PRESS RELEASE – The Inspiration Academy April 2017



The traditional ground-breaking ceremony was carried out recently for the new Inspiration Academy opening September 2017 as part of The Leigh UTC campus on the Bridge development in Dartford.

As part of the ceremony, representatives from the building contractors (BAM), architects (Jestico Whiles), local councillor, Tom Maddison for Dartford North and the Education Funding Agency met on site with Leigh Academies Trust Executives and the senior leadership team from The Leigh UTC.

A short speech from Principal Steve Leahey preceded the felling of a tree and the ceremonial cutting of the first sod from the site.   The Leigh UTC governing board is extremely excited by the expansion of the site and the opportunities it will bring to younger students from across Dartford and the surrounding area.  It is seen as a great show of support from the Department for Education for all the wonderful achievements already celebrated at The Leigh UTC in its first three years of operation and firmly establishes it in the growing community on the Bridge development.



“The Leigh UTC was recently rated outstanding by Ofsted for its educational and sector-wide leadership. In 2016 it was the best attaining UTC nationally for academic achievement. The DfE and Kent Council Council now want us to make our superb curriculum opportunities available to younger pupils. Inspiration Academy will enable just that. In its first year and before it is even open, Inspiration Academy is heavily over-subscribed. The plan had been to take 120 pupils into year 7, but after further local pressure, we have already expanded this to 140. Our brand new building will ensure there are no better chances for a high-quality education for young people across the region than this.”

Simon Beamish

Chief Executive

Leigh Academies Trust

Local businesses support EPQ presentations at The Leigh UTC


During three days of presentations, Year 13 I.T. and engineering students at The Leigh UTC were put through their paces by panels comprised of local business people.

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) projects that students have now completed included a vast range of subjects from a dissertation on stem cell research to practical tasks such as building an electric guitar from scratch. Each student chose their own project and presented to their panel on their initial idea through to a comprehensive evaluation of methodology and outcome.

Having industry professionals appraise their work added a “real life” dimension to each and every presentation and The Leigh UTC would like to thank the following:

Rob Murray, Dovetail Games-

Jenna Wells, Hollowells Business Support-

Geoff Mainwaring, Orchard Garage Ltd-

Cintia Bailey, Ken Whyte and Juliet Umeibekwe- Connect Plus Services

“The experience taught us to be mature in a business like environment.” Akeem Rhoden

“Seeing professional faces that you have not seen before throws you in the deep end and makes you better articulate your project. Knowing that there would be business partners in the room made me prepare my project presentation more.” Gio Savva



The Leigh UTC staged the first round of the Bloodhound SSC Model Rocket Car Competition on Wednesday 29th March.

The Leigh UTC was represented by 3 teams with cars entered by Tyler Draper, Hayden Thomsett and James Biscoe. St. Olave’s School had 3 teams and Dartford Bridge Primary submitted 5 teams.  With 11 cars in total, it was a busy afternoon.

The students were assisted by men from the Royal Signals and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME)

The secondary school category was won by St. Olave’s with a speed of 31.68mph and The fastest car from Dartford Bridge managed a top speed of 31.46mph.

The two winning teams go on to the regional final, to be held next term at the UTC!  The challenge becomes a lot tougher as the students will have a maximum of 1 hour to prepare a car from scratch… we wish them luck.  With a first prize of a trip to South Africa to see the real Bloodhound car go for the world land speed record, there is a lot to work for

The Leigh UTC is already planning for next year’s competition and we will be looking to put in a record breaking performance.




The MoD support engineering project at The Leigh UTC

The MoD recently supported students at The Leigh UTC with their Btec Level 3 Engineering: Unit 3 engineering project. The brief was to design and build a robot that could remotely disarm an IED (improvised explosive device) by cutting a wire. Students worked in small teams to create their solutions using the VEX robotics kits.

As part of the support, the MoD invited all the year 13 engineers to the IEDD (improvised Explosive Device Disposal) training facility in Warwickshire. Here, students were taught about IEDs and how the MoD currently respond to the threat. The students were able to operate some of the current RCVs used by the MoD. This experience was key to the students understanding the brief and the real world application of their project.

On completion of the project, four staff members from the MoD visited the UTC to form a panel for the students to present their final work to. Each group presented their robotic solution to the panel and answered questions from them. They each then demonstrated the success of their robot, navigating their bot across the sand and rock terrain in the test site set up in the workshop to find the mock device and disarm it.

The MoD were impressed with the work carried out by the students over the duration of the project and are keen to support the UTC next year.

Leigh UTC students support STEM activities

Leigh UTC students from years 10 and 12 participated in an event yesterday at Nottingham Forest Football Club supporting KS2 students through a wide range of STEM activities.

It was a very intensive, but rewarding day which all students gained a great deal from. It was a pleasure to see how quickly older and younger students built a strong rapport achieving very high outcomes across the entire range of activities. These included building a resilient helipad for the RAF, drag racers powered by elastic bands and ‘slow marble machines’.

Well done to all involved!

sem-pic-1 sem-pic-2 sem-pic-3


The Leigh Academies Trust is committed that all of their Academies have either successfully achieved or are working towards the Investor in Careers award



The Leigh Academies Trust is committed that all of their Academies have either successfully achieved or are working towards the Investor in Careers award.

Investor in Careers is a quality assurance award, which analyses the whole careers education programme. This award is held for a period of three years and every School/Academy will need to be reassessed to maintain the award.

To date the majority of the Senior Academies have the full award and The Leigh UTC have been successful with Stage 1of the award and are now working towards Stage 2 with the view to achieving Stage 2 of the award by the end of May 2017.

The UTC has a robust Careers Education programme which falls within the   employer-led curriculum that reflects the diversity of engineering and ICT.

Students are involved in significant project based learning, which enhances their learning and prepares the students for either an academic route into university or an employer route into a higher level apprenticeship.

A comprehensive Careers section of the website has been put together with students and staff to ensure that all students have access to up to date information on different routes either into further education, apprenticeships or employment.

For further information on either the award or your sons/daughters entitlement, please do not hesitate to contact the Trust Careers Advisor Lesley Tannock on