Ground-breaking Digital Technologies Academy set to open in central Birmingham

BOA Digital, an innovative 11-18 academy, gets the go-ahead from the Department for Education.

0 Logo BOA

The Department for Education has given the green light to BOA Digital, an innovative academy that will build on the success of Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA), the specialist performing arts school in central Birmingham.

The new academy will follow in the footsteps of its sister academy BOA in its commitment to providing a great traditional education whilst widening opportunities and realising passion and potential.

BOA Digital will provide a distinctive education through a digital and creative curriculum, delivered in partnership with industry professionals and academic partners, including Birmingham City University. Plans for the school are being drawn up in consultation with key creative and digital industry leaders, who are keen to see a school that can address the skills shortage in this sector.

Academy leaders at BOA, a 14–19 academy specialising in creative, digital and performing arts, were approached to open a new school thanks to their strong track record running one of the country’s leading academic and vocational institutions. The proposal to open BOA Digital received endorsement from Birmingham City Council and the Regional Schools Commissioner's office, amongst others.

BOA Digital will benefit from the expertise of BOA’s senior leadership, with Gaynor Cheshire, currently Principal at BOA, set to step up to become Executive Principal and CEO of both academies. Both academies will be sponsored by Ormiston Trust and Birmingham City University, and will be linked with numerous creative industries. Its curriculum will be delivered by both teachers and skilled industry professionals.

The BOA leadership team have ambitious plans for further expansion within Birmingham, including a bid for a third school within the BOA Group, BOA Technical, which is currently being considered by the Department for Education.

BOA is rated “Good” by Ofsted and has consistently achieved results well above the national average, including in the most recent GCSEs, with at least 76% of students achieving A*–C grades in English and maths and a 100% pass rate on the GCSE Pathway Programme.

Gaynor Cheshire, Principal at Birmingham Ormiston Academy, said: “We are thrilled that our plans to open a specialist digital academy, for which there is a groundswell of support amongst local and key digital industry leaders, have received the seal of approval. We are so excited to launch BOA Digital, a milestone in our mission of working with the country's top young talent to teach and train the digital leaders of tomorrow.

“It is our aim to develop students academically and vocationally, so that they leave the academy as independent, creative young people ambitious to work in the digital technologies. BOA Digital will provide a unique range of learning experiences which will prepare its students for both higher education and employment.”

Toby Salt, CEO of Ormiston Academies Trust, part of Ormiston Trust, said: “I am delighted that BOA Digital has been approved to offer world-class digital and creative opportunities to young people in Birmingham. BOA does fantastic work to widen opportunities and help students realise their potential, and the approval of BOA Digital comes at such an important moment in the growth of the digital and creative industries."

Jonnie Turpie MBE, Founding Partner of BOA and Chair of BOA Digital, said: “It is brilliant that our plans to launch BOA Digital, an academy like no other in its focus on the digital and creative technologies, have been approved. The leadership team at the BOA Group are proud to work with our academic, pan-industry and digital sector partners to equip our young, diverse and talented people to tackle the challenges and prepare for the opportunities of the future. I am very much looking forward to contributing to the continued success of BOA and kick-starting BOA Digital.”

Gurdip Bhangoo, Head of Future Skills & Events at BBC Academy and Board Member of BOA Digital, said: “The go-ahead for BOA Digital comes at such an important and exciting time, following the BBC Academy's launch in Birmingham and the plans for a new base for BBC Three, also to be located in Birmingham. The city is thriving, and I look forward to seeing BOA Digital contribute to the creative buzz around the digital industries.”