Broadway Academy

Broadway Academy converted in July 2013 and serves an area of significant social and economic disadvantage

Almost all of the school’s students are from minority ethnic backgrounds and speak English as an additional language, and therefore the community reflects a range of cultures and faiths.

An Ofsted inspection in 2011 found the schools promotion of community cohesion to be outstanding and praised Broadway for using this as a lever for school improvement.

The whole school is the Community Centre

Broadway was the first school in Birmingham to benefit from the Building Schools for the Future programme moving from a split site to consolidation on one campus. In January 2011 the school opened its new facilities after a £21m programme of part new build and refurbishment. An additional £3.1m of capital investment was also secured from Aston Pride (a New Deal for Communities partnership) to enhance facilities specifically for the community to and, including an on-site Community Police Station and Community ‘Haven’. The Haven was initially to host the council’s Youth Services but this decision was reversed due to funding cuts. The Haven is now used by charities, inter-faith groups, cadets and for adult education. The Haven is part of the school site but there is a separate entrance allowing groups to access the building independently.

Birmingham City Council’s Leisure Services department had run community use from the school, but in December 2010 this arrangement was terminated as the community use programme was not profitable. This left the Governors with a decision to make, and after a period of consultation it was decided that the school would take on the management of community use in-house on the understanding that the community use should have a positive impact on school life.

Facilities

The whole school is the ‘community centre’ and any part can be used out of hours by groups including classrooms, ICT suites etc. 

“Sport Facilities account for three quarters of community use”

However, the sports facilities account for three quarters of community use at Broadway. 

These include:
Sports Hall – 4 Badminton Court sized
Main Hall - ICT enabled and used for Asian weddings, conferences, Zumba etc.
All Weather Pitch – 3G floodlit ¾ sized
MUGA – 5 basketball court sized
Classrooms for coaching - with interactive whiteboards
Drama/ Dance Studio –10m x 10m with sprung floor, mirrors and ICT enabled
Small Hall - 1 badminton sized hall (old gymnasium) now used for cheerleading, 5 aside, dutch ball, private badminton etc.
Fitness suite - with approx 20 workstations which are a mix of cardio and resistance

As the community use is outside of school hours, the community can access the student changing rooms which can accommodate approx 100 at one time. The Cafe is also open during community hours.

Type of community users

There are 65 different groups currently using the facilities each week, as well as some ‘pay and play’ individual use of the fitness suite and badminton court.

Groups which book the centre on a regular basis include Cadets, Scouts, Fitness groups, Stoke City FC Academy, Badminton Clubs (including Women Only and Disabled Members Club), Premier League Kickz programme, various football clubs, ECB inner city cricket initiative, youth forums and similar organisations that play a variety of different sports week by week (such as Badminton, Asian Volleyball) Cheerleaders and GB Aikido squad. The centre is also used by other groups such as homework clubs, spiritual and faith groups.

Management model

The community use is managed directly by the school using a proactive management style which has seen community bookings grow rapidly, now reaching near capacity. The school directly employ 5 Community Centre Supervisors who manage the community use and 8 Stewards who assist, working on a rota basis. Alongside them a Caretaker is provided by Catalyst Lend Lease who acts as keyholder and deals with the Facility Management including cleaning, wear and tear and insurance. (The school is tied into a 25 year PFI FM contract with Catalyst Lend Lease).

Making it work

The Community Centre is open 6pm – 10pm Monday to Friday, Saturday 9am – 9pm and Sunday 9am – 7pm. There is a very clear definition between the school and the community hours.

Financials

It costs approx £100,000 per year to run the community use at the school and the majority of this goes on staffing costs (The PFI Facility Management charge is £16 to £17 per hour). The governors have stipulated that charges for community use should be kept to a minimum to cover costs but without making profit. Any excess is fed back into improving the facilities and funding related programmes for the students. The fees are competitively priced and are lower than Birmingham City Council Leisure Services but there is growing competition from other schools.

“The community use must have an impact on school life”

Long term users are provided with discounts in an open and transparent way. For example, Badminton England receive a discount from the school for a mutually beneficial arrangement whereby a local club delivers a Badminton after school club one evening and then uses the facilities themselves. This provides students with an easily accessible school club link.

Design

The school is flexible and any area of the school can be made accessible for community use with prior arrangement. Groups do not store equipment on site and this avoids issues regarding storage capacity and handling equipment. 

The main reception is the only entrance used for security reasons and this makes it easy to manage. The entrance leads to the ‘knowledge exchange’ which is a large foyer area where the cafe is situated, from this hub the different teaching areas including the sports facilities lead off. The school site is surrounded by houses so there is only one entrance to the site which again makes it easy to manage and keep secure.

Marketing

Groups were initially made aware of the facilities available as part of a community consultation process which gauged interest. Community access is now marketed using a variety of low budget methods including the school website, newsletter, banners outside the school, word of mouth and through strong representation on the CSPAN group (Community Sport and Physical Activity Network). 

“Safeguarding and Child protection were important issues to the school and governors”

As community access is almost at capacity, the challenge is retaining the groups that currently use the facilities. A suggestion box and surveys are used to gain feedback and rate satisfaction levels from community users and ‘one to ones’ are also carried out with long term user groups.

Main Challenges

One of the main challenges for the school has been negotiating the various contracts to ensure community use remains financially viable. This involved lengthy discussions with the PFI Facility Management Provider as they were required to provide a member of caretaking staff during community hours for insurance purposes. It helped that the Broadway was the first BSF school in Birmingham as the private partner was keen to establish good relationships.

An ongoing challenge is ensuring good communication and is maintained between the school employed community team and the privately contracted member of staff. Getting the right people into place was key to this – The Community Centre Supervisors include teaching and support staff from the school and community members.

As a local authority school Broadway were able to access the City Council standard contracts for community user groups which were adapted to meet their own needs. It was important to the school not to turn anyone away and to be open and transparent regarding their pricing policy so that, for example all faith groups receive an equitable rate. It was also important to encourage a good balance of groups which reflected the whole community (not a policy but something which was considered) - all of which nurtures the positive ethos of the Community Centre.

Safeguarding and child protection were also important issues to the school and governors. There were concerns that if an incident was to happen on the school site, even if it involved an external group, this would reflect negatively on the school. Therefore community user groups are required to produce their own safeguarding policy and also sign to agree they will adhere to the school safeguarding policy. As part of the contract process the user groups must also agree to be responsible for their members’ behaviour, health and safety and adhere to the schools child protection policy in order to fulfil the school’s public liability insurance.

Benefits

Community Access at the school is intended to have a positive impact on the Students through an improvement in attendance and behaviour, an increase in participation (particularly in physical activity) and by raising aspirations of all students but especially those disaffected.

“The number of incidents occurring has already dramatically reduced”

The community groups offer tangible benefits to the students through mentoring and guidance programmes and by assisting the school in delivering a range of programmes. This includes lunchtime and afterschool activities including inter-sport clubs and a Sunday Soccer School with incentives including tickets to Wolverhampton Wanderers provided by the club. Community use also offers employment and leadership opportunities for students. Those working towards FA level one coaching awards support the youth group organised sport sessions, and the Sixth Formers on the BTEC course develop their coaching and leadership skills in a real life environment.

There are also pathways for gifted students to link to city wide groups, encouraging students to travel across the city to access clubs (city wide travel is a cultural barrier for some students)

The school have set out to evidence the impact community use is having through a number of measurements including the number of incidents and detentions recorded during lunchtime as well as feedback from students and teachers. The school have already identified that the number of lunchtime incidents occurring have dramatically reduced.

Top Tips

There are four key areas that the school view as vital to achieving successful community access:
1. Getting your Systems Tight- including management, bookings and security
2. Getting your Policy Right –including equity of community users (such as providing an open and transparent pricing policy)
3. Right Contracts in place – with staff , community user groups and external partners
4. Being Safe- putting safety of students first.

Contact details

Paul Rotheram – Assistant Head, PE Teacher and Community Centre Manager
Email: p.rotheram@broadway-academy.co.uk
www.broadway-academy.co.uk

School Profile

Type: Academy Converter Gender: Mixed
Age range: 11-18 Size:1195 with Community Users: 80,000 per year (approx.)
Location: Inner city, Perry Barr, Birmingham PFI school
Management Model: Direct management by school

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