State Schools, Academies & Colleges
The Mercers’ Company’s secondary schools in the maintained sector are each descended from the first, Thomas Telford School, a City Technology College in Telford in the West Midlands. Jointly sponsored by the Mercers’ Company and Tarmac plc, it opened in 1991 and has 1300 pupils, boys and girls, with over 400 in the sixth form. It regularly tops the examination league tables for comprehensive schools and is nationally known for its developments in the field of ICT in learning. It has supported many other schools in gaining specialist status, in school improvement, and in teacher training, and is now a National Teaching School.
The Mercers’ Academies share the Thomas Telford approach, and have each evolved according to their specialisms and local context. All three West Midlands academies have former Thomas Telford deputies as Heads, and there is a significant amount of joint working between the schools.
Walsall Academy, opened in September 2003 and replaced a former local authority school, T P Riley. Co-sponsored by the Mercers’ Company and Thomas Telford School, Walsall Academy has Design and Technology, Science and Performing Arts as its specialisms. There are over 1100 students, both girls and boys, with 250 in the 6th form.
Sandwell Academy opened in September 2006 as a brand new school, with Sport and Business as its specialisms. It has 1200 students, boys and girls, with 300 in the 6th form, and is sponsored by the Mercers’ Company, Thomas Telford School, West Bromwich Albion Football Club, HSBC and Tarmac plc.
Madeley Academy in South Telford began its life as Madeley Court School, and in 2003 entered into a school improvement agreement with Thomas Telford. Results and enrolments improved markedly and Madeley subsequently gained Academy status with Thomas Telford School as lead sponsor, and moved into new buildings in 2009. It has 900 students, and a new 6th form in 2011.
The newest Mercer school, opened in September 2011, is Hammersmith Academy in West London, co-sponsored with the Information Technologists’ Company. It will by 2015 grow to 780 students and has specialisms in IT and Creative and Digital Media.
The Company has two outstanding 6th Form Colleges in its group:
The College of Richard Collyer, in Horsham, West Sussex; and Peter Symonds College in Winchester. Both are Beacon Colleges focusing mainly on 16-19 education and also offering adult learning classes. Both founders were Mercers, and in the case of Collyer’s, the Mercers’ Company continues to appoint Trustees in line with Richard Collyer’s will of 1532. Between them the colleges teach some 4500 students age 16-19 (most of whom go on to university), and have enormous expertise in this aspect of education.
The Royal Ballet School shares a common interest in Covent Garden with the Mercers’ Company. With its Junior School in Richmond Park, it provides a distinctive contribution to the Mercers’ Association of Schools.
Last but not least, the Mercers’ Company in recent years has cemented links with two inner London Primary Schools who each do superbly effective work in challenging areas of the capital: Holy Trinity & St. Silas CE Primary School in Camden, and Culloden Primary School in Tower Hamlets.