Term has started really smoothly at Churchill. Our staff training day on Thursday 1st September focused on expectations and priorities for the year ahead – with the same messages emphasised to students through the start of term assemblies in the first full week back. Our new Year 7 and Year 12 students had the school to themselves on Friday 2nd September, to acclimatise to their new surroundings and prepare for their “step up.”
Priorities for the year ahead
As a school we are focused on three priorities for this academic year:
- Challenge: to ensure that the highest expectations of behaviour, learning and progress are evident in every experience that students have at Churchill
- The role of the tutor: to ensure that tutoring engages students in the values, ethos and purpose of the Academy, developing the inclusion, diversity and sustainability agendas and providing exemplary pastoral and academic support and guidance
- Assessment: to ensure that assessment provides valuable and accurate formative and summative information which accurately reflects students’ learning and progress, to inform next steps
There is more detail on these in the Academy Priorities and Development Plan on our website. The three priorities have been identified to ensure that our students continue to make the best possible progress through the curriculum at the Academy, with the right balance of challenge and support around them.
In the start of year house assemblies, we introduced the Senior Leadership Team to the students and laid out our expectations. These included the six learning values which underpin our systems at Churchill Academy & Sixth Form. We believe in the value of:
- Determined and consistent effort
- A hunger to learn new things
- Challenging ourselves to go beyond what is comfortable
- Viewing setbacks and mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow
- Seeking and responding to feedback
- Encouraging others to succeed
These values – especially the first – inform the effort grades we include on each student’s progress report, so we took the opportunity to run through the criteria teachers use to award “Good” or “Excellent” effort grades. We emphasised the fact that any student, no matter their ability, can meet the criteria for “Good” or “Excellent” effort – and it is effort that will ensure the best possible progress and attainment.
We also took the opportunity to run through the Top 5 Classroom Behaviour expectations that we established last year, to ensure that students know what is expected of them – every lesson, every time.
- Strong start: We arrive on time, line up and enter the classroom calmly
- Full attention: We are immediately silent and face the speaker when called to attention
- Full effort: We apply ourselves with our full effort to the learning tasks set
- Full focus: We focus all our attention on the learning tasks set
- Calm finish: At the end of the lesson we wait in silence for the member of staff to dismiss us
We also reminded students of the Code of Conduct and the Academy’s mobile phone policy. It has been fantastic to see students stepping up to these expectations in this first week, starting the term in just the right frame of mind. But a school year is a marathon, not a sprint – and we expect our students to maintain their high standards consistently throughout the year.