Specialist Hackney school to combine boxing ethos and academics

PE class, at The Boxing Academy, Hackney.

PE class, at The Boxing Academy, Hackney. 17.12.14 - Credit: Archant

A specialist boxing school is set to open as a free school in September 2016, offering an education to more of the borough’s vulnerable and underachieving students.

The Boxing Academy, in Hackney Grove, will be able to take on more pupils and expand its curriculum after being approved to convert to an Alternative Provision Free School.

The move comes as part of a “landmark wave” of new schools announced by Prime Minister David Cameron on March 9.

The conversion means the school can taking its roll to 56, and will expand its curriculum to eight GCSEs, including English and maths, instead of the current five.

Having registered as a charity in 2007, The Boxing Academy already provides a full-time alternative education for students facing exclusion, using the discipline and ethos of boxing.

While boxing is not compulsory for students, the sport’s philosophy is applied to help them channel their aggression and learn discipline and teamwork.

Pupils are mentored by boxers, while gaining their qualifications.

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Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Delivering the best schools and skills for young people is a crucial part of our long term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain.

“Free schools set up by teachers, parents and community groups are not only outperforming other schools, but they are raising the performance of those around them, meaning more opportunities for children to learn the skills they need to get on in life.”

Students will be referred from more than 25 schools in seven London boroughs, while remaining on roll at their mainstream school.

Anna Cain, chief executive and head of the Boxing Academy said: “We are delighted to receive approval for our bid to become a Free School. For the last seven years as a charity we have been successful while being reliant on voluntary donations to supplement our income and provide a full-time alternative to exclusion. The AP Free School route means that we can stabilise our core operation, expand our curriculum and plan for the future to make sure that we achieve the best possible outcomes for our students, without having to compromise the unique and innovative method.

“This is an exciting opportunity.”

The new school is one of three free schools to open in Hackney in 2016, alongside the existing Hackney New School.