Village Magazine - November 2019
Charles Read Academy – Three Houses one Community
We have a wonderful community at Charles Read Academy. We have three Houses, Terra, Caeli and Aqua, which are three smaller ‘family’ units within the wider community of ‘Team CRA.’ We emphasise the word unity with the students and talk about the importance of respecting everyone, acknowledging and celebrating our own uniqueness. We have students who passed the 11+, students who didn’t, students that didn’t take it and students from a range of social and cultural backgrounds. We are ambitious for every child, no matter what their background, prior attainment or needs both academically and socially.
We are clear about the type of learner we want to leave CRA after five years of education; one who is ambitious, who enjoys learning, is confident, culturally aware, who can form healthy and respectful relationships underpinned by our values of Confidence, Resilience, Aspiration, Courage, Respect and Ambition. We are determined to encourage our students to be responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society.
I regularly talk to staff about the school being like a small independent school with high expectations and standards, a successful House system and exciting enrichment opportunities. We have used our Pupil Premium grant to secure an additional maths and English teacher so that we have class sizes of 18 on average in years 9, 10 and 11 and in our Tutor groups. Our largest classes are in Years 7 and 8 at 28. The students have told us that they appreciate this and it is helping them progress. They are recognised and celebrated as an individual.
The students are in Year Tutor groups but mix, socialise and participate in House assemblies and events across the year groups; this builds their social skills and confidence. It is good preparation for life as we certainly don’t only mix with those of the same age as us - thank goodness! The House assemblies focus on our values, encourage students to participate in House events and focus on our three-year Character plan that encourages the students to develop transferrable life skills, which will help them function effectively in the world of work.
Our House events range from Countdown and University Challenge to Deal or No Deal, House netball and the like. We have a Music Quiz planned and a Lip Sync Battle as well as a spelling competition and a House debate. The most recent House event was a bit of Halloween fun with the Pumpkin Carving competition.
The House System also helps us to combat bullying by building relationships, which cross year groups and offer peer support.
We promote and provide opportunity for student voice, student responsibility, team building, leadership skills and co-operation. Students increasingly work together with staff to run their House, with students voting to elect leaders, exercise leadership and manage their own success as partners with the staff. Whilst we are three houses we are one community creating a school of which the students, parents, staff, governors and wider community can feel proud.