Chapeltown Academy was born in May 2012. Following observation of destinations of Year 11 students in the North of Sheffield, a local teacher made enquiries with parents, carers, students and other teachers about the current situation. It was the overwhelming view that the north of the city lacked high-quality, small, focussed, academic provision and that students often had to travel significant distances to get this. As such, the Academy came to life. Soon, people came onboard and through various means, the Chapeltown Academy steering group was persuaded to come together.
July 12 2012 saw the first major front page (Sheffield Telegraph) and a week later saw the first major event - the launch. At a packed Tankersley Manor parents and young people came from across the city (and the county) to meet the team behind the Academy and learn of the proposals. The event was marvellously well attended and vocally supported by parents. This was a catalyst for the summer. The team worked hard and decided, after continuing support to put an application into the Department for Education to open Chapeltown Academy in September 2014.
The Academy's steering group was succesful in getting a place on the New Schools Network "Development Programme" - a national programme for high potential groups to support the development of their application. This was a huge boost to its prospects and the support was invaluable. Additionally and through the winter the Academy established a parents' committee and this group was responsible for spreading the word and gathering further support to evidence to the Department that there was signficant demand in the area for this type of provision. Various educational and finance meetings were held in different parts of the country and the proposals developed. After attending various events (notably Ecclesfield Gala and the Chapeltown Christmas Fair) the steering group was ready to submit its 150-page application on New Years' Eve.
And so the long wait began. The team behind the Academy (the Steering Group) retained interest by continuing to provide opportunities for young people. "Life at Chapeltown" was planned. This was a multi-dimensional event for Year 9 and 10 students to fully appreciate the Academy and its 4-point vision. Local community supporters (like Wortley RUFC and Paces) were invited to attend. Teachers, supporters and professionals from across the country (including representatives from the Universitiess of Manchester and Cambridge) came to the Source, Meadowhall to elucidate what life at Chapeltown would be like and students left buzzing, given the prospect of the Academy
In the same week, the team learnt that its application had progressed to the "Interview Stage" with the Department for Education and in April 2013 five members of the Academy's team presented (and were asked questions about) its proposals. 6 weeks later, the approval phone call was received and the Academy was approved to open. Along with 101 other providers Chapeltown Academy's proposal to open was approved. The Academy became the first "free school" to be approved to open in Sheffield.
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