- 1,600 pupils
- Sixth form for the first time in Darwen
- Entrepreneurship specialism
Darwen Aldridge Community Academy
The Academy at a glance
Located in Darwen, a Lancashire town of over 40,000 in population, the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) opened in the predecessor school buildings in September 2008. The Academy moved to its new town centre location in September 2010. The state of the art building features an entrepreneurship bridge, Darwen Creates. The Academy sixth form brought back a new education offer for post 16 students. The outstanding new facilities at the Academy are accessible to the wider Darwen community, and staff and students are delighted.
In October 2008, the opening was marked by held an impressive Founders' Day, addressed by the Sponsor Sir Rod Aldridge, showcasing the first few weeks of the Academy. It was run by the students and attended by families, the Mayor, the local MP, officials from the Local Authority and members of the business and wider local community. In 2011, within 2 years of opening, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy was a finalist in the Academy of the Year category at the Education Investor Awards, Staff and students were extremely proud to have made the shortlist after only being open for a short time.
On 11th April 2011 Prince William and Kate Middleton officially opened Darwen Aldridge Community Academy as one of the last official engagements they carried out before their wedding later that month. Prince William praised the “wonderful, innovative, ground-breaking" academy and stated “I am convinced the academy will transform the lives of families in Darwen and, through its example, countless others elsewhere .."
As of 2012 the Academy has seen record A level Results with a pass rate of 99.4% and the overall pass rate at GCSE at 98% with the percentage of students gaining at least five GCSEs including English and mathematics GCSE at 56%. Students achieve these results following the National Curriculum and they experience high standards of teaching and learning but with a notably different curriculum structure.
There is regular emphasis and assessment of the specialisms of entrepreneurship and sport. DACA has developed the following six characteristics of entrepreneurship which are embedded across all aspects of Academy life to raise the potential of students.
- Problem solving
- Risk taking
- Team work
DART - Darwen Art
DART is a student led social enterprise which selling and exhibiting artwork and contemporary products produced by British artisans, including young people and members of the local community.
Brendan Loughran, Principal
Brendan Loughran is Principal and Chief Executive of Darwen Aldridge Community Academy. He was appointed in January 2007 as Principal Designate and has been Principal of the Academy since it opened in September 2008.
In its state of the art building Darwen Aldridge Community Academy offers students and members of the community a uunique resource to help turn business ideas into reality - DarwenCreates.
Pegasus is a unique art installation within the community atrium at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy. Receiving majority funding from Bowmer & Kirkland - the construction engineers who built DACA - and The Aldridge Foundation, Pegasus is formed from recycled horseshoes and stainless steel. He was created by young entrepreneur and artist Tom Hill.
NESTA Neighbourhood Challenge – Stand Out in Darwen
The Aldridge Foundation and Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) have recently received funding from Big Lottery to enable us to find out exactly what local Darwen people want and need in their community and respond to their requests.