When we opened, we agreed with our sponsors at Macclesfield College that our work would be underpinned by seven core values. These values remain at the heart of everything we do.
We will put or students first: their learning and wellbeing is our first priority. For us, learning and wellbeing are inseparable: they are ‘two halves of the same walnut’. Learning and achieving will, in the short term, boost self-confidence and self-esteem; in the long term this academic success will enable our students to ensure their own economic wellbeing and that of their families. Similarly, doing everything that we can to support students’ physical and emotional health and welfare puts them in the best possible place to learn.
We will acknowledge and use the power of positive thought. Our OFSTED inspectors in 2014 remarked that: “a positive ethos pervades the Academy”. Our success so far has been underpinned by a relentless determination that every single one of our students should be the very best they can be and that individually and collectively, we should make our best better. This positive ethos has seen some of our students overcome formidable barriers to achieve remarkable success; it has ensured that our students progress far faster than the national average; it has made the Academy one of the most improved schools in the country.
We will promote and achieve excellence. From the day that we opened we have been working to establish a culture and ethos across the Academy which emphasises the highest of aspirations and a commitment to excellence. It is this ethos which is often the first thing which strikes visitors to the Academy and see our students at work; it is this ethos which has resulted in remarkable numbers of our students achieving the top grades at GCSE while still in Year 9 and Year 10; it is this ethos which shines through the exceptional concerts and productions staged each term by our outstanding Creative Arts team.
We will maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour. Consistently good behaviour lies at the heart of this ethos of excellence. Our behaviour management systems are based on high expectations for all and underpinned by clear and consistent rewards and sanctions. They are also complemented by individualised support packages for the small minority of students who have genuine difficulties in meeting our expectations. The success of this complementary approach can be seen in the fact that, within two years of our opening, OFSTED had judged behaviour in the Academy to be Good.
We will encourage innovation and development. Our determination to offer something distinctive to the families of Macclesfield has underpinned our willingness to innovate: to dare to be different. Our transition groups in Year 7 have enabled students to make exceptional progress in reading and writing. Our Thursday afternoon enrichment programme broadens their horizons and introduces them to a host of new opportunities. Our one year GCSE courses in mixed age groups have helped transform our examination results. No wonder OFSTED concluded that “an innovative curriculum underpins the good progress students make”!
We will actively promote equality and diversity. Every single student is important to us at the Academy. Whatever their background, disability, race, religion, sexuality or previous level of achievement, we do everything in our power to ensure their achievement and their wellbeing. We recognise and celebrate their faith and cultural backgrounds and work with local churches and other partners to ensure that the Academy is, indeed, a place for everyone. We do not tolerate any kind of discrimination or bullying.
We will work in partnership with other schools. Although we are a free-standing Academy, we have never sought to cut ourselves adrift from other schools. We are proud to be part of the Macclesfield Academy Learning Community, working with our primary partners on a range of projects to support learning in all of our schools. We work closely with the other Macclesfield secondary schools. Throughout 2015 we were pleased to be able to provide leadership for King’s Grove School in Crewe, placing it on what OFSTED described as “a strong upward trajectory”. We will continue to work in partnership with its successor school, The Oaks Academy.
Values for Outstanding Citizenship in Modern Britain
Over the last few years, the Government has actively promoted the values of democracy; the rule of law; individual liberty; and respect and tolerance for other religions. We are fully committed to implementing these values through our curriculum and in all aspects of our school life. We do not believe that they are exclusively British, or even that we in Britain have always been particularly successful in implementing them. We do believe that it is absolutely essential that our students accept, promote and act out these values if they are to become the outstanding British citizens that we want them to be.
We value democracy because democratic systems provide the best possible opportunity for individuals and groups to live in freedom and security. We want all of our students to understand the local and national democratic systems and their responsibility to participate in them. To this end, we take opportunities to teach them about democratic processes across the curriculum and through the citizenship components in our PHSEE programme, and model them through student council elections and mock elections and referendums within the Academy.
We value the rule of law because any fair society is underpinned by laws which are applied equally to all without fear or favour. We want all of our students to understand the importance of our legal system and their own rights and responsibilities within it. To this end we teach them about these issues in the citizenship components in our PHSEE programme and, critically, implement a fair and consistent behaviour management system where the rights and responsibilities of all are clear and are respected.
We value individual liberty because it is integral to the wellbeing of each and every citizen. We want our students to understand the importance of their own liberties including, for example, freedom of expression and freedom of worship. We also want them to understand the importance of exercising these liberties responsibly and of respecting the liberties of others. To this end we explore these issues across the curriculum and in the citizenship components in our PHSEE programme and seek to implement the principles of a Rights Respecting School across the whole Academy including the modelling of respectful discussion and debate across a range of issues.
We value respect and tolerance because they underpin the creation of a society where there is equality of opportunity for all and where diversity is celebrated. We want our students to have the opportunity to explore and express their own faith backgrounds and to learn about those of others so that they do, indeed, treat them with respect and toleration. This is a central aim of our RE programme from Year 7 to Year 11 and of our developing partnerships with local churches. Indeed, we want our students to be respectful of all aspects of diversity and actively promote this through all aspects of the life of the Academy.