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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Choc-Box Enterprise Challenge


Chocolate tasting whilst studying the Project Brief

Five prospective Business students participated in the ‘Choc-Box Enterprise Challenge’ at Teesside University on the 25th March 2015. The students worked together as a team to re-launch an existing chocolate product in a new and innovative way.

After sampling the products and using their senses to determine the flavour of each chocolate, students discussed and decided on their target market and pricing policy. A name was agreed for the product, as well as individual product names for each chocolate. Our students decided on Sweet Surprise which included ‘Outstanding orange,’ ‘Cream Caramel’, ‘Nutty Galore’, ‘Fabulous Fudge’ and ‘Chewtastic Caramel’ chocolates.

Congratulations to Saffia Pawlett, Leoni Thornton, Kaitlin Oliver Williams, Vicki McTomney and Cameron Sharp for presenting their product and marketing strategy in a 5 minute, engaging presentation to the University Tutors and other school groups within the Stockon-On-Tees borough.

Engineers on major local road project inspire Thornaby pupils

Civil engineers involved in one of the region’s major highway improvement schemes are passing on their skills to local school pupils.

Representatives from the collaborative team delivering the A19/A174 Parkway Junction Improvement scheme near Middlesbrough paid a visit to Thornaby Academy to inspire and motivate younger students to take up a career in science or engineering.

The team includes employees from the client the Highways Agency, designer AECOM, contractor Costain and the A19 maintenance and operation concessionaire Autolink. The workshops will take place this week with students to build a model bridge.

The event is part of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North East ‘Bridges to Schools’ initiative, which teaches young people about bridge construction, teamwork and civil engineering.

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GAT Event Thursday 26th February

On Thursday 26th February, Thornaby Academy welcomed visitors from Teesside University and local businesses to create an ‘Apprentice’ style event with Gifted, Able and Talented students. At the start of the day, the students were given their brief- ‘Design a business enterprise use for the £200 Breakfast Club grant’.

For the rest of the day, students worked in mixed year group teams, supported by Teesside University Ambassadors, to generate their idea, develop the key components of their business plan and produce a video diary documenting their learning.

In the afternoon, a judging panel made up of a team of local experts viewed all ideas and presentations at the end of the Academy day alongside parents/carers and Academy staff. Students did an excellent job in pitching their ideas and explaining their journey from initial idea to final plan. The judging panel found it incredibly difficult to choose a winner as all ideas had been impressive, however they did chose ‘Team Invicta’ as winners. The winning team included Saffia Pawlett, Bethan Oliver-Williams, Habib Safi, Jake Porter and Katie Trainer.

This group will now work with Mr Collins and Miss Geragusian to spend their £200 grant and implement their business plan within the Academy.

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Sky Sports Mentor ‘Amanda Coulson’ visits TA sport leaders

Last week the Sports Leaders were lucky enough to spend the day with Olympic Boxer Amanda Coulson. She taught them the 6 keys to success and helped them plan and deliver a KS2 primary school session on the afternoon to students of Harewood Primary.

Amanda’s story was so inspirational’ (Chloe Reynolds, Y10)

We are in our fourth year partnership with the Sky Sports Mentor program and looking forward to next years visit already.


U13 Girls Cricket team

The U13 girls cricket team competed at the indoor regional finals for the Lord Taverner’s cup today in Durham. The girls beat Staindrop and Ferryhill to secure 1st position in their group, gaining a place in the semi-finals.

The girls fought hard during the semi-final but unfortunately lost against Hetton School  who were the over all winners of the competition. They had to remain focused and motivated to play against Durham Johnston for the 3rd/4th play off and even though they played very well they lost in the final over.

The girls came 4th in the competition which is a fantastic achievement and gives them a head start ready for the up and coming summer season.  Well played girls!


Lana and Sophie batting well against Hetton in the semi-final


Sosan bowling during the 3rd/4th position play off v Durham Johnston.


The U13 Girls Cricket team

Royal Marines Visit

Some of our Year 10 and 11 students had the opportunity to listen to a presentation on becoming a Royal Marine or any of the Armed Forces. Follow by an hours physical training where they were put through their paces.

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Sky Sports Mentor visits PE

Amanda Coulson (GB Boxing star) visited the Academy on Tuesday 20th January to deliver two boxing fitness sessions to Y9 students in the afternoon.

Students had a great time and learnt new skills in a sport they do not usually have access to within the curriculum.

“It was a really good experience to work with a professional Athlete, she got us moving around and taught us new skills”

IMG_9984 Larissa Hulme

Year 8 and Year 9 Visit Teesside University for a Motivational Experience

Working as a team in designing and creating their University

Working as a team in designing and creating their University

On Wednesday the 14th and Wednesday 21st of January all Year  8 and Year 9 students had the opportunity to attend an exciting  and engaging motivational day at Teesside University.

The motivational visit was designed to help raise student  aspirations. Students worked in groups, alongside Teesside  University Student Ambassadors on a variety of team building  activities that included an orientation task, University quiz,  designing and creating their own University, developing and  presenting their ideas for a new Music Festival.

These activities really helped to improve student’s enterprise skills, in particular their self-confidence, teamwork and presentation skills.

Many thanks to Teesside University for hosting these fantastic events.

Year 7 and 8 Parent consultation evening

It was fantastic to see so many parents on Monday evening at our consultation night. The conversation between parents, teachers and students is very important in ensuring the Academy fully supports and challenges your children to achieve their best.  Thank you to all parents who completed the survey at the end of the night, this provides us with information of what is going well and how we can continue to improve. Some key features of the survey results are as follows:

· Over 90% of parents agree that their children are enjoying their time at the Academy, feel safe and make progress

· Over 90%of parents are happy with rewards, enrichment and the range of subjects in the curriculum

· Over 90% of parents agree that the Academy is caring, friendly, well led, organised and supported their children when moving from primary school

· 98% of parents now agree that homework is good – ‘Show My Homework’ online is proving to be popular!

· 90% of parents agree that behaviour is good and concerns are dealt with quickly and effectively

It’s great to see that so many parents think we are doing a good job and your feedback is appreciated

Maryssa O’Connor