Another incredibly busy and productive term is over and a new one has started since I last wrote. Our Ofsted inspection dominated thinking in the first part of the term. Whilst the process was tough and the overall judgement not where we wanted to be; many positives were still highlighted, including our fabulous offer at Post-16. Again our students have done themselves proud and the impact of our holistic curriculum is evidenced in comments from the inspection team. We are continuing to drive up the academic performance of our students – this is evident in the increasing numbers who choose to go on to higher education or high quality training. However: we, our parents, our students, the RSA and employers out there, know that achievement is not limited to narrow academic measures but to wider development and broader competence. With this in mind the Academy continues to broaden and deepen the wider experiences of our students, to give them a voice and ensure that they take on responsibility. Our website gives some insight into the array of opportunities and experiences that our staff and students offer and take part in.
‘The Academy is a wonderfully vibrant learning community.’ Not my words but those of a recent visitor from Japan on a visit to look at high quality vocational education provision in the UK. Their visit was specifically focused on the International Baccalaureate Career related Certificate (IBCC) but they took away a lot more. The Academy is a learning community; all of our staff are on a continuing journey of learning and professional development. This takes many forms: initial teacher training, in house continuous professional development and leadership, middle and senior leadership training, action research to name but a few. This of course is not limited to teaching staff. Our support staff are engaged in project management, NVQ (learning and delivery) and teaching conversion courses. We model what we expect from our students!
It has been wonderful over the last few weeks to be joined by some of our former students – undergraduates and graduates – who are giving up their free time to work with our young people. Their commitment to giving back to their Academy (and recognition that it very much still is their Academy!) is a testimony to their development as well-rounded pillars of the community. They look like staff already!
Literacy has been a huge focus for us this year and I am delighted to see the number of students with books in their hands in recent months, stealing away to a quiet corner of the Restaurant or enjoying an early start in the Library. This alongside the huge number of entries into our writing competitions fills me with joy!
I have had to write this after a nudge by our student bloggers (over to you Laura and Louise!), that whole modelling- thing can be tough at times!