Bridge Academy came into being on 1 October 2013, having previously been four separate Pupil Referral Units, known locally as Personalised Educated Centres [PECs]. We now operate as one Academy across three geographically dispersed sites, not three separate entities, within one Academy. Strong links are maintained with referring mainstream schools. Data on attendance is fed back weekly to mainstream partners and academic progress data shared on a half termly basis. This is important particularly as reintegration is a primary focus of the work undertaken, particularly at Key Stage 3. Support in Bridge Academy is provided for up to 195 young people of secondary school age.
Bridge Academy is part of the Stephenson Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust, and has close working links with Stephenson Academy, a Social Emotional and Mental Health Special Academy. I am Executive Principal across both Academies and each Bridge Academy centre is led by an Deputy Principal who takes the day to day operational lead. Each Bridge Academy centre is supported by a Stephenson Academy Deputy Principal, based at the Stantonbury site. The Deputy Principals provide support and challenge in their area of specialism which are teaching and learning, inclusion, SEN/Therapeutic and Safeguarding. Our Business Manager also provides support across all sites. You can see the structure and linkages between both organisations in the diagram below.
Students are referred to Bridge Academy via a monthly Alternative Education Panel, or in some cases on an emergency placement between Panel meetings. Each of the secondary schools in Milton Keynes, plus Milton Keynes Local Authority and Milton Keynes College are represented, at a senior level, on the Alternative Education Panel which I chair. This facilitates better partnership working to the benefit of students.
Improving school attendance is a key priority and it is a main aim of Bridge Academy to improve upon mainstream attendance at the point of referral. Our aim is to improve on predicted mainstream outcomes notably at the end of Key Stage Four. This allows Bridge Academy to demonstrate both individual and whole school improvement.
Please visit the Bridge Academy website: www.bridgeacademy.org.uk if you would like further information or clarification.
Dr Neil Barrett