Unveiling an Enterprising Future

Students and staff at Manchester Enterprise Academy (MEA) enjoyed a high profile official opening ceremony as Lord Digby Jones and Sir Bobby Charlton unveiled the 19million Academy, on Simonsway in Wythenshawe.

MEA, which has a focus on business and enterprise, opened on the site of Parklands High School last year and moved into its new building on 8th September and provides 750 places for 11-16 year olds with post 16 provision for 120 students.

Over a hundred guests were treated to inspirational speeches from the two VIP’s along with a question and answer session from a select student panel. Lord Digby Jones was keen to stress the value of voluntary work, career challenges with one pupil even asking him for investment advice.

Julie Armstrong, Manchester Enterprise Academy’s Chair of Governors, said of the event: “As the first Academy to officially open it has been a great honour having Lord Digby Jones and Sir Bobby Charlton celebrate this momentous occasion with us all. It has been a great way to commemorate the hard work of both students and staff in getting us to this point. It is now up to the teaching staff and the students to deliver new standards in education and achievement. I am sure that the facilities and technology of the Academy will allow us to ensure each student reaches their full potential.”

The lead sponsor of MEA is Manchester Airport with Manchester City Council, Willow Park Housing Trust and The Manchester College as co-sponsors.

Andrew Harrison, Manchester Airport’s Managing Director, said: “It is a very exciting time for the Manchester Enterprise Academy and today’s event has highlighted this. I wish all the students and staff the best for their future. There are several partners who will all be putting resources and effort into ensuring that this academy delivers the right learning experience, which will help these students develop their future careers.”

Prior to the formal unveiling of the commemorative plaque The Manchester United Foundation, who supports the MEA, organised a five a side football tournament with pupils from five of the local primary feeder schools attending. The young players were treated to Sir Bobby Charlton cheering from the sidelines as well as the winning team meeting their hero in person.

The Academy will differ from existing schools in that sponsors will work alongside teachers to design learning and assessment materials. All students will have personal mentors as well as round the clock access to materials and support to encourage ‘anytime, anywhere learning’. The site will be open from 7am to 10pm and will become the hub of the community giving parents, families and the whole community the opportunity to benefit from the facilities.

It also has a university style lecture theatre, a boardroom, solar thermal panels, underfloor heating, a three story high central glazed atrium, lights that adjust depending upon the level of natural sunlight and turn off when not in use and acoustic panels to absorb noise.

Published on: 15/10/2010 14:14:35