Skinners' Academy

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Skinners' Academy (formerly The Skinners' Company's School for Girls) was founded by the Worshipful Company of Skinners, a London Livery Company. It is a secondary school and sixth form with academy status, and was opened in the Stamford Hill area of Hackney in 1890.<ref name="autogenerated2">The Skinners' Company – Education – The Skinners' Company's School for Girls</ref> There are currently approximately 900 pupils on roll, of whom 150 pupils are students of the Sixth Form consortium with Stoke Newington School - Media Arts & Science College and Our Lady's Convent RC High School. More than 60% of the pupils speak English as an additional language and more than 86% of students are from ethnic minority backgrounds. The school received awards for high added value in 2005-6 from the Specialist School Trust and was identified as one of the most improved schools for examination achievement in 2005 and 2006.


History

The Skinners' Company

The Worshipful Company of Skinners (known as The Skinners Company) is one of the “Great Twelve” Livery Companies with a history going back some 700 years. It is one of the most ancient of the City Guilds and developed from the medieval trade guild of the furriers: members of the guild dressed and traded furs that were used for trimming and lining the garments of richer members of society.

The company, as the guild is now called, is no longer associated with the craft but continues to contribute to educating the young and helping the older in need, through their almshouses, charities and schools. The Skinners' Company's School for Girls is the fourth school that was opened by the Skinners' Company. The other schools respectively are the Sir Andrew Judd's free school (now called Tonbridge School), The Skinners' School and Sir Andrew Judd's Commercial School (now called The Judd School).<ref name="autogenerated4">Skinners Company - History</ref>

The Skinners' Company's School for Girls

The site of the original school building (now the Upper School) in Stamford Hill was bought in 1883 for £3261 13s 2d by the Skinners' Company. The building was erected at the cost of £10,969 18s 9d and the school was opened, as a public school, in 1890 in order to meet the demand for girls' education in London. Girls started at the age of eight. At that time, the school accommodated 187 girls and 8 teachers.

During the Second World War, the school was evacuated to Welwyn Garden City, despite this, some emergency lessons were held at the school. The school was also used to house a division of the emergency fire service. It was during the war that the girls adopted a warship, sending food and clothing for its sailors.

The introduction of the Education Act 1944 led to the school becoming a state grammar school. Fees were abolished and entry was gained through the Eleven Plus examination.

In 1972, Mount Pleasant County secondary school merged with The Skinners' Company's School for Girls, with the male students transferring to Brooke House school and the female students joining the existing grammar school. From 1972 onwards, the school became London's first voluntary aided comprehensive school and it operated on two sites: the Upper School in Stamford Hill and the Lower School in Mount Pleasant. In 2003, the school's growing Sixth Form formed a consortium with Our Lady's Convent RC High School which it had worked with throughout the 1980s. In 2006, Stoke Newington School - Media Arts & Science College also joined the Sixth Form consortium which expanded upon the curriculum of the existing Sixth Form, which was established in 1927. The school was awarded specialist status in recognition of its Business and Enterprise teaching and became a Business and Enterprise College in 2004.

Skinners' Academy

In 2010 with the sponsorship of The Skinners' Company and the support of Hackney Council and The Hackney Learning Trust the school reopened as an academy, meeting the demands of the newly regenerated area of Woodberry Down. The school opened as a mixed school accommodating ages 11–18 and promoting lifelong learning through its children's centre, primary school and adult education facility. The school has preserved its ethos and continues to uphold its ethic of extending and challenging students within a positive learning environment.

Leadership

To date, Skinners' has had 8 headmistresses and is now Skinners' Academy with two Principals.

  • Mary Hannah Page (1890–1900)
  • Emily Newton (1900–1927)
  • Lydia Barton (1927–1952)
  • Margaret Gray (1952–1963)
  • Pamela Edwards (1963–1984)
  • Mary Ludlow (1984–1997)
  • Jenny Wilkins (1997–2009)
  • Jan Balogh (2009-(2010)
  • Jenny Wilkins(2010-2013)Skinners' Academy
  • Tim Clark (2013-Present)Skinners' Academy

School Buildings and Grounds

The Lower School site comprises one building. It contains administrative offices including School reception, Head and Deputy Head offices and a Staff Room. It also houses a library, assembly hall, canteen, classrooms that service various departments and laboratories. The Upper School site consists of a range of buildings built at various stages of the school history. Each of these buildings serve a range of departments:

  • The Main Building (Upper School) was the only building of the school when it opened in 1890. The building contains the administrative offices including School reception, Head and Deputy Head offices and a Staff Room. It also houses a library, assembly hall, canteen and classrooms that service various departments. This building was extended in 1893, when the gym was built and again in the 1960s when the current ICT classrooms were built.
  • The Art Block, was built in 1964 and later extended. It contains dedicated rooms for Art, the Sixth Form facilities and facilities for those with Special Educational Needs.
  • The Business Huts, were built to accommodate the school's specialist business and ICT facilities.
  • The Science/Technology block is the newest building on the school grounds, built in 1994. This provides dedicated resources for the teaching of Science and Design and Technology.

In order to achieve the school's aim of sustainability, fruit and vegetables are grown on school grounds for use in the canteen.
Interestingly, at the Upper School site there is a Rowan tree, which was gifted to the school by the Skinners' School Old Girls Association (SSOGA). The Rowan tree recognises the school's origins with the Skinners' Company, as Rowan berries were used for tanning leather.

School Uniform

Since the school's opening in 1890, the uniform has undergone great change. The uniform currently consists of a plain black or red jumper with the school logo; a plain black skirt, trousers or salwar kameez; white shirt; white socks or black tights and plain black shoes.<ref>Skinners</ref>

Present and Future Plans

The school currently operates on a split site basis; with years 7- 9 in the Lower School site and the years 10- 13 in the Upper School. However, due to the inefficiency and the limitations caused thereof, plans have been to relocate the school as an Academy to a single site at Woodberry Down, under the Woodberry Down Regeneration project in 2010.<ref name="autogenerated3">Masterplan</ref> In order to prepare for the transition of sites, in the academic year of 2006–2007 the school took its final cohort of year 7s. In the academic year of 2008–2009, the Lower School site shall be closed and the then years 9-13 shall be accommodated in the Upper School. To adapt to these changes some innovative teaching and curriculum practices will be adopted, including Vertical tutoring.

Academics and Curriculum

“Within the school, there is a strong emphasis on enriching the learning experience for pupils, through innovative curriculum development, a wide range of activities and highly effective partnership working arrangements.”

Ofsted Inspection Report, March 2006<ref name="autogenerated4"/>

The academic curriculum in the years leading to GCSE reflects the National Curriculum in its breadth and balance. The school offers a range of vocational and academic subjects at GCSE and A- Level. Most notably in GCSE and A-Level Business studies. Of the 127 pupils eligible for GCSEs in 2007, 24.4% had special educational needs. In 2007, 28% of students achieved 5 or more A*-C Grades, including Maths and English.<ref name="autogenerated1">BBC NEWS | Education | League Tables | Secondary schools in Hackney</ref>

Student Leadership

Head Girl

Each year, a year 13 student is elected as Head Girl. The Head girl's main duties encompass representing the school and the student body at various meetings and events. The Head Girl also makes a speech at each year's Prize Giving Ceremony at the Round Chapel, Hackney.

School Council

The school has an elected school council, consisting of 1 representative from each form class and the elected head girl. The school council meet on a regular basis and work together to initiate change within the school and ensure the recognition of the student voice. The school council has been commended by Ofsted as having : “Pupils [who] are articulate and confident. The school council is actively involved in improving life at the school.”<ref name="autogenerated4"/>

Prefects

Prefects from years 8 and 9 are selected by staff members and are given various responsibilities within the school. These include: lunch time monitoring; recycling duty and the completing of the progress book, which documents a class's behaviour. Prefects are given red badges to wear within school.

The Future

As a part of the school's transition into an academy and the school's aim of promoting the student voice, current year 8 pupils, who will be year 11s at the point of transition have been given the opportunity to design a new sustainable building, in keeping within the Woodberry Down Masterplan.<ref name="autogenerated3"/>

Extra Curricular

The school hosts a variety of clubs which contribute to the high Value Added score of 1020.2,<ref name="autogenerated1"/> which is above the Local Authority average. Beyond the curriculum, the school offers a range of opportunities for student development:

"Teachers and pupils work hard together and pupils particularly value the wealth of learning opportunities available, including overseas trips and involvement in the local community.”

Ofsted Inspection Report, March 2006<ref>Home</ref>

At present the school is part of the Urban Scholars Intervention Programme hosted at the City of London School for Girls, which supports a number of gifted and talented students, through a rigorous and challenging programme of activities.<ref>Urban Scholars' Intervention Programme</ref> The school also works in collaboration with NFTE and last year, a group of 5 Skinners' students won a nationwide competition for their business ‘Hennoo', their prize included a trip to New York.<ref>Welcome :: Enterprise Education Trust (NFTE)</ref>

The school has strong links with a number of successful businesses and companies working within the City of London, these include: Linklaters; UBS; Commerz Bank; HP; HSBC and The Skinners' Company.

The school has a successful choir and steel pan club and they've performed at the Skinners' Hall and other venues.<ref name="autogenerated2"/>

Each year, a Sports Day is held at Finsbury Park and all students and staff participate. In addition to this, there are a number of sporting opportunities available to staff and students, these include: football; tennis; volleyball; badminton; canoeing and kickboxing. Yoga is also available for teachers.

Prize Giving

This event was previously known as "Speech Day", and was held each year at the Upper School. Each November the entire school gathers in the The Round Chapel, to celebrate the school and the achievements of the year. The event is attended by the school governors and representatives from the Worshipful Company of Skinners, along with staff and the parents of the girls. The representatives of the Worshipful Company of Skinners dress in lynx fur trimmed robes in order to commemorate the Skinners' Company. Before proceeding to the stage, the beadle of the Skinners' Company knocks his ceremonial staff against the floor twice, indicating the start of the procession. Behind him, walks the headmistress, who is followed by a row of school governors and a row of company representatives, who bear the silver leopard statue, a symbol of the Worshipful Company of Skinners. Prizes are awarded to individuals who have performed well in their year, along with specific prizes accredited to past headteachers and The SSOGA.<ref>News</ref>

Traditionally, pupils supplement applause by ‘whooping' when the recipient accepts their award. The annual report is read by the Headmistress and short speeches are given by a representative from the Worshipful Company of Skinners and the Head Girl.

The Skinners' School Old Girls Association (SSOGA)

The Skinners' School Old Girls Association has three main aims:
1. To provide opportunities for Old Girls to keep in touch with their former school friends
2. To provide opportunities for Old Girls to keep in touch with the school.
3. To provide and promote financial and/or material assistance to the school.

SSOGA were disbanded in the 1980s, but were then revivied in the late 1990s. Upon leaving school, students may join SSOGA. The SSOGA are active in the transition of the school from its current sites to the one in Woodberry Down. Members of SSOGA have been working with current students to mark the history of Skinners'. The committee chairperson is currently Mrs Val Griffiths. The association meet regularly and publish a quarterly news sheet- 'Our Chronicle'.

References

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External links

Template:Schools and colleges in Hackney