Co-op Academy North Manchester

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Co-op Academy North Manchester's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Co-op Academy North Manchester is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Headteacher Rebecca Smith
We serve a mixed and
diverse community in
northern Manchester
The Co-op Academy North Manchester serves a diverse
community in the north of the city. Approximately two
thirds of the pupils are in receipt of pupil premium
funding, and there is a higher than average proportion of pupils
for whom English is an additional language. The academy
is part of the Co-op Academies Trust, one of the highest-
performing trusts in the UK, underpinned by strong values and
a commitment to the communities that it serves. Headteacher
Rebecca Smith tells the
Our predecessor schools had been through a turbulent period which had seen a
significant decline across all areas. The arrival of a new leadership team brought
about significant improvements which were further strengthened when we joined
the Co-op Academies Trust in 2016. Our academy leaders place our vision of
excellence, high aspirations and high expectations at the heart of all we seek to
achieve, and over the last three years we have transformed our education offer.
This was noted in our recent Ofsted of 2019 where we were judged to be “good”
– the first time in the history of the school or its predecessor.
The importance of vision
We have always worked to ensure that our vision is at the centre of everything
that we strive for. Our vision statement was written in conjunction with all staff
and states: “Together we have the highest aspirations and expectations so that
everyone achieves excellence in all they do and is equipped to lead happy and
successful lives.”
»Headteacher: Rebecca Smith
»Based in Blackley, Manchester
»Type of school: Secondary
»No. of students: 1,050
»No. of staff: 175
Co-op Academy
North Manchester
Highlighting best practice
From this, our pupils have helped to
choose our core values of respect,
commitment and trust. We explain
the importance of being happy and
successful and also what this means
to our pupils, and this underpins our
offer. We see success as broader than
just academic success and provide a
rich extracurricular and enrichment
programme to enable our pupils
to find new areas that they can be
successful in, both inside and outside
of the classroom.
In addition, we encourage our pupils
to find their “happy”, so that they
can better understand themselves,
others, their community and the world
in which they live. We believe that by
having the highest aspirations and
expectations and a firm belief in every
child, we can enable our pupils to
leave the academy equipped to lead a
happy and successful life.
Transforming our culture
Our 2019 Ofsted said: “Leaders
promote positive values clearly and
consistently. They support a culture
where pupils are confident, considerate
of others and hard-working. As a
result, pupils enjoy school, attend
regularly and learn well.”
Our academy culture has transformed
over the last three years. This has been
through the establishment of excellent
relationships between staff and pupils
which are grounded in respect.
Excellent teaching and a rich staff
CPD route is integral to our offer and
demonstrates to pupils that our school
community learns together.
Our SMSC, PSHE and safeguarding
curriculum is well-integrated across
the academy. Pupils take on leadership
positions throughout the school such
as anti-bullying and mental health
ambassadors. Each year group has a
student council whose action plan is
clearly linked to our development plan.
They bring about real change and
their work in the reduction in plastics
across the school enabled them to
win an award. They are also involved
in initiatives beyond our school which
benefit the wider community through
the many opportunities provided by
our sponsor.
Ofsted added: “Pupils’ social moral,
spiritual and cultural development is a
strength of the school. Pupils develop
Music is an integral part
of the curriculum – as it
should be
We believe
that by having
the highest
aspirations and
and a firm
belief in every
child, we can
enable our
pupils to leave
the academy
equipped to
lead a happy
and successful
a strong sense of the world in which
they live. They understand and value
differences and say that they feel
confident and safe to be who they
want to be.”
Supporting our mental health and
wellbeing is a key strand that we
have developed. We have focused on
a core mental health and wellbeing
offer across the school, embedded
by staff training in areas such as
adverse childhood experiences,
mental health first aid training and
attachment theory. We have shared
our work on mindfulness at an all party
parliamentary group and are part of
the i-THRIVE group within Greater
Manchester. In addition to this, there
is a strong additional offer provided by
our school, for example through our
educational psychologist, school nurse,
art therapist and school counsellor to
ensure that more targeted support is
available for pupils who may require
this and their families.
We believe in the importance of a
strong extracurricular offer to enrich
and support the experiences that
our pupils have. If a child has never
had the chance to learn a musical
instrument or visit the theatre before,
how will they know if this is the thing
that brings them both happiness and
success? With over a hundred clubs
on offer across the academic year,
there is something for everyone. These
activities also enable staff and pupils
to develop excellent relationships.
Partnerships with other organisations
have brought additional opportunities
in areas such as sport, computing and
Professional learning
We believe in the importance of
lifelong learning and the importance
of demonstrating this through
excellent staff career and professional
development offer. Staff read together
to further develop a shared vision of a
wide range of educational areas and as
a way to stimulate debate. A coaching
culture has emerged at all levels and
promotes further development and
the importance of individuals taking
a lead within their own professional
development. Lesson study has been
used successfully to enable staff to
collaborate on areas of interest and
to co-construct learning and share
and develop practice. Staff value the
career and professional development
opportunities offered and these
are celebrated within our school
community, which has been pivotal
to the transformation that has taken
A strong educational offer, supported
by a clear vision of excellence, high
aspiration and high expectations, is
enabling our school to be a happy and
successful place to learn and a key
place within our community. Schools
are places where eyes are opened to
possibilities that we may never even
have known existed before, but which
can bring happiness and success to
individuals and their families and
positive changes to the communities in
which we live.
PSHE and
curriculum is
across the
Our site in Blackley,

This article was sponsored by Co-op Academy North Manchester. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development