The Aspire Experience

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Student Survey 16

Aspire Academy aims for all students to leave with the tools to be a successful, positive contributor to society, irrespective of their starting point when joining us. Aspire accepts our students may have faced many challenges to the point they join us. Aspire accepts our students may continue to face challenges in their every day lives. However Aspire Academy is committed to supporting students in overcoming their barriers to learning and helping them develop towards being valuable members of their community post-16.

Aspire Academy achieves this by providing a varied education enabling them to leave equipped with the right qualifications, developed personal attributes and a good understanding of their community and how they impact on it. At Aspire we believe those students with challenges and barriers to learning should have the same educational opportunities as all other students in the country. This includes access to resources, high quality teaching, educational trips and visits and a wider learning outside the classroom.

This is the Aspire Experience.

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Qualifications 

Students follow a varied curriculum with its roots heavily implanted in that of basic literacy, numeracy and I.T skills. With good skills in these areas, students will have the best chance of a positive post-16 outcome. Therefore the core skills found in English, maths and I.T run throughout all subject areas.

High quality teaching will enable students to make the progress they are able to, including more rapid progress where gaps in learning are evident. Both qualified teachers and teachers/HLTAs providing specialist knowledge and experience deliver high quality lessons, supported by a vigourous quality assurance programme ensuring standards are maintained.

All students will sit English and maths GCSEs at KS4; in addition to other qualifications. All KS4 students will have the opportunity to study a vocational course including Motor Vehicles, Hair and Beauty, Construction. Students who join Aspire Academy after the start of a key stage or a year are provided with a more personalised timetable including intervention or additional extra curricular time after school.

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Personal Attributes

Students must be able to function successfully with both peers, adults and authority in order for the best chance of success post-16.

The pastoral core of the Academy is designed with this in mind. Aspire provides a structured, calm environment for all students to learn. Support is in place for students who find a school environment challenging with a strong pastoral team consisting of key stage managers, teaching assistants and SLOs. There is a clear behaviour, rewards and sanctions policy in place, which teaches students about personal responsibility, control, boundaries and levels of acceptable behaviours. The approaches of restorative practice and circle time (BASE), along with built in opportunities for reflection and resolution, support the policies in place and allow students to revisit events, discuss the process they went through at the time and speculate and be guided in how to respond to a similar situation if it was to happen again.

Further to this, students who need additional social skills support will attend, as part of their full-time timetable, external providers whose provision is designed specifically to address this.

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Community

Students must be able to recognise the communities they belong to, their potential impact on that community and their responsibility to the wider global community as a whole. This is essential if they are to be successful post-16.

Aspire Academy allows students to recognise their immediate roles within their local communities (including academy, team, family home, area and city). Students follow the CAP (Community Award Programme) which not only supports them in the aim above, but further encourages them to become positively involved in what is going on around them. The programme requires them to self assess and evaluate their contributions at regular intervals throughout the academic year. The programme requires them to collate and liaise with various members of their local communities in order to evidence their contributions. These are recognised with pin badges and certificates, providing a useful evidence base to present to employers and post-16 training providers during applications and interviews. This also allows the community to view them in a different light, amending any negative perceptions some may have of young people, allowing young people to feel pride and confidence in what they can do for others and recognise the positives in much of what they do already.

Aspire Academy provides opportunities to engage with the wider community and the international community. Aspire Academy is in the process of registering for the International School Award (ISA) and hopes to have obtained this by Summer 2015. Aspire is developing links with schools in Poland, Sierra Leone and China; three contrasting cultures whereby students can learn about the lives, traditions, beliefs and challenges facing young people around the world. As part of the links, students are to produce projects and communicate regularly with other students. Activities like this not only encourage understanding, tolerance and perspective but empathy and communication skills, not least the importance of using Standard English in order to do so effectively.

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Trips and Visits

Trips and visits are essential to providing a broad and well rounded curriculum. They encourage resilience, determination and challenges students outside of their comfort zone. Aspire students have the opportunity to take part in various trips and visits, in excess of those they are entitled to attend as a result of the rewards policy. Examples include:

Aspire students have the opportunity to visit Poland and China in 2015 in partnership with Archbishop Sentamu Academy visits to their own link schools, until 2016 when Aspire will visit their own international link schools. The visits provide opportunities to work in partner schools and also learn from historical sites such as Auschwitz.DSCN5310

In 2015, Aspire is able to offer students the opportunity to visit France as part of the First World War Centenary Battlefield Programme.

In 2014, Aspire students are taking on a 5 day sailing challenge (in conjunction with CatZero). There are plans for the same opportunity in summer 2015.

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