FAQs

General questions

Q. What are Academies?

A. Academies are Government funded schools that provide a first class, free education to local students of all abilities.

Each Academy is unique, able to provide local solutions to local needs, drawing on the expertise of Sponsors to deliver a distinctive ethos. They have additional flexibility to be more creative in what they offer and how they are organised and run. All offer a broad and balanced curriculum, consistent with national curriculum requirements, and focus on one or more specialisms.

Academies are all-ability schools established by Sponsors from a wide range of backgrounds including business, faith or voluntary groups working in highly innovative partnerships with central Government and local education and other partners. The Department for Education (DfE) funds the running costs of the Academy at the same level as other specialist secondary schools in Stoke-on-Trent.

Successful Academies share specialist experience and facilities with other primary, secondary and special schools, together with the local community. In this way, they play their part in the regeneration of communities, providing a focus for learning and raising aspiration.

Q. Is the Academy inspected by Ofsted?

A. Yes, all Academies are inspected by Ofsted using the same framework as for maintained schools. A full inspection is carried out on an Academy within 5 or 6 terms of opening.

Q. Is the Academy accountable?

A. The Academy aims to be at the heart of its local communities with local interests will be represented on the governing body.

The Academy is a local school for local children. The governing body and the Principal have responsibility for managing the Academy. Stakeholders including staff, parents, and City Council representatives, as well as the sponsors' nominees, will make up the governing body. As trustees the governing body has a public duty to act in the interests of the Academy and not the sponsors. Their accountability is similar to many maintained schools.

The governing body of an Academy is accountable to the Secretary of State for Education through the legally binding requirements of a Funding Agreement.  The Funding Agreement requires the governing body to publish procedures of its meetings.  As charitable companies, Academies must also prepare and file annual accounts with the Charity Commission, prepare an annual report for the Charity Commissioners, and ensure that their accounts are independently audited.   

 

The Sponsor 

Q. Who is Woodard Schools?

AWoodard Schools is a charity, not a commercial organisation. It was established more than 150 years ago in response to the need to provide education for all.

With its wealth of experience and educational expertise, Woodard sees a natural fit with the Kent academies programme and the sharing of the vision and ideas by Kent County Council.

 Woodard Schools believes that it is in a unique position to use its expertise as a Sponsor to support the Academy to succeed, in particular with curriculum extension and enrichment activities as a key to transforming educational achievement in the area.

 Woodard brings 150 years of successful school management both from a pastoral and an academic perspective. Within its 46 schools located across the UK, a third are in the state maintained sector.

Q. What experience does Woodard Schools have?

A. Woodard Schools has the experience and knowledge of running 46 schools and academies in England and Wales from some of the country's well-known independent schools to some most respected inner city schools. Woodard Schools has a range of schools in Kent including, Saint George's Church of England School, Gravesend; St Olave's Grammar School, Orpington; Trinity School, Belvedere and King's School, Rochester.

 

Uniform

Q. What is the Academy’s uniform policy?

AStudents attending the Academy are expected to look tidy and smart and wear their uniforms properly at all times.

Woodard Schools places great importance on the uniform, while being mindful of the cost for parents. Throughout all Woodard Schools the students wear their uniform so that they look smart and tidy at all times. Students are proud of their uniform and the school they belong to. As students are prepared for the demands of adult life they are taught the importance of 'creating a first impression' and how they are expected to dress and behave in the working world.

 

Admissions

Q. What is the Academy’s admissions policy?

AThe Academy is a local school for local children and has a fully inclusive admissions policy providing places for local students who wish to take up a place.

The Academy fully complies with the School Admissions Code of Practice and the School Admission Appeals Code of Practice as these apply to maintained schools. In the event that there are too few places available to satisfy all applications, places are allocated according to the following oversubscription criteria:

1. Children in Local Authority care

2. Current family associations (i.e. brother or sister in the school at the time of entry)

3. Health and special access reasons (for which a medical certificate would be needed)

4. Residence within a particular scheme of education

5. Nearness of children's homes to the school

It is expected that the Academy will continue to serve its existing local community. It is not envisaged that the Academy would introduce partial selection arrangements.

Entry to the Sixth Form is based on students' suitability for the courses available and would give priority of places to students in the catchment area, subject to their meeting a minimum level of attainment.

There are no faith grounds for admission and it the academy has the same admissions criteria as other, non church-controlled secondary schools in the area.

Q. What about children with Special Educational Needs?

AThe Academy promotes a positive approach to personalised learning and give high priority to meeting the needs of individual learners throughout their schooling. Woodard Schools believes that every young person has the right to be valued, respected and an equal member of the learning community.

Working alongside the Sponsor and partners, the Academy provides opportunities for students who showed gifts and talent in a particular area, while those experiencing difficulties with learning are supported and helped to succeed.

The Academy provides access for students with disabilities, including wheelchair users and would work within the framework of the Local Authority's special educational needs policies to offer an inclusive education.

Q. If this is a faith Academy is it open to students from all religions and none?

ASt Augustine Academy is open to local young people of all faiths or no faith, and has the same admissions criteria as other maintained secondary schools in the area.