Plymouth awarded UK's first marine academy

Tamarside Community College will reopen its doors in September 2010 as Marine Academy Plymouth after the University of Plymouth, with its long history of marine expertise, successfully led the bid for the local school to achieve academy status. As well as being a centre of excellence in technology and science, the academy will apply the marine theme as an underpinning principle to generate distinctive content across the whole curriculum - including maths, PE, geography, the creative arts, English, IT and history.

The university with the support of specialist co-sponsors, Cornwall College and Plymouth City Council, is determined to develop the new academy as a world class education facility which will significantly raise aspirations and educational achievement and create new opportunities for the whole community.

The combined expertise of the academy's sponsors spans pre-school, primary, secondary, further and higher education - as well as skills training, lifelong learning and community engagement. Their plans for the new Academy include:

  • building state-of-the-art new facilities to open by 2013
  • developing a GCSE in marine studies and a marine engineering diploma
  • halving its number of young people not in education employment or training (NEETS) by 2012
  • using a variety of formal and informal learning spaces from traditional classrooms to the National Marine Aquarium and beaches
  • developing new learning opportunities for the wider community and involving parents fully in the daily life and planned development of the Academy
  • working with local employers to offer students local work placements, shadowing, mentoring and internships in the marine and maritime sectors
  • offering the Academy's teaching staff continuing professional development at no charge and honorary positions at the University of Plymouth
At the core of the sponsors' ambitions is a recognition that significant improvement must be made in the literacy and numeracy levels of the pupils. They have pledged to create a comprehensive approach which will focus resources from within the academy, sponsors and wider community on this improvement with immediate effect.

University of Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Wendy Purcell said: "As lead sponsor, the University of Plymouth brings world-leading marine expertise and resources to the academy.

"It will be the education and training champion for Plymouth marine and maritime industries - a key priority sector in the city's roadmap for new economy development."

David Linnell OBE, Principal of Cornwall College said: "Cornwall College has a well established reputation for excellence in a wide range of vocational and academic subjects.

"Its links with the Eden Project, National Maritime Museum, Business Partnerships and Enterprise Education initiatives allow it to make a significant contribution to Marine Academy Plymouth in terms of aspiration raising, skills provision and enhanced learning opportunities."

Tamarside Principal, Keith Ballance commented: "The commitment to a marine ethos and environment in the academy enables us to fulfil 'higher end' educational goals - Marine Science is so new that much of the knowledge remains to be discovered and it is therefore an ideal focus for specialism.

"We can truly pioneer approaches that involve pupils and teachers in genuine discovery learning for both groups to produce students that are self aware, independently minded and confident."

Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Grant Monahan concludes: "This is great news. It signals a very exciting new chapter in education in Plymouth and opens up a world of new opportunities to inspire and enrich the lives of young people at Tamarside.

"Our marine economy has always been crucial to the city and these partners are offering the next generation to be part of something innovative and boundary breaking. They are bringing with them energy, enthusiasm and motivation - which will encourage pupils to new heights."


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