The intake of the academy is broadly similar to that of the predecessor school as the admission criteria are almost identical. Current evidence reflects the full ability range with relatively few students with high scores at KS2 and many having weak basic skills of literacy and numeracy. Generally, reading ages are below their chronological age and average KS2 scores are well below national expectations. The number of students on the special educational needs register is likely to be above average and a significant minority are likely to have emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Furthermore, the predecessor school has been the school of choice for the children of migrant workers and asylum seekers which reside in the area. This has resulted in groups of students joining various year groups with particular needs including English literacy. The curriculum content and organisation will address the needs of the intake in order that the students have the opportunity to enjoy their learning, access the curriculum opportunities, and achieve beyond the expectations that are associated with low levels of prior attainment. Our expectation is that all students will make better than expected progress nationally in all performance measures.
We have very high expectations of all our students in relation to:-
- The academy uniform is compulsory
- We expect all students to aspire to have 100%
- We expect all students to be polite, respectful and have a sense of pride and belonging not only to themselves, but also the academy
- Student leadership is very strong in the academy and we want all our students to be proud of their achievements
- We have high aspirations for all our students and we want them to achieve their potential. They are all talented individuals and we want to nurture those talents.
The academy is organised so that it can deliver the vision and provide the context within which all students will be successful. This statement describes the structure, leadership and management and the use of time.
The academy has a roll of 730, 11-16 year old students. Each year group is organised into 5 mixed ability tutor groups of 30 students. This ratio ensures that the tutor has the opportunity to know each student well, and take responsibility for his or her personal development and academic progress. Each student is made very aware of their targets and our expectations of them and these are discussed during Tutor Time and with parents at Consultation Evenings.
To support these arrangements, the staff are members of the achievement teams for each year group, which is developed in the section below with reference to achievement team leaders. The organisation of the curriculum is detailed in the curriculum statement and the organisation of the staff is below.
As from 2012, the academy has admitted 150 Year 7 students, enabling the academy to reach a capacity of 750 students in 2017.
Leadership and Management
The leadership and management of the academy is the decisive factor in ensuring that every student is successful. Leadership is distributed throughout the academy and enables students and staff to contribute and benefit from the high expectations expressed by the sponsors in the vision and ethos. From the outset, leaders ensure that the academy community have absolute clarity about these expectations, and pursue them relentlessly through the systems and processes that are put in place.
To ensure that the academy immediately establishes a strong strategic direction, the Principal takes responsibility for the most important systems and processes. These are used to establish the ethos and culture of high expectations which drives standards forward. The main activities are:
- leader of the leadership team
- strategic planning
- academy development plan
- school self review and evaluation
- continuing professional development
- Every Child Matters agenda
Senior Leadership Team (SLT)
The Senior Leadership Team, led by the Principal, consists of:
- Director of Finance & Resources
- Assistant Principal for Learning & Progress
- Assistant Principal for Inclusion & Achievement
- Senior Leadership for Learning & Progress (2 Posts)
- Senior Leader for Employability & Leadership
All the Senior Leadership Team have line management responsibilities as well as responsibility for one of the elements of the Every Child Matters agenda. The Director of Finance & Resources line manages the Associate Staff and also has a curricular responsibility for Economic Well-Being.
The Senior Leadership Team have reduced teaching timetables and have administrative support to ensure they have sufficient time to carry out their strategic roles and provide strong leadership to students and staff. The Principal ensures that they have clear direction, high expectations and are accountable for their performance. They model the ethos and vision for the academy as well as coaching and developing the staff and students for which they are accountable.
Achievement Team Leaders (ATLs)
The Achievement Team Leaders are responsible for the personal development and academic progress of each student. They lead the team of tutors and a mentor, and will lead meetings of the teachers of each year group. The purpose of these meetings is to monitor and evaluate the progress of students, and develop classroom strategies that can be implemented by teaching staff to address underachievement. They complement the work of the curriculum teams because they bring together the evidence from all subjects. Teachers that are successful with a group of students are able to share good practice with their colleagues.
Cross-curricula initiatives such as numeracy and literacy are able to be successfully coordinated and strategies implemented coherently. Where possible, tutors also teach within the year group so that they have a better understanding of their students and can contribute more to these meetings. In an academy the size of St Lawrence, it is not possible to gather all of the teachers together for each year group, and through careful organisation it is possible to gather the majority so that strategies can have an impact on progress. This enables the academy to make a step change in personalising the experience of each student because the teaching teams have a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each student, and are capable of collectively meeting their needs. Achievement Team Leaders model the ethos and vision, and coach and develop the staff and students for which they are responsible. They have administrative support to enable them to fulfil their roles effectively.
Student Progress Leaders (SPLs)
Each Achievement Team Leader is supported by a Student Progress Leader who works with the year group to ensure that any barriers to learning are addressed and overcome. They will liaise with staff and families to ensure there is clarity in relation to consistent expectations. The SPL will provide support academically, socially and emotionally for all their students based on need and their focus will be to ensure better than expected progress is made.
The student voice has an important role in the leadership and management of the school. This is recognised through the appointment of a Senior Middle Leader (SML), who is responsible for developing leadership opportunities for students. This includes the Student Council which is both year based and whole academy based. The year based councils mirror the achievement teams in that it has a responsibility to evaluate the progress of the year group, and comment on learning strategies that students find most effective.
Learning and Teaching Assistant (LTA)
Each year group will have at least one dedicated LTA to work with the students to access the curriculum. Where extra input is needed, they will work within the classroom and outside to support all the learners in their year group across the curriculum.
The Use of Time
The academy is committed to structuring learning time to:
- maximise the time for students to be on task’;
- provide a variety of opportunities for personal development and academic progress;
- facilitate partnership with the LA and other local educational providers to extend curriculum opportunity especially for 14-19 (see the curriculum statement). Whilst the academy is supportive of a move to four or five terms with more balanced holidays, it will do so only when the LA can lead this change across all local schools;
- learning sessions are 60 minutes each. Monday and Tuesday contain 6 sessions, Wednesday and Thursday contain 5 sessions. Assembly or tutorials take place during each day and extra-curricular activities/homework clubs take place after school
- on Friday there are four learning sessions for students followed by additional activities provide by outside coaches and leaders, while all staff have team meetings and development sessions (the organisation is detailed in the curriculum paper). This is the only formal meeting time for staff;
- the academy uses theme and project days to provide opportunities for extended learning;
- the academy provides extended school activities on Saturdays and during the holidays
- all students take part in a two week block of work experience in KS4;
- all students take part in a residential experience in each Key Stage;
- in KS3 the residential has an emphasis on personal development through an outdoor experience;
- in KS4 the residential is based on the specialisms and will contribute to personal development and raising attainment;
- ICT facilities for administration enable the effective use of time by staff and students.