In 2022, Headjam were engaged to help the passionate Allambi Care Education team realise the long-held dream of their own registered school – North Academy.
Allambi Care have a 40 year history of providing family and youth services across the Hunter, and more recently in Northern NSW and Victoria. Since 2015, Allambi Care have offered alternate education pathways for youth in out-of-home-care with the goal to re-engage these young people in mainstream education.
Headjam and Allambi Care have collaborated since 2015, starting with a rebrand and repositioning project that visually embraced the ‘never give up’ attitude that Allambi Care embodies.Read Hide the full case study
Research suggests that 20% of children are chronically disengaged from school across Australia. Factors such as mental health, childhood trauma and socio-economic status can impact school engagement and attendance. Students with chronic absenteeism are more likely to drop out of school and experience poorer long-term health and social outcomes.
Allambi Care had been delivering education to young people in out-of-home care, who had been chronically disengaged, expelled, or suspended from both mainstream and alternative school options since 2015 using the 'Learning Without Walls' teaching Model.
‘The Learning Centre’ was the name of the physical centre that hosts several classrooms, offices and alternate learning spaces, and is located on the Allambi Care Head Office Site in Charlestown. The Learning Centre was not funded through the Department of Communities and Justice and had been funded privately through Allambi Care. It was not accredited or registered through the New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA), which presented significant challenges obtaining funding and ensuring quality education.
Allambi Care briefed Headjam on their ambition to make their own school in response to the increasing number of young people who are chronically disengaged, expelled, or suspended from both mainstream and alternative school options. The school was designed to specialise in education for vulnerable young people who have experienced disadvantage and/or trauma. The school will follow the Learning Without Walls education model philosophy and principles, and Educators will be trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention.
With a history of collaboration and solution finding with the Allambi Care team, Headjam were honoured to be set the challenge of rebranding the 'Learning Centre’ to represent a place of belonging and hope for the wider community at their new site in West Wallsend.
Develop a school name and visual identity that will instill pride amongst the youth who attend it.
The primary audience is youth, with a secondary audience of the education sector. The school needed to feel reputable to assist in the registration process.
A school that is centred around my needs.
Desired Consumer Response
"I'm stoked to go to North Academy.”
The Learning Centre is all about recalibration and for the kids to find their own unique direction. The compass point became a strong visual for the brand, metaphorically as a way of setting a direction for a journey of discovery, but also as a powerful visual link to the Allambi Care logo. It also helped to inform the name ‘North Academy’, the link to compass North as a sense of purpose and direction, and Academy - a term that elevates the place beyond a ‘school’.
Based on an insight from current students attending North Academy we understood the creative solution needed to speak different things to different audiences. We wanted the students to own this school, be proud of it and feel connected to it. We wanted carers and the education industry to know that it was founded on the core principles of Allambi Care - that the needs of youth will always be at the centre of what we do.
The North Academy brand is youth focused with a strong sense of credibility. An optional uniform formed part of the brand delivery. We created casual t-shirt designs and hoodies that were intended to feel relaxed, and can be thrown on for those days when there are more important things to do than choose what to wear.
Through the positioning of the brand and successful applications North Academy was registered as a NSW School and commenced operations in Term 1, 2023.
The school is at 100% enrollment with an ever-growing waiting list. A key indicator of success for a non-traditional school is attendance, and in the first 6 months of operation North Academy attendance rates have been above the benchmark for special assistance schools.
Anecdotally, students have positively adopted the uniform. This demonstrates that the brand strategy to create a sense of connection and belonging is off to a positive start.
“I wish you could see the eye-roll when we talk about uniforms in our interviews and then how much their eyes light up when they see them.”
Parker Jackson, North Academy Principal
North Academy (the Education arm of Allambi Care)
Brand, website and positioning
We can’t stress enough how right you guys got this. The North Academy brand is an identity that our Gen Z young people identify with.
I wish you could see the eye-roll when we talk about uniforms in our interviews and then how much their eyes light up when they see them.