THE MERCURY was given an exclusive tour of Bridgwater College Academy as students enjoyed their first day.

East Bridgwater Community School joined with Sedgemoor Manor Junior and Infants schools to form the Academy, sponsored by Bridgwater College.

Executive head teacher Peter Elliott told the Mercury: “This is the first all-through school in Somerset. Being an Academy means we are free to do as we chose in terms of the curriculum, rules and uniform.

“It’s become seamless here, as all the teachers and kids cross over so we can give students the education they need. What we do each year builds on the next.”

The Academy offers an extensive curriculum provision, with added courses on business enterprise, work experience with EDF and job interview techniques. Students already looked smart in their new uniforms.

Mr Elliott explained: “They were funded by the Department for Education at minimal cost to parents. The kids love the new uniforms and they even seem to be walking a bit more upright with more pride.”

Bridgwater College, as sponsor, has set up the Bridgwater Academy Trust which will oversee the work of the Bridgwater College Academy.

The Academy will also have a Local Advisory Body, similar to a Governing Body in other schools.

Mike Robbins, Principal of Bridgwater College, said: “We are very proud to have helped in setting up the new all through Academy and are committed to supporting the school in raising standards and providing an outstanding learning experience and environment for children and young people in the community.”

The college’s support will range from use of college facilities and extra-curricular activities, through to joint staff development and procurement of equipment. It will also help the school to secure capital funding from the Government for improved facilities.