Joining Year 7 is a dramatic change for all of our students.
That is why our transition programme is such an important part of what we do. We work closely with our partner primary schools to make the transition process smoother for our new Year 7 students. At the start of year 7, to complement the data from Year 6 assessments, we complete a number of assessments with our students. These include Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) which are not knowledge tests but do help us to identify key areas of strength and areas for potential development. We will also start our regular reading age tests that help us to track the progress your child is making with their reading; these tests will continue throughout their time at the Academy.
It is also important that we been to build relationships with parents from the outset. In the course of Year 7, parents will receive two reports setting out their individual areas of strength and the essential skills and knowledge (ESK) that they will need to continue to develop in each subject. In Year 7 we offer two consultation events with parents: a meeting with the form tutor in the Autumn term and a subject based parents’ evening in the spring term.
It is important that all of our students continue to make progress. However, there is more to life at the Academy than lessons alone. We encourage all of students to take part in our wide variety of extra-curricular activities including sports clubs, music/choir and our fantastic summer production. By the end of Year 7 we want them all to be on track for future success and also to have widened their horizons by taking part in a wide variety of activities they may have never tried before.
As Year 8 progresses and students continue to build on their previous success. As in Year 7, students will continue to study the full range of academic subjects alongside our relationships and sex education programme (RSE). We will also start developing more focused teaching groups for English, Maths and Science.
In Year 8, students will complete two formal assessments throughout the year, followed up with reports going home to parents.
Year 9 is the final year of our Key Stage 3 programme, where students continue to study all subjects, including a Modern Foreign Language (French/Spanish). It is also the year when our thoughts start to turn to the best courses for them to follow in Year 10. Our Pathways Evening in the January of Year 9 is the beginning of a conversation between students, parents and staff to find the best way forward for each individual.
Most of our students will follow an EBACC Pathway, which includes studying French and/or Spanish GCSE, Geography and/or History GCSE, as well as two further qualifications. They take one further subject to GCSE; others will take two other subjects to GCSE; others again will take an alternative programme designed to accelerate their progress in English and maths so that they are ready to begin GCSEs the following year.
Year 9 is also the year when students are encouraged make a greater contribution to the running of the Academy. Many will already have taken important roles in our student voice programme, or as library leaders, but Year 9 is the time when we recruit and train our student leadership team. These students, distinguished by their smart green or red ties, offer support to other students around the Academy and play an enhanced role as emerging student leaders.
In Year 10, students start on their two-year Key Stage 4 journey and start to study their Pathway subjects, alongside English, Maths and Science GCSEs. Year 10 is also the year when students begin to think ahead to life after the Academy. Our careers programme begins to focus on routes to further education and training: A levels, college courses, apprenticeships/traineeships, or employment.
Year 11 is the culmination of a student’s time at the Academy. Not only do they complete their final GCSE courses, but they are also preparing to move on into the adult world of further education training, or employment. One important part of this is the process of applying for Sixth Form places, for college courses and for apprenticeships; another is the development of their roles as leaders across the Academy. Whether by taking leading roles in our performances and productions, by serving the Academy as prefects or by joining our prestigious student leadership team, our Year 11 students are important ambassadors for the Academy.
Year 11 ends with two important events: the prom in June when students decked out in all their finery celebrate the end of their exams and the (slightly more sedate) Awards Evening in November when we celebrate their achievements in examinations and other aspects of Academy life. We have an official presentation of their GCSE certificates and other awards in recognition of their efforts. It is always poignant to watch our students move on, but we do so proud of what they have achieved and confident that they are well prepared for whatever the future may hold.