As we end one academic year and begin another I am confident that we are very firmly on track to reach our target of becoming an Outstanding Academy. We have made huge strides during this year to firmly place this Academy at the forefront of the very latest research into pedagogy within a knowledge based curriculum. We know that our students are extremely well cared for, as our recent safeguarding review confirmed with many safeguarding areas being graded as exemplary.
We are also extremely confident that our English Additional Language learners settle quickly, are happy and have the right mixture of challenge and support to make rapid progress on their learning journey.
As a Principal it is a real pleasure to see this development, and watch staff and students grow in confidence. Our obsessions this academic year have been around teaching, learning and assessment. We now have a very rigorous target setting system for all students based on nationally benchmarked tests. This works for all students regardless of when they enter the Academy, and regardless of their prior educational experiences. We also ensure that we cross check this with other target setting systems from the department of education for all students who have been educated in English primary schools. We know we have this right now and can therefore push students hard to reach their target grades through each of three assessments every year. In the classroom we have been working on challenge to ensure high expectations of what our students can achieve is paramount. All students are now expected to complete a piece of independent learning in every lesson in silence. The purpose of this is to make them think, make them apply the learning they have just encountered to a particular task.
Our new obsessions for this academic year are just as fundamental to our vision. The first is attendance. We are confident that we deliver a good education to students but we need them to be in lessons every day and ready to learn. This academic year we will do everything in our power to support parents in ensuring our students come every morning. This will include lots of rewards and incentives for students and their families but also if necessary fining families for non- attendance.
Our second obsession is building knowledge. We know this is essential in the current climate of more challenging GCSE examinations, with a heightened requirement to learn, remember and apply facts. This year we will revolutionise homework with termly knowledge organisers. Students will receive a knowledge organiser that contains all essential terminology and reading pertinent to each subject for that term. All home works will be set from the Knowledge Organiser with the aim to completely learn this content within the term.
Our third obsession is equality. I am utterly passionate that we will be an Academy that treats everyone with the respect and confidence inspiring educational experience that they deserve. I want our students to have a strong voice, to develop the power of speech, to change and shape our future world. This will happen through our student parliament where each committee will have real power to shape different aspects of our Academy, but also through our high-quality careers advice and guidance education.
Our fourth obsession for 2018-19 is S.L.A.N.T. To make absolutely sure that no minute of lesson time is wasted, we will be asking students to S.L.A.N.T in lessons. This acronym stands for;
S – Sit up straight
L – Listen
A – Ask and Answer Questions
N – Never give up
T – Track the teacher
This acronym will form an essential part of our Positive Behaviour Policy. Students who apply S.L.A.N.T in every lesson will meet all the requirements to be phenomenal learners and demonstrate the necessary respect for their teachers and each other. Further explanation of S.L.A.N.T will be in the student planner.
These four obsessions will shape our Academy Rapid Improvement Plan over the forthcoming year. I hope that parents can support these initiatives to ensure we reach our goal of becoming an Outstanding Academy.