The Reach Academy, a free school in Feltham which opened last year, has a number of distinctive characteristics. It is fairly small – a maximum of 60 places for each year group.Indeed it was founded by a group of teachers who believe that large secondary schools are not right for all pupils – that sometimes pupils find it difficult to flourish in them. It is felt that a small school makes it easier to give pupils individual attention – for instance to stretch the "gifted and talented" or give extra support for those with "English as an additional language."
The school teaches philosophy and logic.
There is a longer school day than usual:
For pupils in Reception, the school day runs from 8.30am until 3pm. For pupils in Year 7, the day runs from 8am until 4pm. We have a longer school day which enables us to do more English and Maths and retain a broad and balanced curriculum, and there are after school clubs and activities from 4-5pm.
But perhaps the most interesting aspect is that it is an "all through" school:
With classes from Reception to Sixth Form, Reach Academy Feltham offers pupils the opportunity to stay at the same school for their whole school career. Once accepted, pupils have a place until they are 18 years old. Siblings are also guaranteed a place. Initially, we will have two entry points: Reception and Year 7.
The transition from primary to secondary school can be extremely difficult, sometimes affecting children’s confidence, behaviour and academic achievement. An all-through school avoids these challenges as our staff know pupils and their families well and provide continuity between your child’s primary and secondary experience.
The teachers who has started this school have certainly looked at what has worked elsewhere – the North Star Academy charter school in Newark in New Jersey. But they are themselves innovators. That means they have the chance not just to achieve great things for their own pupils but, through their example, for pupils at other schools as well.