Building the future – £24m academy opens its doors

Pupils at the Nottingham University Samworth Academy (NUSA) celebrated the official opening of their new school building in style – with Olympic gold medal-winner Dame Kelly Holmes.

The academy is one of the first in the UK to have direct sponsorship and academic links with a University. It is also backed by businessman and philanthropist Sir David Samworth.

NUSA is already gaining national and international recognition for its partnership with the University. In its first year of operation this unique alliance has developed innovative approaches to teaching and learning in secondary education.

The new complex cost £24 million and took 18 months to build. NUSA is currently home to 650 pupils, but will eventually cater for 950 including a 200-strong sixth form. And the academy aims to be more than a school, with its resources open as much as possible to the whole community.

NUSA pupil Ola Nwabuikwu, aged 16, said: “I think the building is amazing. I couldn’t wait to restart school after the summer break. It is much better than I expected, the lecture theatre is amazing.”

Robert Airey, aged 13, said: “The new building is brilliant — 100 times better than the old school one. Add to this the fact we are sponsored by the University, we now have so many opportunities.”

The University has a significant presence at NUSA with lecturers, students and support staff taking an active role in the life of the school. They work with individual pupils as mentors, lead large groups and host a variety of workshops on the latest research in science and technology. A Pupil Research Group also works with University staff on the latest innovations in teaching and learning.

As a specialist college for science and health, the new building includes facilities specifically tailored to these areas, including the latest scientific and engineering laboratories and a professional dance studio. Food technology is another specialism and NUSA boasts industry-standard catering facilities.

Vice-Chancellor Prof David Greenaway, said: “We believe the high-quality physical environment will be a prestigious landmark in the city and an inspiration to the young people who go there to learn and develop their skills and ambitions.”

Sir David Samworth added: “My family and I are proud to have been able to co-sponsor this wonderful new academy with the University and are delighted with the excellent start that everyone has made in the first year of being open.”

The University also supports the Academy through the development of apprenticeship and work placement schemes as well as advising pupils who aim to go on to higher education. More than 20 NUSA staff are currently undertaking Masters and Doctoral degrees at the University, many within the School of Education.

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