25 November 2021

Excelerate expands network of schools in Aberdeenshire

The Wood Foundation has expanded its Excelerate network in the North-east, investing in an additional three Aberdeenshire schools.

Excelerate is an education investment with ambition for system-level change. Schools receive professional learning, are supported to engage their communities, and join collaborative and supportive networks.

The new schools are: Aboyne, Mintlaw and Mackie Academies. They are joined by Harlaw, Oldmachar, St Machar and Bucksburn Academies in Aberdeen City embarking on the investment this academic year. In Aberdeenshire, Portlethen, Kemnay, Alford and Banff academies have been part of the network for a number of years.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council's Education and Children's Services Committee, commented: "Working with partners strengthens our ability to help prepare young people for further learning, life and work. This comes in many forms, from work placements to community projects and much more. Excelerate is an outstanding example of how our schools are being supported to go one step further in terms of bringing the curriculum to life, working alongside local businesses and community partners and delivering interdisciplinary and project-based learning opportunities."

The Wood Foundation launched Excelerate in autumn 2019 following three years of in-depth, international research and collaboration engaging Banff, Alford, Portlethen and Kemnay Academies.

The goal of the investment is to engage, inform, motivate, and empower young people in their education. Excelerate provides schools with the tools and access to inspiration to develop education experiences which better prepare all students for life after school.

In 2020/21, The Wood Foundation invested more than £100,000 in professional learning opportunities for 150 practitioners. Read a 2020/21 report and more detail about the ambition for 2021/22.
Ali MacLachlan, UK Director at The Wood Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be expanding the reach of our investment and network. There is a willingness and mandate for change. What we want to empower through Excelerate is exposure to inspiration, tools, and collaborations which support schools to put change into practice to best prepare our young people for the future.”

In the first year of investment, each school will develop a better understanding of their setting, community, and its needs, as well as undertaking professional learning and coaching.

The first cohort of schools will continue to receive professional learning and network support as they further develop and embed innovative approaches for learning and teaching.