Free school story: Marine Academy Primary

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At the Marine Academy Primary in Plymouth, pupils learn through a curriculum built around the nautical heritage of their city to help them connect with its past and prepare for its future.

This school was started by an existing secondary school - the Marine Academy – and its curriculum is based around marine themes which relate to Plymouth’s history as a city of the sea and its future as a place where marine industries will play a crucial part in its prosperity. Trips to the local area bring this learning to life, with pupils this year already benefiting from a trip to the beach to think about journeys across the sea and a visit to the fish market to help their designs for when building boats.

Located on the same site as the Marine Academy, the school also shows the benefits of joining up education into an all-through experience. Primary pupils have been benefiting from extra support from students at the sixth form who are interested in teaching, whilst the staff at the primary school have been able to train some of the secondary school teachers in how they can use phonics to support pupils who struggle with reading.

And as is fitting for a school with such a local flavour, this is a free school with deep roots in the community. MAP's founding Headteacher was also acting as the Head of a local community school, which he has led out of special measures, and the school also has strong links with Plymouth University, Cornwall College and Plymouth City Council – who are all involved as sponsors.