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By School News
Posted: 12/06/2024

Aquila pupil aged 11 makes five years progress in four months

A pupil at one of Aquila, the Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust, schools has made an astonishing five years’ progress in his reading in just four months. Luke Rogers, 11, went from reading only 143 words per minute to a fluent 309 words per minute in only 16 weeks after his school, St Clement's Church of England Primary School in Leysdown, adopted a new approach for some pupils. The school experimented with Reading Plus, a programme that encourages healthy competition among pupils and uses AI to improve reading fluency.  The primary school already has a strong emphasis on reading, with a dedicated daily time for pupils to read each day and reading challenges and competitions over the holidays.  Kelly Lockwood, St Clement’s Headteacher, said Luke had “worked his socks off” and was “a model of persistence for his classmates”. She said the 11-year-old, whose favourite author is David Walliams, is “highly motivated, persistent and has an excellent work ethic”. She said the school had found a number of its pupils were highly motivated by the Reading Plus programme “because it seems to provide a different approach to reading, which has helped some of our more reluctant readers, as well as those who were already enjoying a good book”. “Luke really wanted to be top of the leaderboard in reading,” she said. Gemma Rogers, Luke’s mum, said her son now has “much more enthusiasm for reading, especially with the friendly competition between him and his classmates about who can read the most words”. “It has really increased his motivation and his reading ability.  We are very proud of him and his dedication to his reading," she said.
By School News
Posted: 29/04/2024

Ofsted inspectors say Kent junior school is 'rapidly improving'

Ofsted inspectors say Kent junior school is 'rapidly improving' A Kent junior school has been judged 'outstanding' for its pupils’ personal development and 'good' in all other areas. Ofsted inspectors visited St Laurence in Thanet Church of England Junior Academy in Ramsgate last month. The school, whose pupils are aged seven to 11, was previously judged 'good' overall in 2018. The inspectors said that since a new leadership team took over, the school has been on a 'rapidly improving trajectory', with 'much achieved in a relatively short period of time'. In their report, which has just been published, the inspectors found the school’s governors and the academy trust that the school is part of - Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust - have played a 'significant [role] in supporting leaders at all levels to improve the school'. “Large-scale changes in the way mathematics is taught and how pupils who struggle to read are supported is proving effective,” the inspectors said. “The significance of this is clear to see … it is impacting positively on the wider curriculum and helping to build the confidence and resilience of pupils, the large majority of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.” The inspectors described pupils’ personal development as “strong”. “This does not happen by happy coincidence,” they said. “Much of this work is based on the reality of pupils’ everyday lives and mitigates the challenges they face outside of school.” The inspectors had some suggestions of how the school could further improve, including by continuing to raise expectations of what pupils can achieve and by continuing to reduce absence rates. Sarah Graham, the school’s Headteacher, said: “St Laurence in Thanet offers a supportive, inclusive, nurturing and inspiring learning environment where children are encouraged through an aspirational and engaging curriculum to develop their knowledge, skills and character. It’s a privilege to work here.” Annie Wiles, Chief Executive Officer of Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust, said the school’s improvement was “down to the hard work, enthusiasm and experience of its inspirational team”.
By School News
Posted: 29/04/2024

St Mary of Charity Primary School "brings maths to life"

St Mary of Charity Primary School "brings maths to life" Ofsted inspectors have praised an outstanding Kent primary school for “bringing maths to life”. Inspectors visited St Mary of Charity Primary School in Faversham last month. Ofsted return to outstanding schools approximately once every four years to check they are keeping up their high standards in what are called ‘ungraded inspections’. In their report, which has just been published, the inspectors said the school had “rightly prioritised the development of an ambitious and well-planned curriculum”.  “Staff are trained and supported well to implement the new curriculum successfully. This is especially evident in mathematics, where teachers bring the subject to life,” they said. The inspectors praised the way teachers break down and explain mathematical concepts to pupils and ensure they develop fluency in the subject. The inspectors were also impressed at how the school had “created a culture where books are shared and enjoyed by all”. They said pupils are “polite, thoughtful and caring to each other”. “Pupils enjoy being at school … expectations are high and classrooms are calm and purposeful places to learn”.  One parent told inspectors that “teachers have been thoughtful about the support they provide and have enabled my child to be a successful and happy member of the school community”. There were three suggestions to further improve the school, which include giving extra support to pupils in the early stages of learning to read. Louise Rowley-Jones, the school’s Headteacher, said: “We are all so proud of our school. It is a safe, lively and purposeful place to work and learn. The staff team work relentlessly to ensure that children have the very best educational opportunities. In the last two years there have been big developments in our curriculum to ensure that children achieve the very best in Reading, Writing and Maths. We welcome the opportunity to showcase the school further at our next graded inspection”. St Mary of Charity is part of Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust. Annie Wiles, Chief Executive Officer of the trust, said the inspectors’ comments were “testament to the enormous dedication and high-quality of the school’s staff and the strong relationship between the school and its local community”.
By School News
Posted: 26/03/2024

Schools Minister praises two schools in our Trust for exceptional results

Schools Minister praises two schools in our trust for exceptional results The Schools Minister Damian Hinds has praised two Kent primaries in Aquila, Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust for being in the country’s top 1% for reading, writing and maths. Hinds sent letters of congratulations to Charing Church of England Primary School, which is near Ashford, and Temple Ewell Church of England Primary School, in Brookside, for their “very high standards of achievement”. Both schools are part of Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust. Some 16 primary schools across Kent are part of the trust. At Charing, 100% of pupils in Year 6 have reached - or exceeded - expected standards in reading, writing and maths, while 94% have at Temple Ewell. In his letter, Hinds said: “The government wants to ensure that every child has the fluency in reading, writing and mathematics necessary to prepare them for a successful secondary education and beyond, which is why I was delighted to see your results. “Thank you for your work in continuing the drive towards higher academic standards, and congratulations again to you and your staff for your commitment and success.” Annie Wiles, CEO of Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust, said: “Our schools provide exceptional learning experiences and we are so proud of Charing and Temple Ewell for this achievement. “Our schools design their coverage of the curriculum to provide challenging and exciting learning experiences in a caring and nurturing environment which is based on our strong Christian values.” Angela Matthews, Headteacher of Temple Ewell, said: “These results have been achieved through a tireless and unwavering focus on ensuring that each and every child receives an outstanding education, and by providing a rich and varied curriculum that enables pupils to progress and achieve their very best, whilst still retaining a thirst for knowledge and an enjoyment and love of learning.” Tom Bird, Charing’s Headteacher, said: “This is testament to the hard work and dedication of our wonderful pupils and our caring and committed staff. “Every child in our school is valued and we have a supportive, nurturing team to make sure that each one of them feels supported and happy at our school.”
By School News
Posted: 21/03/2024

Inspectors praise Kent school where 'pupils greet everyone with a smile'

Ofsted inspectors have heaped praise on a Kent primary school for being a “caring and kind community” where “pupils greet everyone with a smile”. Inspectors visited St Georges Church of England Primary in Sheerness last month. The school has retained its overall ‘Good’ rating in its latest Ofsted inspection, but it has been upgraded to ‘Outstanding’ for the behaviour and attitudes of its pupils and its leadership and management. Inspectors said the school, which is part of Aquila, the Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust, was “welcoming and inclusive”. “Pupils are proud ambassadors … and show impeccable manners, politely welcoming all, as they open doors and greet everyone with a smile,” the inspectors said. “They speak with delight and enthusiasm about how much leaders and staff care about them. If they have any worries, help is never far away.” Ofsted praised the curriculum, which they said had been “designed with precise knowledge from early years to Year 6”. “Pupils become confident mathematicians, writers, and scientists as they move through the school,” the inspectors said. They added that the school had taken “robust action” to improve achievements in maths and writing after results were weaker than the national average last year. The inspectors also said the school’s leaders were “inspirational, compassionate and successful, always leading by example”. “They embody the school values every day, showing deep care for pupils, families and staff.” Howard Fisher, St Georges’ Headteacher, said: “We pride ourselves on providing a caring, happy and positive atmosphere for all our children to fulfil their potential and grow in self-confidence and respect for the people and environment around them. “We agree with Ofsted that our pupils greet everyone with a smile - it’s part of what makes working at the school so rewarding.” Annie Wiles, Chief Executive Officer of Aquila, the Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust, said: “Ofsted has rightly acknowledged that St Georges is a highly successful school and that is down to the hard work, commitment and excellent leadership of the school’s community.” Click here for the OFSTED report.
By School News
Posted: 15/12/2023

St Nicholas CE Primary Academy praised by Church of England inspectors

New Romney primary school praised by Church of England inspectors   Church of England inspectors have heaped praise on St Nicholas CE Primary Academy in New Romney, describing it as having “life-changing impact across the community” and “inspirational leadership”. A quarter of all primary schools are Church of England establishments and St Nicholas is one of 16 academies that are part of Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust. All Anglican and Methodist schools are inspected by the Church of England; this is separate to Ofsted inspections. A Church of England inspection focuses on the impact of the school’s Christian vision and is called a Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools Report (SIAMS). There are no gradings - inspectors simply state whether the school is living up to its foundation as a Church school. Inspectors, who visited St Nicholas in November, said the school was more than achieving this aim. They said the school had “exceptionally strong partnerships” which “impact positively on people’s lives producing lasting change”. “The school values of ambition, community, friendship, perseverance, respect and trust are intrinsically woven through the vision,” inspectors said. “Pupils rightly explain how these values support all to thrive. Everyone in the school aspires to ‘be a Barnabas’, creating a culture of kindness and support.” The inspectors particularly praised how the school’s more than 400 pupils look for opportunities to make a positive difference to the world. “Writing to the prime minister, older pupils show a mature understanding of the plight of child refugees arriving on boats,” the inspectors said, while other pupils have requested a ban on laminating in school after learning about climate change. “Pupils have also worked together to set up a permanent community food cupboard within the school … after recognising that food poverty was an ongoing concern not limited to the season of harvest.” The inspectors praised the school’s curriculum as “exciting, fun, imaginative” and linked to local history and issues. “Leaders ensure that the wide and varying needs of the pupils are met through the broad and rich learning on offer,” the inspectors said. Christopher Dale, St Nicholas’s Headteacher, said: “We are proud to be a welcoming, inclusive and aspirational learning environment with our community at our heart. “We are delighted that the inspectors recognised our many strengths. We will continue to do our very best for our pupils and our wider community.” Annie Wiles, CEO of Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust, said: “This is testament to the hard work and committed and excellent team at St Nicholas’s who put the needs of pupils at the centre of everything they do.”   Notes to editors:   The SIAMS report can be found here: file:///C:/Users/jessi/Downloads/SIAMS%20report%20St%20Nicholas%20Church%20of%20England%20Primary%20Academy,%20New%20Romney%20142814%20301123.pdf   Please find attached an image of the school attached.   For any further information, please contact Jessica Shepherd on jessica@sparrowhawkcommunications.com or 07957147308