Our physical school is temporarily closing, for most students, but our ‘virtual school’ stands ready for you and your children.
We have added a Virtual Learning area to our website for secondary students. We will keep in touch closely with students and parents to support each other as we all adapt to this new situation. This is new territory for all of us, but we remain as one school community committed to making sure that Learning Changes Lives.
Harris Garrard Academy is a new school with drive and ambition. We are an all-through school, so pupils can join us in reception and stay until they have completed their sixth form education. There are also places available for pupils to join us in Years 7 and 12. Please see our admissions page for details of how to join our school.
In September 2017, we joined the Harris Federation. This is one of England’s most successful groups of academies. All of their academies have been rated ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ by Ofsted within three years of opening.
The best we can be
At the heart of this success is an absolute belief in the ability of every student to shine – no matter what their background, ability or character. We combine the traditional values of discipline, respect and good behaviour with contemporary best practice in teaching, learning and technology.
We will accept no excuses for being anything but the best we can be. We focus on the development of our students as individuals, and guide them by allowing honest, trusting and equal relationships to form. We do this by regularly monitoring progress and understanding, using our developmental marking policy, class discussion, and role-modelling of expected behaviours.
Stronger as a team
When a student joins our academy some will already be high-fliers, others will be good all-rounders and some will face significant and individual challenges. Each student will already have a unique personality, gift and character that we will develop further by working together. I have made it clear to everyone at the academy that we are stronger as a team than a group of individuals, and that by pulling in the same direction we will achieve great things.
Bringing learning alive
Teachers take the time to get to know and understand each student. Whether they need to be stretched, are struggling, or are somewhere in the middle, we will always work to inspire the best in them. This means:
- Offering a full, broad and balanced curriculum, and helping every student find something they excel at;
- Keeping class sizes as small as possible, and employing teachers who make learning fun and engaging;
- Giving support to students who need it through extra tuition in literacy and numeracy;
- Offering a range of specialised courses for our Most Able students;
- Setting regular homework - for Year 7 students this will usually be two or three subjects per night;
- Encouraging debate, participation, and a spirit of enquiry.
We encourage our students to be critical thinkers and promote these skills throughout the curriculum. A student at Harris Garrard Academy will learn how to engage critically with foreign affairs, religion and society, issues of citizenship and the media, so they acquire the skills, and recognise the value of, thinking for themselves in a well-reasoned manner. This feeds into our desire to leave our students with the ability to apply these same skills to any context, for example, whether they are being subject to peer pressure, or being actively targeted by extremist ideologies.
Children learn best when their school environment is safe, inclusive and welcoming. We have a culture of mutual respect between students and staff, and zero tolerance of bullying in any form.
We will work hard to get the best from all our students, reinforced by very clear expectations regarding conduct, manners, uniform and behavior which are non-negotiable and consistently enforced across the academy. We believe that success occurs in a framework of high expectations, whilst also acknowledging that mistakes provide valuable learning opportunities too.
This results in our students constructively engaging with resilience-building activities and a positive learning environment where students do not judge or discriminate against one another. We also support our students in challenging their own preconceptions as part of being meta-cognitive learners and ‘thinking about their thinking’.
This is a school at which everyone has the chance to find his or her own unique path to success, where everyone is aware of their rights and responsibilities towards themselves and others. I look forward to welcoming you in person, so you can experience our academy for yourself.
I hope that this website gives you the information you need and a sense of the aspirations we have for the pupils we educate. Whether you are a parent, prospective parent or member of our wider community, please feel free to contact us if there is anything further you require.
Executive Principal, Harris Garrard Academy, and Assistant Director, Harris Federation Secondary Education