Team Academy is an innovative approach to education founded with the belief that when real world practical actions are paired with gaining academic knowledge, learning is more likely to stick. In pilots run in both Darwen and Brighton Aldridge Community Academies students selected to participate in Team Academy have worked in teams to create their own businesses to support social projects, linking into curriculum subjects to develop their ideas and run their business.

Building on these pilots the Foundation wants to develop the Aldridge Team Academy model. Our aim is to develop a sustainable, replicable approach that can be used both across the Aldridge family of schools and in other settings to help prepare young people for enterprising futures.

The origins of Team Academy (Tiimiakatemia), which started in 1993 in Jyvaskyla (central Finland), remind us of how unemployment, a collapse of traditional industries and skills deficiencies can impact on local communities. With this in mind students, teachers and employers involved in the pilots developed purposeful and appropriate new business for their locality. We aim to position Team Academy as a model able to break barriers of how education values the development of enterprise skills and the important role this plays in the future of young people and our economy.

The outcomes of these pilots have been encouraging and included:

  • Student Engagement: An online survey showed 100% of Teampreneurs felt Team Academy had positively impacted their self-management and building of confidence
  • Volunteering / Social action: 310 hours of volunteering achieved. Across the two pilots students raised over £4,500 for charity and secured over £3,700 investment in social activities from outside sources
  • Enrichment : 40% of Team Academy students in one of the pilots attend STEM enrichment sessions
  • Academic Attainment: In one pilot 50% of Team Academy students were on track in all their subjects – a higher percentage than average
  • Curriculum impact: 50% increase in KS3 students who selected Business Studies for GCSE 2016
  • Employer Engagement: 60% increase in the number of mentors wanting to participate in Team Academy

Students taking part in the pilots describe real benefits “In Team Academy you learn important life skills you can’t learn anywhere else. It develops life skills such as confidence and a business mind” said one year 7 student. “Team Academy helps give us an understanding of what it is like in later life and in future jobs” was another comment.

The Key Stage 5 application of the same methodology was highlighted in Brighton Aldridge Community Academy’s Ofsted report:

“The skilful, subtle suggestions and prompts for teams of students working towards the level 3 BTEC qualification in entrepreneurship sparks students’ ideas and creativity”.

We are currently seeking the funding to take the learning from these pilots and develop a replicable programme to spread further our entrepreneurial and enterprise methodology and practise – both within the curriculum and in enrichment time.

We have partnered with Anydata to develop an APP that students use to track and demonstrate their own skills development. The technology being developed is a dynamic infographic which illustrates a unique image for each individual, their current skills assessment and the goals they have cited and aim to achieve. Constant data capture gives the learner, teacher and organisation the opportunity to measure and compare attributes skills and attainment at any given time. The APP is being piloted at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy to measure the impact Aldridge Attributes have when compared to student attainment data.