The Petchey Academy takes its name from Sir Jack Petchey, one of the UK's most successful businessmen and philanthropists. Born in East London in July 1925, Jack came from a working class background with very few advantages. From an early age he showed the entrepreneurial skills that have aided his success.
With £60 to his name, Jack bought a motor car and founded his first car hire business. From there a thriving car sales business was formed. Jack eventually branched into property and in 1969 was introduced to the idea of a holiday complex in the Algarve, which he still runs to this day. In his 90s Jack is still in the office every day and there is no sign of him slowing down!
Sir Jack’s experiences led to his passion to increase young people’s aspirations by rewarding their achievements. The Jack Petchey Foundation exists to raise the aspirations of young people, to help them take advantage of opportunities and play a full part in society. Since 2000, over £118 million has been invested in programmes to benefit young people aged 11-25 across London and Essex.
In 2006, The Foundation sponsored our academy by making a £2million contribution to the construction of the school's state of the art building. Sir Jack Petchey and the Foundation are extremely proud of what the academy has achieved in the few years since opening.
We create a positive learning environment, following Sir Jack Petchey’s motto “If I think I can…I can”, where students are respectful and courteous. Olivia Cole, Principal, says: “I strongly believe that the students are proud of their academy and value its unique character. Sir Jack Petchey gives us that distinctive character. Both students and staff follow his maxim, “If I think I can... I can” which proves an apt guide for anyone striving for excellence in their studies, extra-curricular activities and working relationships."
The Foundation, set up by Sir Jack Petchey CBE in 1999, supports young people across London and Essex by recognising achievements and celebrating their positive impact on our communities. They do this through their flagship Achievement Award scheme whereby young people can nominate their fellow peers in recognition of their achievements. Achievements may not necessarily be academic but could be from facing a challenge or pushing themselves to try something outside of their comfort zone. It’s not about being the best but doing their best. Each winner is given a £250 grant to spend however they wish to benefit their school or youth club. They also offer other grants such as the Educational Visits Grant to put towards an educational trip outside of school, to enhance learning further.
Alongside this, they also offer various programmes for young people to get involved in to develop skills and discover new interests. Every year our students are invited to take part in the Speak Out Challenge, a competition that encourages young people to find their voice and speak out about an issue that matters to them. Each contestant has the chance to compete for a place in our regional final, and then, if successful, in the grand final in Central London.
Sir Jack Petchey’s aim is for each and every young person in the academy to feel motivated to work hard and contribute positively in their local community. After feeling disengaged at school himself, Sir Jack wants to ensure young people today have opportunities to develop their skills and enjoy education. He was born into a working class family in the East End in 1925, left school at 13 and then joined the Navy in 1943. After leaving the Navy, he began working as a clerk for a solicitor’s firm, where he applied for management training but was told he would never make a businessman. Instead of giving up, Sir Jack used the £39 he was given from the Navy to buy a second hand car and started a taxi business. Through hard work, he proved them wrong and built a multi-million-pound empire.
Sir Jack never gave up and he wants the young people of the Petchey Academy to do the same!
Below is a video about the history of Sir Jack Petchey, including his contribution to our academy.