As well as providing a strong academic foundation we ensure our students have the skills to thrive as independent thinkers, creative problem solvers and adaptable, lifelong learners. Inspirational teaching, enrichment sessions in our longer school day and many other opportunities to learn beyond the classroom will combine to give every student who attends GWA the best possible chance to succeed in whatever they want to do.
To achieve our vision, we will embed the following principles across the Great Western Academy:
Achievement, Care and Excellence (ACE)
Everything we do at GWA is rooted in the three core principles of Achievement, Care and Excellence. We are passionate about inspiring young people and supporting them to achieve more than they first thought possible, so they aspire to greatness. We understand the importance of human interaction, both with each other and with our environment and we will develop in our students care and attention the wellbeing of themselves and others. We will build resilience in our learners, and repeatedly encourage them to demonstrate courage, determination and effort in all they do – rewarding improvement as much as attainment.
Placing the learner at the heart of everything we do
We believe every child can realise and maximise their potential with the right teaching and support. To achieve this, we will include:
- personalised curriculum pathways that are flexible and well matched to varying student needs, interests and abilities
- Individual Learning Plans (ILP) to support the ambitious individual goals which contribute to our whole school Achievement, Care and Excellence (ACE) targets
- Additional Learning Support for the disadvantaged and specialist help, where required
- Regular 1-to-1 tutoring which will trigger appropriate support to ensure students are on track to achieve their individual goals.
Attitude and interpersonal skills
GWA operates in a caring, tolerant, friendly, but professional environment, with clear rights and responsibilities understood by all and conducted in a business-like manner where teachers can focus on teaching and students on learning. Our disciplinary procedures are fair but firm, with a very clear expectation that we all have the right to learn and that any behaviour which undermines this will not be tolerated. Young adults will make mistakes, and we will be there to help them to learn from these mistakes so they emerge with a positive attitude to learning, to themselves and to others. Consequently, our students will enjoy learning and our teachers will enjoy teaching them.
Excellent teaching and learning
Excellent teaching, underpinned by high quality resources and continuous professional development is vital in ensuring first-class learning. Our staff have been carefully recruited to ensure they meet the aims and ethos of the Academy and are excellent classroom practitioners. Learning at GWA is personalised, making excellent use of performance data to improve our teaching and our curriculum, ensuring that no child is left behind.
We will draw on evidence and experience of the best ways to achieve excellent outcomes for all children, making decisions based only on sound educational research and building in routine quality assurance to make sure review and reflection is part of our everyday practice.
Address the educational disadvantage
No child is left behind at GWA. Additional Learning Support covers the whole spectrum of needs: medical conditions, physical and sensory impairment, speech and language difficulties, Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity and specific learning differences - dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia. We are a truly inclusive school.
Innovative use of technology
The inventive use of technology supports and enhances our high quality teaching. Our students have access to extended learning opportunities through on-line and digital resources and are equipped in school with 2-in-1 laptops, personal to each student. Learners are able to work collaboratively, store work digitally and access it anywhere in the world and will receive ongoing feedback form peers and teaching staff alike, providing opportunities to reflect and improve their work.
Student progress will be tracked electronically, and this will be available to students, parents and staff for regular review via the Student Portal and the ‘My Child at School’ (MCAS) service.
Extended day with more time for learning
At GWA we have a longer day, providing more time to embed core subjects and to extend the curriculum through enrichment. Our curriculum has been planned to provide pathways from any level at entry to high achievement at exit and our enrichment programme seeks to enhance opportunities for students to develop their talents and interests or explore new things, supported by our partners in the community.
All students take part in the enrichment programme, which runs daily Monday to Thursday. The range of activities include sports, arts, academic pursuits, alternative and additional qualifications, extended projects, social enterprise, community service, outdoor education and more!
Further details can be found here
Life skills, literacy and numeracy
A strong command of English and Mathematics is a vital foundation for the whole curriculum. We prioritise this so that all students can prosper. In particular, we focus at GWA on reading. Each day features a reading session where everybody in the school reads together. Students have access to books which provide appropriate challenge through the Accelerated Reader scheme. Teachers can track and monitor student reading patterns, make suggestions and work with them to make the most of their reading time through the use of Reading Cloud, our integrated schools library system which allows students to complete quizzes on what they have read, share information on books and earn rewards for making progress with their reading.
See our reading page here
It is crucial that all of our students are well prepared for life outside school. Working with employers and business partners, we will ensure that academic and applied vocational elements are seamlessly combined in curriculum planning to stimulate students’ interest and motivation and demonstrate how studies are relevant to career prospects and the world of work.
We focus explicitly on developing six skill areas: leadership; teamwork; listening; presenting; creativity; and problem solving skills. Working with numerous partners, our Successful Lives tutor programme explores careers options with students from day one. We know they might change their minds, but we understand the value of making learning relevant and setting long term career goals.
Post-16 students will be helped to find part-time paid work or a worthwhile work placement in partnership with local employers, to prepare for the world of work and gain skills and experiences that are valued in our community. Traineeship programmes (with work placements) and Apprenticeship programmes will be offered to 16-18 learners as appropriate.
A school for the community
We work closely with community groups, local leaders and parents to encourage all in the local community to interact with the school and its student body. Adult community learning programmes are offered in the evenings through New College to engage local parents and community groups. Our ethos is focused on embedding life skills and citizenship. We want to develop self-motivated, creative and enterprising youngsters who think critically and use their imagination. Students develop interpersonal skills, work in teams in school and beyond and are proud of their community and the benefits of supporting it.
We have established a professional, safe and caring environment. All of our students, and especially our vulnerable groups, are provided with a safe environment to learn and thrive. By helping to identify children who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, appropriate support and action can be taken to keep them safe, both at home and in school. We remain committed to working with local partners and agencies in keeping children safe and happy.