New Copley principal's 'flagship' vision for school

Ruth Craven, the new principal at Copley Academy in Stalybridge, says she is excited to support the 630 young people in her care. 

During her career, Ruth has spent 24 years in education, and the last 15 years working across a wide range of different leadership roles.

Ruth (pictured) has helped drive and been instrumental in delivering change when academies have experienced very difficult and challenging times, plus has been a leader when academies have celebrated success.

At Oasis Academy Lister Park, located in Bradford, Ruth spearheaded the introduction of a new sixth form centre to support the provision of young people in the local area. 

Over her 12-year tenure more than 90 per cent of students regularly achieved their first-choice university place. 

Whilst at the academy Ruth swiftly moved into more senior roles whilst having a positive impact on developing the curriculum to ensure that it was fit for purpose to accommodate the next generation of learners.

Ruth then took on the role of deputy headteacher at Crofton Academy in Wakefield where she was responsible for Outcomes, Curriculum and Assessment.

Ruth said: “I strongly believe that if you have children who feel safe, who have self-worth and who feel confident, they can go on to be successful learners in the future. Copley Academy will offer a first class education to our community and this will be reinforced by pastoral support and wrap around care throughout their time with us. 

“It’s about raising aspirations, so students actually have an ambition for when they leave the academy. I want their journey here to have a purpose where they experience an ambitious curriculum that’s going to enable them to succeed in realising their aspirations. My aim is for our students to be able to access the pathways that they aspire to post-16, which could be onto college, university or modern apprenticeships.”   

The academy, which was given an inadequate rating by Ofsted following its inspection in June 2018, has received subsequent visits in 2020 and 2021.

In the latest reports submitted by Ofsted, Copley Academy has received positive feedback on the improvements to leadership and student provision throughout the academy.      

Ofsted commented on the encouraging developments made by leadership during lockdown to ensure that subject curriculums have been adapted so that they can be delivered in classrooms as well as to those students who have to work remotely. 

The steps taken means that all students are being provided with education in the current circumstances. Effective steps to ensure that students with SEND can continue to access a broad curriculum during national restrictions were also positively mentioned.

Students who spoke with Ofsted during the inspection said that they enjoyed being at the academy and valued the help that they receive. 

Year 9 students felt well supported with careers advice, including the guidance that they receive about choosing GCSE option subjects.

Ruth, who is from Brighouse, in West Yorkshire, wants to make the academy a real hub within the Stalybridge community and local area.

“My vision for Copley Academy is that it is a flagship hub within the community that not only delivers a first  class provision for our students, but benefits our families and wider community in the opportunities we offer. 

“As leaders in education we have a privileged role in influencing future generations by ensuring students are role models and citizens who will have a positive impact in the communities we serve,” she said. 

“I know our students have so much potential and we have a responsibility to ensure they are successful in realising their aspirations.” 

Pictures by Anthony Devlin

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