Copley Academy Making Great Strides

Nestled at the foot of the pennies in Stalybridge is Copley Academy. A small and friendly secondary school with a first-class provision for its students and where support for the...
Written by Andrew Thewell, 16th September 2022

Nestled at the foot of the pennies in Stalybridge is Copley Academy. A small and friendly secondary school with a first-class provision for its students and where support for the wider community is at its core.

Ofsted reported in February 2022 how leaders have “made great strides” in improving the academy, under principal Ruth Craven’s leadership. Inspectors noted, “A welcome period of stability is ensuring that students, parents, and staff have greater confidence that the improvements at Copley Academy are sustainable and here to stay”. 

Copley is proud of its good Ofsted rating for personal development, and at the heart of this success is the school’s focus on its Personal, Social, Health, and Economic Education, known as its GREAT Lives curriculum. This aims to not only embrace the GREAT Values of – genuine, respect, excellence, ambitious achievement, and teamwork which are aligned with Great Academies Education Trust, which supports the academy but also to develop the whole student so that young people become ambitious and aspirational for their post-16 plans and future careers. 

The school is keen to provide a high-quality education alongside effective pastoral and wrap-around care so that children feel safe and nurtured whilst learning in an environment where they are comfortable asking questions or seeking support when they need it. 

In this summer’s GCSE results students made excellent progress. The academy’s highest attainers – Amelia Kerr, Filip Weglarek, Abigail Whalley, and Nathan Sopko – achieved 18 Grade 9s and 8s between them. The school also said the following students have made ‘outstanding progress’ since starting at Copley Academy: Mafusire Makanaka, Martin Jones, Germain Ngwasho, Sandra Kitlasz, Siya Lin, Joshua Lanham, Freya Kelly, Leonie Bird, Balint Kovacs, Leah Abbott, Coby McDermot, Bradley Read, AZmelia Kerr, Jessica Nadin.

Ofsted Inspectors praised the “broad and ambitious” range of subjects on offer in the academy’s curriculum and recognises that leaders and staff have “high aspirations for all students. They feel ‘happy and proud to attend Copley Academy’ and feel that ‘staff support helps them to feel safe in school”.

Parents are also keen to share their positive experiences, ‘It’s a good school, and there are plans to make it a great school. The support both academically and pastorally has been second to none’.

The GREAT Lives Curriculum is supported by a range of deeper learning events, often led by external organisations, which provide students with opportunities to develop skills beyond the classroom, such as the Prince’s Trust and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.  

Copley now has an extensive extra-curricular programme and trips and visits including various opportunities in sports and the arts. In the next academic year, visits are planned to Germany and Iceland, to continue to enrich students’ learning and development as well as more local and regional activities that include visits to museums and the theatre.  

Principal Ruth Craven, said “We have an innovative approach to teaching and learning here at Copley and embrace the most up-to-date methods of teaching for all of our subjects, in terms of delivering our curriculum. I see daily classrooms which are vibrant, there is a good level of energy, and solid discussions going on about learning, and that’s what makes me happy about the provision we are providing for learners”.