A bright future for SUA
I feel incredibly proud to be the Principal of Staffordshire University Academy. I was appointed to the role in October 2014 by Staffordshire University Academies Trust, who are our sponsor. With the support of our students and our committed staff, parents and governors our academy is going from strength to strength. We are lucky to be based in a state of the art £10 million building in Hednesford. We have excellent facilities to enhance the learning experience of all of our students and we also have access to the huge resources and support of Staffordshire University.
Having previously been judged by Ofsted, in March 2013, as ‘Requires Improvement’ we are justifiably proud of the recognition given by Ofsted in our most recent inspection in March 2015. Ofsted recognised the significant and sustainable improvements that have continued to be made. We are an inclusive community academy making a very positive contribution towards the life chances of our young people. I know that the staff at the academy would like to thank the students, parents/carers, our governors and the community for their contribution to this achievement. The Trust Board also recognise the improvements achieved as a result of the hard work of the students, teaching staff and the support staff who give such magnificent assistance to the work in all of our classrooms.
Our improvements are acknowledged by the recent Ofsted judgement rating ‘Leadership’ in the academy as “Good”. A letter received from Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools, wrote, “Your ambition and strong leadership will be crucial to Staffordshire University Academy making the necessary journey from requires improvement to good.” July 2015
Our goal is to ensure the very best support for every student and we do a lot to strengthen the literacy of all of our students. Every student in Year 7, 8 and 9 follow the Accelerated Reading Programme. We use information gathered from computerised reading quizzes and other reading tests, to support students. An extensive range of clubs, support activities and interventions are also in place to ensure success for all learners many taking place in our popular academy library. There has been a huge impact with our work supporting the development of reading; students making an average gain in their reading ages of over 2 years in a 12 month period. 2016 saw students of all abilities continue to build upon the successes of previous years. The hard work, perseverance and drive of students coupled with the support of their families and the inspiration and commitment of the staff produced some excellent performances in the Sixth Form. The 2016 summer examinations led to 62% of ‘A’ Level students moving on to study at university.
GCSEs taken last summer saw some of our students achieving outstanding results with proportionately more A*/A grades than ever before. Our key to improvement is sustainable success and having a dedicated team of staff supporting our learners. The results of 2016 showed our continued drive for further improvement is relentless. 48% of all students achieved at least a grade C in their English and maths, a huge improvement on the previous years.
We continue to have record numbers of students attending weekly Saturday Study sessions and additional revision lessons held during period 6. It is a time of significant change for all of our learners in Year 11 and there is added pressure in both English and mathematics with new GCSE specifications and a new grading system of 9-1 rather than A*-G. Lots of hard work is going on at the academy to support our students with these challenges. Every school in the country will face some uncertainty this summer due to the nature of these changes. Students, families and academy staff will all be hoping to see the hard work pay off when the results are published this August.
We have some really talented teachers at SUA. The key issue in the past was securing the progress of the learners in the younger year groups in order to sustain long term success. Ofsted recognised this significant improvement, in their 2015 report, when they concluded that, “more rapid progress is being made and this will lead to year on year improvement.” I am keen for parents to know that our leaders, at every level, have been (as stated in the full report), “relentless in eradicating inadequate teaching and in establishing their high expectations of both staff and students.”
I would like to acknowledge the work of our governors who continue to support our improvement journey by working tirelessly as critical friends over the last few years. Governors are all volunteers and they work hard to support the academy to ensure we are doing all we can do to embed ambition and aspire to be even better year-on-year.
These continue to be exciting times at SUA as the numbers of applications for places at the academy continue to rise; a 50% increase in the number of applications for three years in a row. We have really strong community links and I am enthusiastic about our future. Our vision is to achieve better outcomes for all of our young people by raising standards of progress and attainment by focussing on the core business of learning and teaching.
I hope as many parents and families as possible come and see what we have to offer at our rapidly improving academy. I also hope you like our new website – launched this month it brings us right up to date and gives our academy a fresh new look!
If you would like to find out more about our academy please feel free to come and visit us during a normal working day. You will see why we are all so determined to help our students be the best they can be; you will see our students hard at work and see staff whom enjoy working to support these ends.
Mrs Hillier – Principal