Friday, November 10th, 2017.

US delegates meet Excelsior Academy apprentices and former apprentices now employees

Education experts from Ford Next Generation Learning in the United States learned about Excelsior Academy’s sharp focus on career opportunities on a school visit.

The North East is preparing to become the first place outside America to implement a new model of learning that has transformed the way young people learn and achieve across Nashville and more than 30 other US school districts.

During their visit, the group met Excelsior apprentices and former apprentices who have gone on to achieve full-time jobs at the school in roles such as catering, student support and marketing.

Teachers from Nashville schools were accompanied by representatives from the Edge Foundation education charity and North East Local Enterprise Partnership, which works closely with Excelsior to embed pioneering Gatsby Foundation Careers Benchmarks into school.

As well as finding out about Excelsior’s successful apprenticeships and work experience programme, the US delegates were guests at the academy’s Service of Remembrance.

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East LEP, said: “This is a valuable opportunity for us to share best practice and work collaboratively with our peers in the USA.

“They have shown that the Academies of Nashville model can dramatically improve students’ attainment and we will be working with schools and businesses here to make sure that we adapt and implement elements of this model which could make a real difference for our young people.”

The Academies of Nashville model has resulted in an almost 23% rise in high school graduation rates since 2005, and significant improvements in attainment, discipline and attendance.

The model has since been successfully adopted by more than 30 US school districts and now the North East of England has been selected as the first place outside the US to translate the model internationally.

This week’s visit is part of a knowledge exchange which saw representatives from Excelsior Academy, the North East LEP and two other North East schools travel to Nashville earlier this year, along with colleagues at the Edge Foundation, which is leading the project, and Ford Next Generation Learning.

Olly Newton, Director of Policy and Research at the Edge Foundation, said: “Building on the fantastic work that the North East has already done on the career benchmark pilots and learning from the Academies of Nashville, we will help create a transformational model here that motivates young people by connecting their learning directly to the world of work. This will be an inspiration to schools across England and beyond.”

Craig Taylor, Excelsior Academy Executive Principal, said: “Excelsior Academy was delighted to welcome our friends from Nashville to learn more about the importance we place on careers provision and partnerships with business to give our students the best possible start to their working lives.

“We are proud to work closely with the North East LEP as part of the Gatsby Foundation Careers Benchmarks pilot programme, putting best practice in place within Excelsior Academy.”

The North East LEP will be working with schools to trial elements of the Academies of Nashville model from September 2018.