• 3 – 19 co-educational school
  • Sixth form opened in September 2014, the first post 16 education on the Island
  • 3 Campuses – Osprey Quay, Southwell and Royal Manor
  • Sports science and Environmental Science specialisms
  • Brand new campus at Maritime House opening in 2016

The Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy opened in September 2012, the culmination of four years’ work by Portland’s Heads and School Governing Bodies who, with the sponsors, wanted to transform education for Portland’s young people.

Following the appointment of Alison Appleyard as Principal the Academy opened in the sites of its four founding schools in 2012 and opened the first of its new campuses, at Osprey Quay, in September 2013. In October 2014 Stuart McLeod, Darren Marklew and Rob Russell took over as Joint Interim Principals in succession to Mrs Appleyard.

The Academy co-sponsors are Dorset County Council and its is patron Professor Stephen Heppell. It is a locally run, non-selective, co-educational state school, for students aged 3 – 19. In addition to offering a full, wide curriculum, the Academy specialises in sports and environmental science.

The Academy is based on “stage not age” principles, ensuring that learners progress at the best possible pace for them, and that they benefit from a personalised learning plan. The focus is on the stage that each student has reached, not their age. Students move on and through the Academy when they are ready, rather than moving automatically by age. This supports academic success and ensures that no one gets left behind. It also allows for more gradual approaches for those finding particular subjects difficult.

This approach also means that students do not have to go through the traditionally disruptive and sometimes distressing transition of changing schools, teachers and learning styles as they move from primary to secondary.

In August 2013 students and staff celebrated the island’s best ever GCSE results. In 2014 Academy students again achieved some impressive results in GCSE Science, with 5A*- C in Physics 93%, Biology 86%, Chemistry 76%, in English 74%. The Academy’s overall result was 45% of students attaining 5A*-C GCSE including English and maths.

Digital technology is embedded in all aspects of learning at the academy with the aim that students develop as creative, innovative and adept digital tool users. As part of this the Academy was the first in the country to offer a Chromebook for every student in years 7 – 11 at no cost to parents.

The academy has received planning permission to develop a brand new all-through campus at Southwell Park, which is planned to open in September 2016. In July 2014 the Academy received a GOOD rating from Ofsted in its first inspection since conversion. Inspectors highlighted the “excellent progress” made by students in Early Years at the academy and the significant improvement in GCSE results over the predecessor school.

Meet the IPACA Principals