As we continue to improve in all areas, Grace Academy has invested heavily in improving the overall school environment, alongside developing sustained, high levels of teaching and learning in every lesson.
After making substantial improvements over the past three years, Principal Darren Gelder insists the Academy is not about to rest on its laurels, despite being oversubscribed and with a sizeable waiting list. Darren explained:
“The GCSE and A Level results were yet again incredible, both overall and for many individual students, and we are expecting that all our students will achieve their expected level of progress again this year.
“Along with other schools, we faced uncharted waters last year with the new grading system in English and Maths, and other subjects will follow this year, but all the indications are that it will be another successful year for us.
“We have seen the Academy go from strength to strength, particularly in the core areas, which is a continuation of the work we have done to build firm foundations for the future. Whatever route our students decide to take, there is a pathway at the Academy to recognise and promote their talents and achievements.
“Using differentiation, we can establish which students are achieving their target grades, and ensure everyone is making the required level of progress. All we ask is that every child will try their best.”
Students’ academic achievement has been strengthened by significant investments in their learning environment and Darren commented: “We have developed a new dining hall and dedicated outside space for Year 7 and 8 students which gives them more space to grow and develop in their first two years with us.
“The new purpose-built playground and lunch space gives the students a special identity as part of the Grace Academy family, and has been welcomed by them and their parents and carers.
“We were fortunate to be successful in receiving Government capital funding for a new roof for the Academy which will be more environmentally friendly, keeping the heat in and the cold out. The roof will also bring more light into the Academy which has been widely linked to student progress.
“Our IT provision has been revamped with the introduction of iPads for all Sixth Formers. The Student Guild has requested docking stations for them so they become portable learning devices, embedded in every lesson, and the students’ skills and abilities with them are phenomenal.
“Our catering provider has changed to Caterlink, so we now have a whole new menu and a more flexible approach to healthy lunch provision which has significantly increased the up-take. Our new food pod outside offers convenient healthy food that you can grab and go and this have been very popular, ensuring all students have access to a nutritious meal throughout the day.”
Commenting on the addition of nine new members of staff, Darren said: “They are all bringing new approaches and concepts that we are embracing and working with. It’s good that these high calibre staff see this as a place where they want to come and work to progress their careers.”
Looking to the future Darren added: “The challenge is to make every lesson as good as it should be and ensure every child makes the right level of progress. We have all the skills, raw materials and attributes to achieve this and continue to be a great success on our journey.” Removed the words ‘to Outstanding’