Welcome from Principal Maryssa O’Connor

IMG_9774Here at Thornaby Academy we aim to provide an exciting and inspirational environment for young people to learn and succeed. The staff at the Academy work closely as a team to support and guide our young people as they experience a diverse and challenging curriculum which will provide them with every opportunity to achieve their personal best.

Students at Thornaby Academy are at the centre of a community which includes the support of our lead sponsor, Teesside University and co-sponsors, Stockton Sixth Form College, Stockton Riverside College and Stockton Borough Council.

Together the sponsors and the Academy maintain five core values:

  • To seek excellence and the achievement of the highest educational standards for all students.
  • To provide opportunity and raise students’ aspirations.
  • To gain respect and achieve inclusivity for all members of the Academy community.
  • To empower students as learners and teachers as professionals.
  • To work in partnership with local schools and organisations.

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York’s Chocolate Story 2014

The students learning about chocolate production

The students learning about chocolate production

On the 16th December the Year 10 Business GCSE class undertook an award winning experience at York’s Chocolate Story.

Students learned about the famous family owned businesses of Tuke, Craven, Rowntree and Terry who were responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of chocolate and confectionary worldwide.

Students unwrapped the stories behind brands such as Kit KAT, Smarties, All Gold and Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which was relevant to recent learning within the classroom, including the Marketing Mix Unit and Entrepreneurial Unit of their GCSE curriculum.

Students learned how to taste chocolate like a professional, watch the Chocolatiers at work in a captivating chocolate making demonstration and undertake a Chocolate workshop, in which they designed and created their own chocolate bar.

Girls and Gadgets Conference 2014 Teesside University

Girls and Gadgets Conference 2014

Girls and Gadgets Conference 2014


On the 18th December x8 Year 9 students embarked on a journey that would excite and encourage them into a professional career within ICT, at the annual Girls and Gadgets Conference, Teesside University. There were approximately 20 schools present at the conference, which highlighted the growing popularity of ICT amongst girls and the pressing need to close the gender gap within the profession

The students listened to an inspiring talk by Dr Joanne Noble, who has excelled within the computing domain. She provided a useful insight into career opportunities and progression having worked for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and MDC Technology.

All schools were deployed to a workshop. Our workshop was E-Journalism.  Working in small groups alongside Teesside Ambassadors and trainee Ambassadors form Nunthornpe Acdemy, students interviewed and photographed individuals at the event, to discover what was being learnt in other workshops. Students then collated and reported their findings on the Teesside University blog using WordPresss. Fantastic work girls!!

Frozen Kingdom

Thornaby Academy was transformed into a ‘Frozen Kingdom’ last week as visitors were treated to a magical winter wonderland experience.

As well as getting the chance to make gifts in the elves workshop, meet Santa in his grotto, enjoy a mince pie and a drink whilst watching Christmas films, browse the festive vintage market and immerse themselves in the spectacular audio visual ‘Octorama’ experience, children and visitors also enjoyed a hugely popular sing-a-long with Elsa and Anna.

The real stars of the show, however, were Santa’s reindeer.  While Santa was busy handing out gifts in his grotto, Moscow and Lightning were happy to pose for photos while they watched over Santa’s sleigh.

All visitors were full of praise for the event and many thanks to all who came along.

Frozen Kingdom Gallery

Launching our new Hub

Thornaby Academy is incredibly excited about a new venture that will bring a true gift to our learning community from January 2015.

Thornaby Academy, in partnership with Stockton Borough Council would like to introduce a new hub within our school environment which will enable 10 students with autism to be educated on site in mainstream classrooms alongside their peers.

Our new hub has been planned specifically to support students with autism. The hub is made up of a social area, craft space, individual work spaces, a classroom with ICT facilities, toilet and changing facilities, a dedicated entrance and outside space, a sensory room and a meeting room. This hub is a dedicated space for students with autism.

The Academy welcomes 2 new members of specialist staff that will work closely with our dedicated mainstream staff team, the Autism Outreach Team and the Educational Psychology Service as well as professionals from Health and Social Care to ensure provision for our ARP students is ideal.


Amreen Rafiq – Lead Professional ASD











Amie Davies – Specialist Learning Support Assistant ASD

Some children with autism can find mainstream school a daunting experience but with some adaptions to provision Thornaby Academy knows that these children can thrive in our community alongside their peers. This opportunity allows us to enhance our current teaching and learning experiences for all students creating a more supportive and creative Academy community.

This week all Thornaby Academy students are taking part in “Autism Awareness” assemblies to help them fully understand their own individual responsibility in ensuring our Academy is inclusive. All students will play a part in naming our new hub and be offered the opportunity to learn more about autism and how they can become peer supporters.

The Academy vision for all students is all about ensuring they feel proud of their achievements each and every day. With the support of our new wonderful hub and specialist staff, we know that we can do this successfully for children with autism.

What is Autism Assembly

Y9 Sports Leader selected to be a Young Ambassador

Jessica Dunn in Y9 attended a Sports Leader training academy on Thursday 4th December along with 120 other Y9 students across the Stockton Borough. Out of this, 30 leaders were chosen to become a Young Silver Ambassador.

 The Role of the ambassador involves:

 Working in our school to:

  • Increase participation
  • Promote PE & School Sport &
  • Promote the Olympic & Paralympic values

 The young person profile is:

  • An excellent Sports Leaders
  • The ability to inspire & influence young people
  • A role model
  • The ability to communicate effectively

From this, Jess will be used as a Sports Leader within the Academy and our feeder schools to help deliver PE lessons and festivals held throughout the year. Stockton School Partnership will also be using Jess at future events.

Well done Jessica, this is a great achievement!

Year 11 Leavers Presentation Evening 2014

It was great to see so many of our former students again and celebrate their successes as The Mayor of Stockton, Councillor Barbara Inman, awarded them their GCSE certificates.

In addition to the GCSE Certificates we also awarded Hub Awards from each of our Learning Hubs and some special Awards.

Hub Awards

BETA Hub Calum Thomas
Create Hub Nicole Courtney
Explore Hub Zoe Trainer
Communicate Hub Daniel Hobson
Innovate Hub Zoe Trainer
Discover Hub Georgia Dobbing

Special Awards

Enterprise Award Daniel Hobson
Community Award Marleskye Whittaker
Progress Award Samantha Dixon
Attainment Award Demi Paterson
Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement Zoe Trainer

It was great to be able to talk to them about their courses at college and their plans for the future.  We hope that they will keep in touch with us.

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Year 7 put their enterprise skills to the test at Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market


The products available for sale at the Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market

The products available for sale at the Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market

Using many of their BETA skills Year 7 students worked in teams  designing and developing their innovative ideas of Christmas  products to sell at the Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market.

The teams competed against each other, pitching their ideas in a  “Dragons’ Den” style approach. The wining pitch was awarded a  £50 grant on behalf of the Beta Hub to help transform their ideas  into actual products.

The winning Year 7 group putting their enterprising skills to the test at Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market

The winning Year 7 group putting their enterprising skills to the test at Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market

On Thursday 27th November the winning group ventured to Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market armed with their Christmas Sweet Jars, Seedbombs and Decorate your own Christmas baubles to sell. The students displayed excellent customer service skills and as a result sold out of all products, raising £105 in sales.



Global Entrepreneurship Week 17th – 25th November 2013

Global Entrepreneurship Week 17th – 25th November 2013

Students at Thornaby Academy understand that enterprise is an important element of our specialism, which they are encouraged to utilise and develop on a daily basis whether in lessons, enrichments and at Academy events.

Students demonstrated their enterprising ability by taking part in enterprising challenges, which were supported by local businesses and entrepreneurs;

Yr 8 students presenting their merchandise ideas for MFC.

Yr 8 students presenting their merchandise ideas for MFC.

  •   Year 7 Motivational Guest Speaker Keith Palmer, Marketing    Company and Gingerbread Mam.
  •  Year 7 Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market Challenge in    association with Stockton Borough Council. The winning group  will receive £50 to take their idea to market and sell as many of    their festive goods as possible.
  • Year 8 Guest Speaker Helena Pinder, Middlebrough Football Club Foundation.


  • Year 8 Middlesbrough Football Club Design Merchandise challenge, in association with Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation. The winning groups will receive an official tour of MFC stadium in 2015.
  • Year 9 will undertake their enterprise challenge at Teesside University, in January 2015.
  • Year 10 Guest Speaker Debbie, Little Sprouts Community Interest Company (CIC)
  • Year 10 Social Enterprise Challenge in association with Little Sprouts CIC. The winning groups will receive a Little Sprouts CIC cookery workshop, in which they will bring their culinary ideas to life. Students will cook a x2 course meal for x50 guests attending Thornaby Academy’s Frozen Kingdom event on the 10th of December 2014.
  • Year 11 Life as a Lawyer Event, Eversheds LLP Newcastle, in which x3 students had the opportunity to attend a lecture discussing routes into the profession, undertake a negotiation exercise and network with solicitors and support staff.

A huge thank you to all the businesses and staff that supported throughout Global Entrepreneurship Week.


Yr 10 students presenting their culinary menus

Yr 10 students presenting their culinary menus


Children In Need 2014

Congratulations to all the students and staff at Thornaby Academy who ensured that Children In Need 2014 was a success by raising an approximate total of £475. 

Children In Need The Academy participated in the school‘s enterprise  challenge ”Starter for Ten”, launched by Stockton Borough Council,  in which students had to grow £20 and raise as much money as  possible for Children In Need. The Year 10 Business GCSE  students worked in groups to formulate and present their ideas.  Callum Simpson and Joe Singleton’s idea of non-uniform  day/Superhero theme, coupled with an Academy raffle and food  stalls was voted as the favourite.

All Academy staff and students, dressed in either non-uniform or superhero theme, contributed their £1 to Children In Need and participated in engaging activities throughout the afternoon. This included a Year 7 Apprentice style challenge, Year 8 bridge building activities, a Year 9 Pudsey Bear Maths challenge, a Year 10 Bake Off decorating challenge and Year 11 team based sports games.

Well done to Sam Kapadi, winner of the fancy dress competition and Lauren Forrester, winner of the Middlesbrough Football Club football.

Children in Need 2014 Hero Themed Fancy Dress Winner

Children in Need 2014 Hero Themed Fancy Dress Winner

A special thanks to Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation for their raffle donation and to Miss Naylor and her Charity Student Leaders for providing tasty treats throughout break time in their cake stall.