This page provides information for students and parents as we prepare to open the Academy in September 2018. It will address some of the common queries we receive and will be regularly updated. If you cannot find the answer to your question here or elsewhere on the website, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be writing to all students who have been allocated a place at the school with information about transition. The letter will include a student data collection form for you to complete and return.
Ensuring students make excellent progress at GWA from day one is absolutely key to our success. As such our transition work will be focused and effective. Mr Davis (Principal) and Mr Clarke (Assistant Principal), Mrs Rodway (Transition Co-ordinator) and Ms Winsbury (SENDCo) will be visiting all students in their primary school, speaking with each one of them, their teachers and providing times for parents to ask further questions. This will take place during the summer term and will be followed by an induction day on 4th July, together with an information evening for parents.
Where a student has significant additional needs GWA will work with the Local Authority, primary school, parents and the student themselves to ensure all the necessary details are known so that any support required is put in place to ensure the student makes a smooth and effective transition from their primary school.
Our uniform is smart and no more expensive than that of any other local schools. It consists of
- a grey blazer with school logo
- school tie
- black skirt or trousers
- PE kit (teal and grey).
It will be supplied by Famous School Brands and will be available in store (based in the centre of Swindon) or online.
Images of the uniform and PE Kit will be displayed here as soon as they are available, we hope by mid-March, together with details of when they will be available with price lists. Financial support will be available for students who are in receipt of Free School Meals.
To view photographs of the uniform, visit our Uniform page
We anticipate students will be split into six tutor and teaching groups for most of their subjects. This means an average group size of 25 students in Key Stage 3. This will slightly reduce at GCSE and in the Sixth Form as we accommodate the range of option choices for students.
We intend to set students by ability in core subjects right from the start and will use Key Stage 2 results and other information from primary school to do this. Importantly, sets will not be fixed and instead there will be regular movement between sets if students are not making best possible progress in their current group. In this way we will ensure students are appropriately challenged from the first day.
Reading will also form a key part of our provision with 20 minutes reading time built into the timetable every day. The Accelerated Reading Scheme has proven results in seeing students (and parents) motivated and engaged with their reading and we will be using AR or a similar scheme to support our reading programme.
GWA will be an ICT-rich environment embracing the philosophy that the use of ICT can complement and enhance learning when well used. AS such we will be providing every student with a laptop for use in school which they will collect at the start of the school day and be responsible for during the school day. The laptop will be able to be used in any lesson as appropriate before being returned at the end of the day.
Students will be able to access their work from home via a student portal, including their homework and parents will also be able to access information via a Parent Portal. This will include attendance data, homework set, rewards data and student reports.
The Extended Day
The Academy Day operates from 8.30am until 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am - 3.10pm on Friday. On Monday to Thursday, the time from 3.10pm is set aside from enrichment activities and/or the completion of homework. A variety of activities will be provided each day and students will be expected to take part in these. The activities available will include sport, performing arts, enterprise and charity-based work, as well as the opportunity to work silently on their homework with support form staff present if required. We anticipate students will do a mix of activities and homework across the 4 days and will monitor this and report to parents.
All students must stay until 4.30pm Monday to Thursday, this is part of our standard day and reflects our belief that education is more than just classroom lessons. Exceptions will be granted only for very unusual situations (e.g. pre-arranged regional/national sports coaching) and applications for this must be made in writing to the Principal.
The Academy building is on track to be completed in July, as has always been the case. It is looking brilliant - all rooms are now erected internally and plastered, most also painted and we are delighted with the space and light seen in the main open areas too. All required furniture and equipment has already been ordered.
Students will visit the building as part of their induction day in July. We will open the building to parents and students at various times in the summer and after school in September so that parents can become acquainted with the layout and key points where they may need to be. An official opening will follow in the autumn term.
Based on the addresses of students who will attend GWA we anticipate a large proportion of students walking or cycling to the Academy as there are safe routes within Tadpole Garden Village and from other parts of North Swindon. Cycle shelters will be provided. Students will be able to store their cycle helmets in their lockers.
The no.4 bus operates from the centre of Swindon to Tadpole Garden Village and will stop within or just outside the school car park. The frequency of buses running at the start and end of the school day is planned to increase once GWA opens. We are in discussions with Stagecoach over the exact arrangements for the service and are exploring with Stagecoach now that we know where students will be travelling from to develop further services. Any new routes would only run if Stagecoach believe that they are commercially viable.
Students attending GWA will be expected to be polite and respectful at all times, of each other, of their teachers and of property. They will be expected to engage positively in lessons and take increasing responsibility for their own learning. Positive engagement within and beyond the classroom will be rewarded and we will create a culture in which success is celebrated and disruption of any kind is not tolerated.
If a student disrupts their learning or that of others, or behaves in an impolite or disrespectful manner then they should expect an immediate consequence. This may include, where deemed appropriate receiving a detention from 4.30 to 5.30pm on the same day. This will be part of a scaled series of consequences for poor behaviour and a full behaviour policy will be posted on the website in due course. Parents and students will also receive further information at induction.
The Academy accepts that mobile phones are important to students and parents, especially for communication at the start and end of the day. However, they are not required during the school day and can be a distraction. If brought to the Academy (at the students's own risk) they should be off, or set to silent and kept in student bags or lockers. If a phone is seen without the express permission of a teacher it will be confiscated.
Students needing to make contact home during the school day for some reason should speak with their tutor or with the Academy office.