Chairman's Report January 2018
As Chairman of the Governing Board, I am pleased to present the ninth
annual report to parents from Sandwell Academy's Governing Board, with
details of progress and success at the Academy during the academic year
Thomas Telford Multi Academy Trust (TTMAT)
In September 2017, Sandwell Academy became a founding member of the
newly-formed Thomas Telford Multi Academy Trust (TTMAT). This marks a
formalisation of the existing relationship the Academy has with the Thomas
Telford family of schools. The TTMAT currently consists of three secondary
schools; Madeley Academy, Sandwell Academy and Walsall Academy. The schools
continue to work collaboratively to seek the highest possible outcomes for
In August 2017, the Academy bid farewell to Simon Topper, Head of the
Academy. Mr Topper has led the Academy from when it first opened in 2006.
Having previously been a Deputy Headteacher at Thomas Telford School, Mr
Topper brought with him many of the key attributes to make the Academy such
a huge success. With these and his own drive, tenacity and vision, he led
the Academy to achieve a series of Outstanding judgements from Ofsted and
excellent outcomes for students, making the Academy one of the top
performing schools in the region. Mr Topper has now taken on a new role as
the Executive Assistant Advisor of the Thomas Telford Multi Academy Trust.
I wish him well in his new role and I am certain he will be very
We welcomed Ian Williams to the position of Headteacher at the start of the
new term. Mr Williams joined the Academy from his position as Principal of
Bulwell Academy and was formerly a Deputy Head at Thomas Telford School.
Students and staff have been very welcoming to the new Headteacher and we
look forward to Mr Williams continuing the legacy of success at the
Examination Results and Key Performance Indicators
The 2016/17 results are the first to report the new GCSE Mathematics and
English qualifications which utilise a numerical grading system. The new
exams herald a change to the demands within these subjects. Though it is
broadly agreed that a new grade 4 is a pass, the requirements to reach this
level is above that of the previous grade C. This change, prevents a true
comparison with previous outcomes; however, a number of observations about
students' exam results can be made. As a greater emphasis is now placed
upon the progress made by every child, it is very pleasing to see that the
Academy continues to do well in this area. Overall progress, as measured by
the recently introduced Progress 8 measure, has
improved from -0.25 to -0.06. These figures do not take into account
examination re-marks which improve the figure even further. Students
performed outstandingly in English, with 83% achieving a grade 4 or better
(4+) in either English Literature or Language; this was the best result
across Sandwell schools.
37% of students achieved an Ebacc qualification, well above the national
average of 24%. This is in line with the Academy's three year average and a
good performance considering the greater demands of the new GCSE
qualifications. 67% of students achieved a grade 4+ in English and
Mathematics; this is above the national average of 64% and will be used as
our new benchmark by which future performances will be measured.
Impressively, 20% of all qualification were at an A or A* grade or their
new equivalent of 7, 8 or 9. This is an improvement on the 15% equivalent
measure in 2015/16. 82% of students achieved five GCSEs at grade A*-C/ 4+
across all subjects.
56% of Pupil Premium students achieved five GCSEs grade A*-C/4+ with
English and Mathematics. This is 10% lower than the whole Academy figure
but shows a 2 percentage point reduction in gap over the previous year. 20%
achieved EBacc (17% gap). Pupil Premium students achieved an Attainment 8
score of 44.8 (4 point gap) and a Progress 8 score of -0.22 (0.16 point
2016/17 also marked the first year of the new tariffs for A-Level results.
Tariffs are numerical values assigned to each grade for A-Level
qualifications. Two different tariff systems are in popular use for the
purpose of performance tables, school comparison and for applications to
university and equivalent courses.
Overall, A-Level outcomes are very pleasing with Sandwell Academy's
progress value being 0.43; the highest in the region, placing the Academy
in the top 5% of the country. 2017 saw some fantastic destinations for our
6.2 leavers with 78% of students going on to university and 22% obtaining
apprenticeships, employment or going on to further education. 64% of our
university students gained places at their first choice university with 25
students securing courses at Russell Group universities.
Whilst we recognise that Key Stage 3 SAT's are no longer obligatory, the
Academy is keen to ensure that students are appropriately assessed in order
to monitor performance and to make sure parents have valid information
about their child's progress. As SAT papers are still available, the
Academy continues to use them in conjunction with internal marking. The
results achieved demonstrate that collectively, students are making
accelerated progress in their first two years at the Academy, and this can
only give students an improved chance of achieving in Key Stages 4 and Post
The Governing Board would like to thank parents for supporting their
children in helping to achieve excellent attendance figures, 96.6% this
year, which significantly exceeds local and national averages.
Ofsted Action Points
Sandwell Academy received a monitoring Ofsted inspection in May 2017. The
inspection team were highly impressed by their findings and awarded the
Academy an Outstanding grading. This is the third Outstanding judgement in
a row and testament to the hard work of all involved. The report can be
found on the Academy website.
Sport and Business Enterprise
Sandwell Academy specialises in Sport and Business Enterprise and places an
emphasis on these two areas in the curriculum and as part of the
extra-curricular programme. Annex 1 reports on developments in Sport,
including a Sporting Roll of Honour. Annex 2 reports on Business Enterprise
at the Academy.
The Academy's productions to date have included a wide range of shows
including 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat', 'Grease' 'The
Lion King' and most recently 'Disney's High School Musical'. This year will
see excited and talented students perform the Olivier award-winning musical
'Our House' inspired by the music of Madness. Auditions took place during
the Autumn term and rehearsals for the February production have started in
earnest. This year approximately 100 students will perform on a
professional set. The Academy continues to develop a reputation for superb
performances and the professional West End stage sets have been enjoyed by
students, parents, staff and governors.
The end of the Summer term saw a twist on the talent show 'The Voice' with
groups comprising of both staff and students. Staff and students spent many
hours finalising their routines and performed their perfected sequences to
an excited audience.
Year 7 were once again invited to share in a Christmas celebration of
carols, Christmas songs, music and the narration of the Christmas story.
This provided some additional performance experience for some of our
budding musicians and the Academy choir.
In addition, the annual Christmas Concert focused on showcasing the
blossoming talents of our musicians across the Academy. This concert
provides opportunities for many students to learn new skills and experience
the thrill of live performance. Academy staff enjoyed support from Sandwell
Youth Music and Arts Service, and it was particularly pleasing to see both
the Wind Band and String Group, as well as the Sandwell Academy Rock
School, continuing to go from strength to strength. The depth of talent
showcased during the evening was evident and included the Academy choir,
commercial rock groups, solo artists and musicians. The diverse programme
included traditional Christmas songs alongside pop songs, both old and new.
Visits and Trips.
Each year, a wide range and variety of educational visits and trips
continue to enrich the curriculum and be a real strength of the Academy's
academic provision. Over the course of the academic year 2016-/7 there were
a total of 72 educational trips and visits.
Residential trips included a London Science trip for 30 Year 9 students,
visiting attractions such as the Natural Science museum and Science museum.
A Summer choir residential where Performing Arts students from a range of
year groups took part in out of bounds activities, in addition to voice
coaching sessions. A field trip to the Bridlington coast line helped Sixth
Form geographers carry out important field work. Year 7 students took part
in the annual
residential Joe Hart football competition. In addition, Year 7 continued
the tradition of a residential as part of their induction programme, this
year visiting Kingswood Colomendy.
We once had the amazing opportunity to send a group of students on 'the
voyage', sailing across the Channel on a tall ship, developing skills of
teamwork and learning what it means to be on the open waters.
Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, visits to Universities, Twycross Zoo,
theatres, Cadbury World and a wide variety of sporting venues are just a
flavour of other visits that students benefited from experiencing.
Enrichment Programme – October 2017
The Enrichment Programme in October has been an exciting and enjoyable part
of the curriculum since the Academy opened. Year 7 attended Kingswood
Colomendy where they participated in numerous team building activities
designed to help them build relationships with other students.
Years 8, 9, 10, 11 and the Sixth Form were involved in a range of day
activities and residential trips:
Art workshop with John Denaro – 6.1/ 6.2
Educational trips London and Liverpool – 6.1/ 6.2
Master Classes/Workshop by Careers – 6.2
Twycross Zoo trip – 6.1
Build a Nation – 6.1
The Voyage – 6.1/6.2
Jamie Edwards – Motivational Speaker came in to see Year 11
Maximising Success – Revision Workshop for Year 11
PE Practical Moderation Work – Year 11
Art and Design Technology Workshops – Year 11
Additional speakers attended in English – Year 11
Ackers Outdoor Centre in Birmingham – Year 10
Duke of Edinburgh Award - Year 10
The Art trip to the Butterfly Farm in Stratford – Year 10
Tour of the Hawthorns (WBAFC) – Year 10
Wheelchair Basketball (WBA Foundation) – Year 10
Saci Lloyd – English writing speaker – Year 10
The Drama workshop – Year 10
Closer to the Edge Activity Centre Sandwell Valley – Year 9
Coca Cola Real Business Challenge & Dragons Den – Year 9
London Science Trip – Year 9
Language Festival – Year 8
Dudley Castle and Zoo – Year 8
All of the activities were carefully designed to enrich the students'
experience of the curriculum at Sandwell Academy and for the Sixth Form in
particular, to focus thoughts on their plans for
life after Sandwell Academy. The Enrichment Programme also provided a great
opportunity for Year 11 to focus on preparation for Controlled Assessments
in various subjects.
Careers education and guidance is vitally important to ensure our students make the most of the opportunities available to them. Students across the Academy use the Careers Resource area on a regular basis seeking help and support on a broad range of issues including employment search and university entry. The Academy and Governors share a view that it is our responsibility to secure employment or further education for all of our students.
Annex 3 provides details of the extensive work carried out by Mrs Rebecca Orton and her team during the last twelve months.
The Governing Board are keen to know the destination of all students that leave Sandwell Academy and a list of destinations for 2017 is also available in Annex 3.
Parent Advisory Group
The Academy's Parent Advisory Group (PAG) continues to thrive, with
successful fundraising activities and events. An enthusiastic team, led by
Parent Governor Jo Harvey, includes dedicated parents, a Deputy Head and
the Operations Manager. They meet termly with the Head to discuss
fundraising and ways to benefit Academy pupils. The PAG's main event is the
Summer Fayre and once again it proved to be a highlight of last year's
calendar. All years took part, including the incoming Year 7 students and
their parents. There was a lovely atmosphere as teachers and students took
part in fun activities and team sporting events. The table below shows the
amount raised each year since this event started:
The raffle was once again held in the Autumn term, with the Grand Draw
taking place on a Family Bingo night in November. This was an enjoyable
experience for PAG members and
again gave them the opportunity to work with Sixth Form students who are
studying Business and needed to organise an event as part of their course.
The PAG's continued fundraising activities are of immense benefit to the
Academy and its students. A total of £3182.34 was raised through the PAG's
activities in 2016-2017, and before the bidding round for departments in
September 2017, there was still a rolling budget of £4254.65.
The funds raised contribute towards valuable additional equipment or
resources for students. Departments are able to submit bids which are then
discussed, evaluated and distributed at termly meetings.
We look forward to building on the success of the PAG in the coming year.
Finance, Administration & Premises
We are most fortunate to have the services of Mr Steve Turton, Governor and
Director of Finance, Mr Daljeet Kangh, ICT Manager, and Mr Andrew Currier,
Mr Turton, has maintained a firm rein on the finances, achieving optimum
value for money. Coach provision continues to be an area for focus as
government funding to schools are further squeezed. This year we will be
seeking a solution to maintain the option for students to travel to the
Academy by coach but reduce the impact this has on the Academy's budget.
Mr Kangh always ensures that Sandwell Academy's technology is first rate
and up to date. He and his staff work tremendously hard during the year to
install new systems and carry out upgrades and maintain the performance of
our computer facilities. He successfully replaced the network
infrastructure and 250 PCs last year. The MIS system was replaced with
Bromcom last October half term and is an ongoing process as we learn to
adopt the full functionality of Bromcom.
Mr Currier continues to maintain the Academy to an exceptionally high
standard. His diligence, and the hard work of his staff, keeps the Academy
clean, safe and graffiti free. Mr Currier also has responsibility for
Health and Safety issues at the Academy and it is our primary concern to
take all steps possible to minimise risk to students, staff and visitors to
During the year, plans have been developed for an extension to the Academy
building, to incorporate more Science laboratories and an additional
cloakroom. This is in direct response to feedback from students and the
ever increasing popularity of Science in Post 16. We are looking forward to
work starting in early 2018 and expect the new facilities to be ready for
The annual programme of repairs have resulted in the fabric of the building
being maintained to its usual high standard. The phased programme of
external maintenance ensures that the fabric of the Academy is maintained
to the highest possible standard. The groundsmen have once again kept all
areas tidy and have ensured that playing surfaces and pitches have been
conserved in good order. It continues to be very pleasing that students
respect the quality of their environment and thus contribute to its ongoing
Once more, our non-teaching staff and administration team have worked hard
to provide effective support to the senior management team and teaching
staff. Using our Keep Kids Safe email/text service and updating our website
and Twitter feed, these staff are able to ensure high levels of
communication exist between the Academy and parents.
The Catering staff continue to provide varied and healthy meals and snacks
in the restaurant and still retain the 'EAT Gold Good Hygiene Award.' This
award reflects the high standards of hygiene and cleanliness present in the
Academy kitchens and restaurant.
Student safety, when arriving at and departing from the Academy, continues
to be of paramount importance. A matter which remains of a concern to the
Governing Board is the small number of parents who persist in turning round
in the Academy entrance and parking on the yellow lines. May I request your
assistance to ensure that students are not placed in any danger; your
co-operation in this matter is greatly appreciated.
We are fortunate in continuing to attract and appoint hard working,
experienced or newly-qualified teachers to maintain our full complement of
teaching staff. We attract teaching staff from different backgrounds
including utilising the Schools Direct Scheme, Teach First and local and
national recruitment methods.
The Academy recognises its responsibility for providing high quality
professional development for our staff to ensure their skills are
constantly refined and up to date. Their high standard of teaching ensures
that each child achieves their potential. Where there is a need in any
subject area, support is provided by committed and conscientious teachers.
Supply teachers are never used for cover, as our own staff cover for absent
Sandwell Academy works very closely with our sister schools, Thomas Telford
School, Madeley Academy, and Walsall Academy; all very successful
establishments in their own right. The Headteachers meet termly to discuss
ways of supporting each other for the benefit of students and the
professional development of staff.
A major initiative across the family of schools this year was to prepare
for the formation of the TTMAT and to ensure a seamless transition was
experienced by all staff and students. I am happy to report that this was
achieved and the Academy will continue to benefit from its close working
relationship with the other schools.
Throughout the year, the Academy has undertaken a range of other outreach
and community work which is detailed in Annex 4.
Local Governing Board
As part of the transition to the TTMAT, the Governing Board had been
succeeded by a TTMAT Local Governing Board (LGB). The majority of former
Governors have been appointed to the LGB, ensuring continuity, a wide range
of skills, and knowledge of the schools' local context.
A full list of Governors can be found in Annex 5.
On behalf of Governors, I would like to record our congratulations and
gratitude for another hugely successful year that has been achieved by the
skill, knowledge and industry of everyone involved in Sandwell Academy. The
Academy continues to strive for excellence in everything it does and
student achievements result from superb leadership supported by the
dedicated and committed teaching and non-teaching staff. I would also wish
to recognise the importance of the role parents and carers play in
supporting students in reaching for their potential by taking advantage of
the width of education on offer not only in the class rooms and sports
fields but also by the wide-ranging enrichment programme. It is of course
students who ultimately determine their own futures but the vast majority
are seizing the opportunities provided, taking account of guidance and
through their own commitment, the overall Academy results continue to be
Clive Tonks, Chair of Governors