The Fermain Academy Macclesfield is rated Outstanding by Ofsted in its first inspection


Youth Fed is rightly proud of the part it has played in this amazing success story.

The ‘outstanding’ Fermain Academy was built upon the Youth Fed’s Youth Achievement Foundation (YAF) based in the original Fermain Club, Oxford Road Macclesfield. Originally part of UK Youth’s National YAF Programme, the Macclesfield YAF pioneered alternative approaches to working with young people who struggled in mainstream education. Working within a goals-based curriculum and in partnership with the local education authority and local schools, the YAF emphasized and celebrated each small success and provided a superb education to hundreds of young people between 2008 and 2014.

Recognized within the 2012 Taylor Report as an example of how youth work approaches can engage and inspire young people, Youth Fed and UK Youth used the model to create a Free School proposal. The then Secretary of State for Education; Michael Gove awarded Youth Fed the funding to establish the Fermain Academy in 2014. Led by Youth Fed’s CEO Chris Hindley, the implementation team helped design the new school building, create an engaging curriculum and recruit the staff team who would deliver our vision and in September 2015 the Fermain Academy opened.

Under the leadership of Head Teacher Nic Brindle the school has flourished. Reflecting on the report Mr Brindle said: “It’s a cracking report. It’s the first inspection we’ve had so we are very pleased. To get outstanding is a rarity across the county, particularly for those offering alternative provision (AP).”

He added: “Some AP schools don’t push their learners. Just because things have been difficult for them and they need more support, it doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of achieving what their peers in mainstream schools achieve.”

He added: “Kids come to our school for all kinds of reasons, they may have struggled to get on with a mainstream school, they may have autism or had a bereavement, or just fallen out of love with education.

“The inspector commented that all pupils including those who are looked after, disadvantaged, or with special educational needs, make similar fast paced improvements.”

Mr Brindle added that the next step is to become a precedent for all alternative provision education across the country, so all children have access to the best education.

The school was visited in June, with inspectors revealing their findings last week. The academy was awarded Outstanding in all five areas.

The inspectors praised the school’s leadership and the impeccable behaviour of the students.

In summary, the report said:

  • “Leaders, governors and staff have established a school that truly changes the lives of pupils and their families.
  • “Pupils typically join the school feeling demoralised. The school quickly builds their confidence and self-esteem. This underpins the excellent academic progress that they make.
  • “Pupils’ behaviour is impeccable. Staff teach them how to regulate their own behaviour.
  • “Teachers have very high expectations of pupils. They provide work that enables them to make rapid progress.”

Everyone at the Youth Fed wants to place on record their congratulations to Mr Brindle and his team and thank UK Youth and everyone involved with the creation of this outstanding school in East Cheshire

Youth Fed provides support to young people through a broad range of programmes dedicated to improving their lives and the communities in which they live. On average we work with 2,500 young people each month, this equates to more than 7,000 individual young people each year. Through our member youth organisations we are able to reach 55,000 young people each year across Cheshire, Warrington, Halton and Wirral.


For more information on Youth Fed visit or contact us on 0151 357 1971

UK Youth is a leading national charity committed to ensuring all young people are empowered to build bright futures, regardless of their background or circumstances.

It’s our mission to provide all young people with access to appropriate, high quality services in their local community or online.

We sit at the heart of a national network of members, brought together through our merger with Ambition, to support an estimated four million young people across the UK. Together with our network, we offer support, advice and training to equip young people with the vital life skills needed to engage in education, volunteering and employment.


For more information on UK Youth visit

The Ofsted Report can be found at