Discovery Primary Academy have made huge steps forward in their plans for moving the academy to a permanent location by 2022 in order to increase their intake of pupils.
The Academy which is a part of the Tees Valley Education Trust received confirmation from the Department for Education of the preferred contractor who is going to work on their new building meaning that the academy could be ready to open for the September 2022 term. The journey for the Academy to become its own entity predates this application with the origin being a Specialist Provision Unit as a part of Pennyman Primary Academy. However, the number of children who were being referred to the Unit started to exceed the number of places which were available. As a result, an application to become a free school was submitted 5 years ago. Speaking to CEO of the Tees Valley Education Trust Katrina Morley who said ‘5 years ago our assistant for SEND and business leader put together a 200 page document for the Department for Education this led to interviews all around the UK with different officials and has developed to become this, it’s great.’ The new building will be built on the old Natures World site at Sandy Flats lane and with Scarlet Pink who formerly ran Natures World on the board for the academy there has been plenty of advice received on how they can be sustainable.
Discovery Primary Academy is now solely a special school for reception to year 2 serving 48 children. In September 2018 it became 1 of only 4 solely special schools in the UK and has been in temporary accommodation since 2018. The head is Jen Duncan who boasts various SEND qualifications including a SEND secondment with the Local Authority and a masters in SEND provision. The SEND business manager Emma Law is in charge of providing the right provisions such as Occupational Therapy and support from the NHS. It is clear that the whole trust’s message is focused on community with Katrina saying ‘we did this because we are committed to those who are most vulnerable’ as well as driving home the Trust’s strong ethos based around the Aristotle quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”