Bromley Beacon Academy has today celebrated its fifth birthday – and an outstanding journey of improvement.
The Trust's special school in Old Homesdale Road, Bromley, supports children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs.
Staff and pupils were joined for the celebration by the Deputy Mayor of Bromley, employers, councillors, parents and other stakeholders who have supported the school over the past five years.
Guests at the special event were treated to a fantastic dance display by Cohesion Plus, award presentations and tours of the facilities, led by pupils. Speeches were given by Trust CEO, Dr Sam Parrett, Deputy CEO, Mr Neil Miller, Headteacher Mr Philip Tagoe and Vice Chair of Trust, Denise James-Mason.
Bromley Beacon Academy joined London South East Academies Trust in 2016 with provision split across a brand-new Bromley site (for Years 9-13) and a refurbished Orpington site (Years 1-8).
When the Trust took the school on it was failing and at risk of closure - but dedicated leaders and staff have transformed provision for pupils, with Ofsted rating it as Good in 2019 for the first time in its history.
Achievement rates at the school have been on an upward trajectory for the last three years and every single pupil leaving the school last year moved into further education, an apprenticeship or employment.
Addressing guests, CEO of London South East Academies Trust, Dr Sam Parrett CBE, said: “The remarkable achievements of Bromley Beacon Academy are testament to the incredible dedication, commitment and hard work of the senior leadership team, staff, pupils and our wider community.
“Working in partnership with the Local Authority, employers and our neighbours has strengthened our links with the community – and has enabled us to effectively support a growing number of children and young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs in the Borough.
This successful collaboration has set Bromley on the right path to safeguarding special provision and ensuring it is fully accessible to those who need it.
“I offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has been involved in BBA’s journey to date and I look forward to the many further successes that this school will undoubtedly achieve.”
Mr Philip Tagoe, head teacher, spoke about the school’s journey of improvement and the remarkable leadership, saying: “As my late father said: ‘Only follow a leader who knows where he’s going’. I’m so proud to be standing here today and thank staff and pupils for their hard work and commitment. We now pride ourselves as a school, and part of a Trust, that sees every child flourishing each day.”
During the event, Deputy Mayor of Bromley, Cllr Tony Owens, announced Year 11 pupil, Khaidon, as winner of the school’s T Shirt competition, presenting him with a certificate and voucher. Pupils had been asked to come up with a special 5th birthday t-shirt design which reflected the school’s values and Khaidon’s fantastic effort was chosen as the winning creation.
Also during the afternoon of celebration, pupils Mark Baker, Nathanial Karikari and Tony Lee Lovell were presented with awards for writing some outstanding poetry.
Year 13 pupil, Reshaan (17) from Orpington read out one of the winning poems to guests. He said: “I’ve been at this school since Year 7 (when it was Burwood School) and it’s changed a lot since then. It’s much stricter now but this has made it a better place and it’s really like a family. I am going to London South East Colleges next year to study Cybersecurity.”
An address followed by Denise James-Mason, Vice Chair of London South East Academies Trust, who congratulated staff and pupils on all their hard work, as well as paying tribute to Deputy CEO of the Trust, Neil Miller, for his key role in the transformation of the school.
Closing the event, Neil spoke about Bromley Beacon Academy’s remarkable journey, including the many challenges faced and achievements made. He thanked his team and the Trust for their dedication and support, adding:
“The staff here continue to do an amazing job every day. They give their absolute hearts and souls to this place and to the students they serve – which is reflected in the success demonstrated today. I am extremely proud and thank every one of you personally."
Year 13 pupil Felice (18) from Orpington added:
"I've been here since Year 8 and there's been loads of change, but it has all been for the better - like the teachers, equipment and even the food.
"This school has helped me achieve my dreams as I am now on my way to becoming a police officer."