Press Release

JCB Academy announces two key teaching appointments
The £22 million JCB Academy has appointed two Vice Principals who will help lead the teaching team that will specialise in training young the engineers and business leaders of the future.

Both Mark Henshaw and Ruth Umerah bring a wealth of experience and considerable academic achievement to the unique regional learning centre created for up to 540 pupils aged between 14 and 19 from Staffordshire, Derbyshire and the cities of Stoke-on-Trent and Derby.

The unique Academy - currently taking shape at historic Grade II listed building Tutbury Mill on the outskirts of the Staffordshire village of Rocester - welcomes its first intake of students in September 2010 and applications for a Year 10 place at the Academy should be submitted by no later than October 30th 2009.

As well as classroom learning with the very latest state-of-the-art engineering and IT equipment, students at the only school with such a dedicated curriculum will be provided with hands-on practical experience by main sponsor JCB, the Rocester-based global manufacturer of construction, agricultural and industrial equipment, and blue-chip partners such as Rolls Royce aero engines at Derby, the Toyota car plant in Derbyshire and train makers Bombardier.

Mark Henshaw joins the JCB Academy from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, where he was Assistant Headteacher.
Mark graduated with an honours degree in Product Design and a Certificate in Education from Loughborough University where his main project was the development of a simple robotic arm and interface for use in schools.

In addition to a number of prestigious qualifications related to the teaching of engineering and technology, Mark’s work has been officially recognised by the influential College of Teachers. At Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar he led a team of students who became runners-up in the national final of the Young Engineers for Britain competition.

Mark said of his appointment to the Academy: “ I’ve always got a tremendous buzz from seeing young people being inspired and excited by engineering. I am thrilled to be involved in a project like the JCB Academy which will take engineering and design education to a whole new level.”

Ruth Umerah has been recruited from Alleyne’s High School, Stone, where she was Senior Assistant Headteacher. She joined the school as Head of Business Studies and later headed a new faculty formed by the merger of the Business Studies and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) departments, completely turning around results which had fallen below the school and national averages.

As an Assistant Headteacher Ruth’s initial role was leading Alleyne’s in its re-designation as a specialist technical college while still leading the Business Studies/ICT Faculty. Then as Senior Assistant Headteacher and Director of Curriculum Ruth worked closely with the local authority in putting together a successful Diploma Gateway submission, as a result of which Alleyne’s is the only school in its district to offer the IT Diploma at level 2.

She said: “I firmly believe that the curriculum must be flexible enough to cater for not only the diverse learning styles of students, but also the variable pace at which they learn. The fact that the JCB Academy learning will be organised in a completely unique way is something I am very excited about being part of.”

Jim Wade, Principal of the JCB Academy, said: “The appointment of two people with such enviable track records in their respective spheres of education demonstrates the impressive calibre of teaching ability which the Academy will be offering. Mark and Ruth will provide effective leadership in delivering an inspiring and stimulating curriculum that focuses on business and engineering. The two are closely linked because engineers need to design and develop products for which there will be a demand.”

• To enrol or find out more about the JCB Academy visit or call 01889 593166.

Caption: Ruth Umerah and Mark Henshaw pictured at the JCB Academy.
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