Thank you for your interest in working at The UCL Academy.
The UCL Academy is an exciting, stimulating place to learn, with a curriculum which focuses on problem-solving, skills development and ‘real world’ issues. Our core aim is to provide the highest quality teaching in a first-rate learning environment, encouraging all students to be happy and to strive to be the very best. In June 2016, Ofsted judged us to be ‘Good’ in all areas with some outstanding features.
We have exciting opportunities for outstanding, ambitious teachers who can demonstrate that they are inspirational role models and passionate about research-informed teaching, lifelong learning, a commitment to the education of the whole person and education for the common good.
Successful candidates will work alongside senior staff, the sponsor and Governors to shape a new curriculum and to lead the development of outstanding practice in teaching and learning. If you are someone with passion, expertise and vision we offer an opportunity to work in partnership with one of the world’s leading universities at a ground-breaking school.
The Academy opened in 2012 with 180 students in Year 7 and 125 students in Year 12 and reached its full capacity of 1150 students by the Autumn term of 2016. Working with our sponsor, University College London, we have built an inspiring school which supports young people to develop as learners, and as ‘whole people’.
The Academy’s Connected Curriculum emphasises specialist subject teaching within a broadly thematic framework. These themes act as a thread running through all areas of a student’s learning which are then applied to a range of subjects and concepts.
A key element of the curriculum and our sponsor’s vision for the education of the whole person is self-directed learning. The Lower School programme of compulsory extra-curricular activities incorporates sports, performing arts, community activity and creative pursuits. Students are encouraged to treat these activities as part of their school timetable and activities are co-ordinated as part of the school’s extended day.
UCL is one of the top universities in the UK, and one of the top 25 universities in the world. It has extensive, world-class facilities and employs some of the world’s leading academics. Sponsorship by the university allows us to make those facilities and that expertise available on a formal basis to our students: as a means of extending the traditional curriculum, providing access to new ways of learning and promoting the principle of ‘lifelong learning’ from a young age. We believe that this supports students of all ability levels to higher levels of attainment and enthusiasm for further study.
UCL was founded in 1826 to provide equality of education for all, and the UCL Academy is a school which supports each and every child to succeed. To this end, UCL uses its extensive resources to support the Academy to raise students’ aspirations and to invigorate the secondary curriculum. In particular, the Academy draws on UCL’s scientific strengths to bridge the gap between secondary and higher education in the STEM subjects.
Students at the UCL Academy benefit from a programme of masterclasses, seminars and summer schools, given by UCL staff and making use of UCL’s laboratory, library and other teaching facilities. These are designed to build on the teaching undertaken in class and help to extend students’ understanding of core topics. They also help to prepare older students for the transition between school and university teaching.
Additionally, UCL’s students support the Academy: well-established networks of UCL student mentors and tutors provide practical support to Academy students, acting as role models, classroom assistants and sources of informal advice and guidance.
Finally, the Academy acts as a hub to support education across Camden more broadly. UCL has a long tradition of collaboration with schools in Camden, and the Academy is a base from which UCL is able to extend the support it currently provides to these schools. We are strongly committed to ensuring that the Academy makes a genuine contribution to the Camden family of schools.
In their first year at the school, Academy students are supported to adapt to the unique learning environment, and to prepare themselves to take on responsibility for their own development programme. English plays a key role at this level, alongside Mathematics, Science and a Modern Foreign Language. Every student develops and consolidates the literary and numeracy skills they will need for future study, including through cross-curricular projects.
Each year, all students working at Levels 1 and 2 take courses in mathematics, sciences and at least one modern foreign language.
Staff at the Academy are encouraged to explore innovative ways of delivering course content, including through interdisciplinary, problem-based scenarios and team-teaching.
The UCL Academy is housed in purpose-built accommodation on Adelaide Road in Swiss Cottage, North London.
The buildings have been specifically designed to support the curriculum and pastoral structures that the school will offer.
The Academy’s facilities include:
- state-of-the-art science laboratories, and a science demonstration theatre for interactive lectures, experiments and talks by visiting academics from UCL;
- an engineering science suite, which include workshops designed to give students the experience of ‘being engineers’;
- suites of rooms for art, music and drama, including highly-equipped performance spaces;
- ‘House’ spaces, providing comfortable, welcoming places for students to eat together, and to use for informal study during breaks and before and after school.
- Around 60% of the teaching in the UCL Academy takes place in ‘Superstudios’. A Superstudio is a group of linked teaching spaces which encourage students to move between activities, to work collaboratively and across disciplines. They bring together traditional classrooms, small and larger seminar rooms and open learning space to create a vibrant and dynamic learning area which can accommodate a range of teacher and student-led activity at any one time.
The UCL Academy curriculum puts emphasis on interdisciplinary and problem-based learning. The Superstudio concept has been developed specifically to support this vision, and it draws upon research into highly successful schools from across the world.
The Superstudios are zoned by faculty area and allow flexibility for teams of teachers to use the classrooms and open learning spaces as they see fit. They also allow us to zone the spaces by age group or level should the need arise. The Superstudios accommodate all teaching not requiring specialist equipment and most theory-based teaching for subjects which have a practical element.
The Academy has formal specialisms in science and mathematics, with a commitment to providing an ‘education for global citizenship’ which places a particular premium on modern foreign language learning. These specialisms reflect the sponsor’s desire to support curriculum innovation in science and mathematics, with a view to ensuring that students at all levels develop numeracy skills and scientific understanding appropriate to their future aspirations and to the 21st century context in which they live and work. UCL has extensive scientific and mathematics expertise, and is at the leading edge of scientific research; this enables considerable academic input into the development of exciting, up-to- date and relevant scientific curricula for all students.
As part of the mentoring system which forms the basis of the school’s pastoral support structure, students have regular contact with their older peers and with students from UCL, many of whom come from schools and communities within London. These older teenagers will be role models for younger students, providing opportunities for them to discuss problems with those closer to them in age, and to come into regular contact with young people for whom school has led to further study post-16 and at university. These relationships help to support students who might otherwise be disengaged from learning.
Academy staff are particularly sensitive to the needs of students with mental health and emotional difficulties and seek to identify issues at an early stage and put together appropriate support packages, tailored to the individual child. Additionally, the school has designated and appropriately equipped a separate space for those students whose emotional or behavioural needs may require them to be removed from their learning community for a substantial number of regular sessions each week over an extended period of time. This enables specialist Academy staff to work in a targeted way with these young people, nurturing their emotional and social development with the aim of addressing issues which might otherwise result in exclusion. The Academy expects to be able to draw upon the expertise of Swiss Cottage Special School staff to support this activity.
The school is fully accessible to students with physical disabilities. Learning support activities is delivered alongside other curriculum courses, so that students receiving additional help in key areas are not isolated or stigmatised. Students deemed to be under-performing are monitored, with a view to ensuring early intervention with tailored support as appropriate.
A significant proportion of the Academy’s students require EAL support. Many of these are ‘advanced bilingual’ learners, with a need for targeted help to develop their ability to use English at the highest conceptual level, as a tool with which to reason and develop ideas and arguments.
In line with the school’s commitment to modern foreign languages, basic EAL tuition and work with more advanced ESL speakers are accommodated within MFL-designated slots in the timetable, and every effort is made to remove the perceived distinction between EAL and MFL in the way the subjects are presented and promoted across the school. Where appropriate, EAL resource is targeted at students in the Foundation Year to provide intensive booster sessions and after-school support.
The UCL Academy is co-located with Swiss Cottage Specialist SEN School, which is also accommodated in new buildings. The school merged with Jack Taylor Special School in 2012 to form one of the largest specialist SEN schools in the country, with around 230 students from 2-19, catering for the full spectrum of special education needs, including children with profound and multiple learning difficulties. Although the Academy and Swiss Cottage are not be formally linked, UCL considers that the co-location to be a tremendous benefit to the Academy, and the relationship between the two schools is an important part of the vision for the Academy. The Swiss Cottage buildings house a Research Institute which support collaboration between staff at Swiss Cottage, UCL’s neuroscientists and educational psychologists and, potentially, the Academy as well.
The Academy operates a full programme of compulsory extra-curricular activities for students of all ages, which include sports, performing arts, community activity and creative pursuits. Students are encouraged to treat these activities as part of their school timetable (i.e. part of their learning programme) and activities are co-ordinated as part of the school’s normal working day.
The UCL Academy also operates a volunteering programme and all students are encouraged to regularly participate in projects in their community. The school may also provide a venue for adult learning, and the Academy’s facilities will be available to the local community according to need.
For more information about working at The Academy and current opportunities, please get in touch at [email protected].