies.