Ormiston Venture Academy secures prestigious funding for high-tech computer labs

Ormiston Venture Academy has been awarded a £40,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation to develop state-of-the-art computer science laboratories. The academy, which specialises in mathematics and computer science, will use the grant to become a centre of excellence for computer science and to deliver an enhanced curriculum in the subject.

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The funding, which was secured through a competitive application process, will be used to redevelop existing computer rooms into cutting edge computing laboratories, fully integrated with the latest technology, including a coding lab with facilities for game design and robotics. The academy will also develop a new Virtual Reality Lab.

With its focus on maths and science, Ormiston Venture Academy seeks to prepare students for jobs in the digital economy. It seeks to inspire more students to go on to study the subjects at sixth form or college and the academy has developed strong links with post-16 providers, creating clear progression routes for students.

The funding will allow the academy to build on this important work and to offer even more exciting opportunities for students, such as access to new virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) programming tools. Both VR and AR are key growth areas in computing and the skills that students develop during their time at the academy will help to prepare them for the jobs of the future.

The virtual reality lab will also allow students to go on virtual field trips and go inside a computer to see how the circuitry and microprocessor work – bringing intangible concepts to life.

The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity which awards grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science, health, education, the arts, and humanities. Through its secondary education programme, the Foundation supports the teaching of A-Levels and GCSEs at high-achieving state-funded schools and sixth form colleges, providing funds for the provision of high-quality buildings and equipment.

Ormiston Venture Academy was rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2013 in its first inspection since becoming an academy and has also been a National Teaching School since 2014, in recognition of its work to drive up aspirations and achievement.

The academy’s four watch words are “aspire, achieve, create, and innovate” and it seeks to provide a student-centred, personalised and innovative learning environment. Through its creative curriculum, the academy also embraces critical thinking, new technologies and the use of best and innovative practice to transform learning and teaching and foster outstanding achievement.

Simon Gilbert-Barnham, Principal of Ormiston Venture Academy, said:

"We are extremely grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for this important funding, which will enable us to give our students access to the very best facilities in which to learn, explore and develop their digital skills.

"At Ormiston Venture, we are hugely ambitious for our students. We are committed to enhancing students’ opportunities and raising their aspirations in an exciting and innovative way. We want them to leave the academy equipped to thrive in a digital world and to fulfil their potential with no limitations."

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said:

"We live in an increasingly digital world and the Wolfson Foundation is delighted to support Ormiston Venture Academy in its aim to provide excellent facilities and teaching in computer science. 

"Technology is ever evolving and we were impressed by the Academy’s desire to inspire young scientists by providing them with state-of-the-art facilities. We hope that the new facilities will be both inspirational – and fun."