Home » Case Studies » Furness Academy

Furness Academy

About the school

Furness Academy is a large secondary school located in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, 20 minutes away from the beautiful Lake District. The school has over 1200 students which come from a variety of backgrounds and represent the demographic of the local area, which includes areas of affluence and areas of high deprivation. The school has a higher-than-average number of SEND students, those with ECHP and those classed by the DfE as disadvantaged. However, the school is not very culturally diverse.

We pride ourselves at being at the heart of our community and offering our students a wide range of opportunities. Our Furness International programme is a large part of the opportunities we offer, with a number of years experience running successful Erasmus+, Turing and International Exchange projects.

Main challenges

There are two main challenges for our school that we are hoping that the GSA programme will support.

The first is to support our students’ cultural capital and close the cultural capital gap that exists between our students that was further widened by the COVID pandemic. Our school is not culturally diverse with the nearest major city (and airport) almost two hours away. This, alongside our levels of deprivation, lead to low levels of cultural capital which our school is trying hard to build on. We have implemented a culture curriculum to help support this but know how important engagement with people from outside our school and particularly those from another culture will help develop our students’ capital and also as global citizens.

The second challenge is our language uptake. We are looking at improving the number of students who study for the English Baccalaureate, which require the students to continue with language study at GCSE. Historically, our numbers of students studying language and having access to the EBACC have been very low, in the range of 2-3%. However, we believe through promotion of our international programme and connecting with other schools, our students will be inspired to continue with their languages study.

Why global education is important to Furness Academy

Global education is important to us as we believe our students should see themselves as global citizens. We want them to understand their place in the world and be aware of and, importantly, respectful of those from other cultures different to their own.

Our students need this element of global education, that exists beyond our school and community, due to the lack of diversity in our local area.

Aspirations for the new international school partnerships

Our aspiration for our new school partnerships is to fundamentally encourage students to pursue language study. Last academic year, we introduced Spanish into our school curriculum as a language option. The students have immediately responded to this and shown greater engagement in their language lessons. It is our intention to now build on this, working with Spanish-speaking schools around the world and ensure we solidify this initial interest in Spanish language lessons, into pursuing language study at GCSE level and beyond.

Objectives for the Global School Transformation programme

Our objectives of this programme are:

– To develop language and communication skills between our students and those in our partner schools to encourage GCSE language study, to support the EBacc programme

– To develop language and oracy skills, particularly among our most disadvantaged, that has been lacking during the home schooling period caused by the COVID pandemic

– To strengthen current partnerships and develop new partnerships with Spanish speaking schools to support our students language education

– To develop key career building skills, through the power of language and provide our students with a cultural opportunity that would traditionally be beyond their reach.

How the GSA and their programme will benefit Furness Academy

The Global School Alliance provides us with a platform to meet and engage with new partners across the world. We will be supported by the GSA experts to ensure that our programme helps meet our objectives and gives our students the best experience. We are looking at destinations that we would not be able to travel to without expert guidance and we are confident that the GSA will support us with this.

Feedback from Deputy Headteacher, Helen Robinson

Deputy Headteacher Helen Robinson said, “We are proud of the opportunities our international programme has provided for our students over the last few years. We look forward to growing this programme, working with GSA, and bringing an even greater international dimension to our school. Our students and colleagues are excited to be connecting with schools and teachers across the world and look forward to the partnerships we will create. Importantly, through the GSA, we will continue to develop our students as global citizens, with hopefully an increased interest in languages, which all ties in to the aims of our school development plan”.

We look forward to growing this programme, working with GSA, and bringing an even greater international dimension to our school.

Feedback from Year 9 student, Gracie

Year 9 student Gracie said “I am really excited about meeting students from other schools and practising my language skills. I have chosen to study Spanish next year as part of my GCSEs and I think it’s great that I will be able to talk to someone else my age who can also speak this language and to learn about their culture. I am excited that there will be opportunities to travel and that I will meet so many new people.”

Apply to join the Summer 2023 cohort!

The Global School Transformation programme provides a framework for schools to build and develop a whole-school approach to embedding global dimensions in their curriculum and ethos. It includes international school partnerships, immersive learning experiences for pupils and training and upskilling of staff to transform every aspect of developing globalisation, citizenship and cultural capital into an easy-to-follow, comprehensive whole-school programme.

There are 20 reimbursable places on the Summer 2023 cohort, so apply today to secure your school’s place.

Apply today