Royal official opening for Harborne Academy

Remarkable turnaround for school once threatened with closure.

A Birmingham secondary school whose future was once in doubt for under-performance has reached another pinnacle of excellence with the official opening of their new £12.5 million building by HRH, The Duke of York, KG.

The new building refurbishment includes state-of-the-art science laboratories and health and medical suites that provide high-tech learning opportunities to support more young people into STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and maths) studies and training routes.

Formerly known as Harborne Hill School, Harborne Academy was launched in November 2010 as a specialist Academy for Medical and Science Professions and continues to develop a range of programmes for up to 800 students.  These include a Year 7 Skills School to improve literacy and numeracy standards and an extended Sixth Form curriculum, ranging from A level Anthropology to vocational qualifications in Applied Medical Science.

The Duke said:  “I’m very pleased and proud to be here opening this fantastic establishment.  It’s here for you, the students, to take up the challenge of learning.  The three words behind me – aspire, achieve and believe – are very important.  Each and every one of you should aspire to be more than you think you are.  If you have the aspiration and determination to succeed – you can.”

Head teacher Chris Hilton com  mented: “Students and staff are immensely proud of the new building and excited about making the most of the expanded learning opportunities we have created right here in the heart of Birmingham.

“Birmingham Metropolitan College’s links with local employers, including health and medical trusts as well as a huge number of social care providers and practitioners will help students build workplace insights and experiences, so they emerge as confident and capable individuals with a lot to offer their chosen future employers.”

Working with global employers including Samsung Electronics, Caterpillar BCP, the Baxi Group and Jaguar Land Rover, Birmingham Metropolitan College has developed a series of thriving onsite and employer-based training academies that promote the skills development of multiple workforces and fulfil industry needs.  These academies also support the career aspirations and personal development of thousands of young people through Apprenticeships, traineeships and similar work experience-based programmes. These valuable opportunities are now available to Academy learners through the academic programmes and enrichment activities offered by Birmingham Metropolitan College.

As an established technology partner of Birmingham Metropolitan College, Samsung Electronics is also supporting Harborne Academy in its ambition to become a centre for excellence for digital technologies.  Plans are being developed for Harborne Academy to house a new Digital Academy for Teachers, using Samsung technology to develop new strategies that enhance teaching and learning.

Andy Griffiths, President of Samsung Electronics UK, added, Samsung is delighted to be working with Birmingham Metropolitan College to develop a new Digital Academy for Teachers, which will be officially launched later this year. At Samsung, we believe it is essential for teachers to have immediate access to technology so that they continue to deliver an engaging academic and practical curriculum that produces the very best outcomes and helps firmly embed digital skills into today’s teaching.”