DfE Award Winners

Culture of Co-operation Leads to Regional Success for Tunstall Academy

The Co-operative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent is the West Midlands winner of the Department for Education Character Award 2016. The press release by the Department for Education can be viewed here.

The Character Awards seek to identify, recognise and celebrate all those who are leading the way in character education to ensure students leave school ready for life in modern Britain. Through these Awards, the government aims to celebrate excellence and recognise the projects, teams and individuals who are nurturing and developing character traits in children and young people alongside academic rigour.

Mr Lowry, Principal of the Tunstall academy, said "A brilliant education is more than just great exam results. Character education helps students become well-rounded individuals; it is part of a deeply engrained moral purpose that runs through the academy, aimed at genuinely improving the life chances of the young people who attend the school.”

The academy, which is part of the very successful Co-operative Academies Trust, was praised for introducing students to the importance of civic virtues and developing the moral and intellectual abilities of the students.

Frank Norris, Director of the Co-operative Academies Trust, said “This is another moment of recognition for the outstanding values of The Co-operative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent. They have built an ethos around giving students more than just a great academic education, they give them a great experience. ”

The academy offers a wide variety of enrichment activities, called ‘The Edge’, designed to support the character development of students. Art therapy, current affairs, photography and building resilience through cross country running are just a few of the things you’ll find happening on a Wednesday afternoon in addition to the usual subjects on offer. 

There is also a Student Council where students make important decisions about how their academy is run and Co-operative Young Leaders who work with primary schools across the city to support transition into secondary education.

Mr Rogers, Head of Performance Faculty, has been running ‘The Edge’ enrichment programme since it began. “The students love these activities and I have to be honest; the staff do as well. It gives us a chance to get to know the students even better. The relationships being built are so much stronger.”

In 2015, Ofsted praised the academy for its culture of tolerance, respect and inclusion and staff have been recognised nationally for the contribution they make to the lives of young people.

Mr Lowry is keen to spread this educational approach across the city.

“We need an approach to education in this city that doesn’t rely on other people. We know our communities more than anyone, we know what makes them tick and it is up to us as educational leaders to establish a secure and successful system that encourages the development of academic and character achievement.”

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