UCL News


UCL Academy: five successful years

18 January 2018

It has been five years since the UCL Academy opened its doors to the local community.

UCL Academy: five successful years This was the first time that a school had been established under the sole sponsorship of a university, and has provided a unique opportunity for the secondary and tertiary education sectors to come together to pioneer new approaches to education.


During the lifetime of the Academy, Professor David Price (Vice-Provost, Research) has been Chair of Governors. Now that David is stepping down, there is an opportunity to reflect on the progress of the school so far.

Professor Price says, "I was motivated to take on the role of Chair because the UCL Academy resonates so well with the view of UCL as being in London, of London and for London, and of UCL being a university that makes a real impact. This is core to UCL's strategy."

Of course there are have been challenges along the way. Professor Price remembers, "The first term of the school when we had no building but the wonderful way everyone worked together to make sure the students weren't at a disadvantage."

During that first term, some of the teaching took place in the lecture halls and science laboratories at UCL. This started a tradition that continues with students continuing to visit to this day.

Professor Price continues, "It has been a huge pleasure to work with Geraldine (Founding Principal) and her staff and wonderful to see the great success achieved by the students in sport, academic development and their personal development. The first GCSE results were a resounding success for the students". 60% of the students attained a "strong pass" (grade 5) in both English and Maths GCSE, far in excess of the national average of 39%."

Geraldine Davies, Founding Principal of the UCL Academy says, "As Founding Principal it was an honour and pleasure  to work with David, an exceptional Chair of Governors. The  success of the UCL Academy is a testament to David's wisdom, support and encouragement  during its crucial formative years."

Working together

A mentoring programme has been running successful for several years, with UCL undergraduate and postgraduate students with face-to-face and online mentoring sessions taking place using the Brightside mentoring platform. The aim being to help support UCL Academy students make informed decisions about their future.

The interactions between UCL and the UCL Academy go beyond the students though, as the aspirations for innovative pedagogy and learning begin to take shape.

For example, an Arena event, which was hosted at the UCL Academy, had around 40 academics attending from UCL. UCL Academy staff presented to the academics on a variety of areas, including english as an additional language and pedagogy. The success of the event means that it is now scheduled to be held termly at the Academy.

The links between the Academy and UCL are fostering a sense of community that will grow in the future as new projects begin and existing links strengthen. Upcoming projects will look at how the joint activities map to student progress and will work toward the Academy being recognised as a centre of excellence for innovative teaching and learning and of the 'education of the whole person'.

New UCL Academy Chair of Governors

Professor Lucie Green, UCL Space and Climate Physics (also known as MSSL) takes on the role of Chair of Governors from 2018.