Alec Hunter Academy,BRAINTREE, ESSEX, THE UK

Alec Hunter Academy is an 11-16 comprehensive school in Braintree, Essex, of 970 pupils, 1 hour's train ride from London and 15 minutes by car from Stansted Airport.  Braintree has a population of around 50,000 and the school mainly serves the community in East Braintree.  The students are considered to be of around average ability on entry (national measures of English and Maths skills) but of a lower socio-economic group than average.  Around 8% of students are non-white British, originating from a range of European and Asian backgrounds.  We are part of the Saffron Academy Trust which means that the school has strong links with another school in Essex, Saffron Walden Academy, and there are many opportunities to work collaboratively.  Because of the economic success of London, Braintree and Essex are relatively affluent but families in the area did suffer in the economic downturn and 25% of our students to come from the most deprived backgrounds (the Government defines these students as Pupil Premium students and the school attracts additional funding to support their academic development).    As a school community we tend to think that our students generally come from culturally poor backgrounds.  Despite living so close to London, many of our students and their parents rarely leave the town.  We are always keen to broaden their horizon which is why we have previously participated in a Comenius programme in 2012 - 2013.  The programme was hugely successful in changing attitudes to culture and encouraging participation in projects.