UBS partnership with the Bridge Academy Hackney

Education Award, supported by UKCES 2014, Big Tick, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

By creating and supporting the Bridge Academy in Hackney, UBS is raising attainment among disadvantaged children, increasing staff pride and building the company’s reputation.

Social impacts

  • The Bridge Academy’s GCSE results in 2013 were above the national average, in an area of social deprivation.
  • In the first year of results (2011/12), Bridge reduced the attainment gap between students on free school meals and those not, from a national average of 26% to 5%.
  • 97% of Bridge sixth formers have applied to university, with 30% holding conditional offers from Russell Group universities and two from Cambridge.

Business impacts

  • Increased pride in UBS among 86% of employee volunteers.
  • Improved communication skills among 83% of employee volunteers.
  • Reputational benefits included two government ministers visiting the Bridge in 2013/14 along with public support for the partnership from Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Bridge Academy offers children in Hackney an inspiring and inclusive environment where attainment and aspirations are raised and creativity is encouraged. Its culture of high standards and achievement enables students to develop their full potential, building the skills and self-belief they need to become responsible and successful adults. Since UBS's partnership with the Bridge Academy began, the shared ambition has always been to build the best partnership between a business and a school. We aim to achieve this through UBS volunteer participation, leadership support and with the partnerships we build with community organisations.

- Richard Hardie,
Chair, UBS Ltd
Financial services business UBS helped create the Bridge Academy, which opened in 2007, in conjunction with the government and a client. The Bridge is a mixed, non-denominational school for 11-19 year olds, with specialisms in maths and music. Located in Hackney, 59% of the Bridge’s students are eligible for free school meals, and 51% speak English an additional language.

Through the partnership, UBS aims to break the link between educational disadvantage and parental income. It widens its impact beyond this one school and community by developing and sharing best practice. The partnership aims to:

  • increase the overall attainment of studets;

  • close the attainment gap for students on free school meals;

  • close the destinations gap for students on free school meals (currently only 4% of students on free school meals attend a Russell Group university);

  • equip students with the skills they need to be successful in the future.

Engaging employees is a key aim and the Bridge provides a visible, motivating focal point in achieving this. Since the academy was created, 3,600 employees have provided 37,500 hours of support and UBS employees, clients and suppliers have donated a further £1 million. Employee volunteers reinforce and develop the UBS culture, while reporting increased job satisfaction and improved personal and professional skills.

UBS provide an enormous range of support, with almost 500 activities in 2013. The foundation of this support is the six Managing Directors, who are governors of the Academy. In addition, every Bridge Sixth Former has a UBS mentor, hundreds of volunteers support workshops and placements to develop work-related learning skills and more than 100 employees are involved in subject-specific activity. Each week, 50 employees go to the Bridge before work to help with essential literacy and numeracy.

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