At the core of the academy’s philosophy is that every individual counts; the care for and education of students must be at the heart of every child’s development. To ensure that no person’s needs are neglected or overlooked, there are four academy houses: Babbage, Edison, Marconi and Whittle.
Each house is led by a Head of House. These members of staff have no teaching commitment and are charged with the responsibility of ensuring all students in their house achieve the best that they can. The relationships formed between each Head of House and the students in their care are strong. The role of the Heads of House, all day, every day, is to monitor the progress of their students, to remove any barriers to learning and to ensure the well-being of each individual in that house.
In this task, Heads of House are supported by Form Tutors, each of whom takes responsibility for a vertical tutor group from all year groups in the academy. Tutors therefore also have the support of older students in the academy who have the opportunity to guide their younger friends in the tutor group.
Beyond the classroom, the academy houses provide a wide range of events, including annual house competitions in drama, music, dance, photography, enterprise and language and literature, as well as house sports matches and sports day. Students lead these events, taking responsibility for directing the plays, sketches and music, as well as acting, performing and competing.
The day begins and ends with a tutor session and there are house and academy assemblies which offer personal support to the students and help develop the skills which make effective learners. Assertive mentoring is used to give students regular one-to-one progress checks on their attainment, based on challenging targets, to push all students ahead and to prevent any student from falling behind in their studies. The Head of House has access to a range of intervention strategies such as one-to-one tuition, counselling and careers guidance, as well as direct access to subject teachers and subject leaders.
Parental involvement in and support for a child’s education is key to the progress that child makes at school and parents will be contacted by the Head of House within the first half-term so that introductions can be made. Beyond this, the Form Tutor is the first point of contact for parents, either by phone, letter or note in the planner.
Parents can gain much from the academy’s website and our web-based parent portal, SIMS Learning Gateway (SLG). The latter provides instant access to each student’s personal record, allowing parents to check for instances of commendation, behaviour, attendance, punctuality and attainment.