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Why choose The Dorcan Academy?

The Dorcan Academy is recognised as a school where ‘students from all backgrounds get along notably well together and have positive, appreciative relationships with staff and, where ‘the quality of pastoral care and advice is a great strength’. (Ofsted 2013).

I took up post at The Dorcan Academy in September 2015 and one of the first things that struck me was the warmth of the welcome from staff and students and the incredibly caring ethos which permeates the academy. Our pastoral provision is excellent. Staff at the academy are highly motivated and go to great lengths to provide a range of exciting learning experiences for students from the extensive extra-curricular programme offered to the wealth of school trips and events. We are highly successful in delivering the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to Gold standard and believe in educating the ‘whole child’. There is a positive atmosphere around the school, students behave well in lessons and report that they feel safe and enjoy their learning. As a result of our success in this area, The Dorcan Academy leads training nationally in positive behaviour management.

Recruiting outstanding teachers and ensuring our students receive the best quality teaching possible is our highest priority. All teachers strive to deliver consistently good and outstanding lessons through our 12 Principles of Teaching and Learning which involves both staff and students working together in partnership to achieve success. Teachers plan lessons in detail, taking account of each student, what steps they need to take to improve and how to achieve it. This attention to detail, backed up by high quality marking and feedback, engages our young people effectively in their learning and is reflected in their enjoyment of lessons.

In August 2016, our examination results were the best the school has seen for the past 3 years. 51% of our students achieved at least 5 GCSE passes at  A* - C – an 8% rise on 2015 -  and following remarks this figure could be higher. This was in a climate where the national picture has fallen. This shows that we are rapidly making significant progress. Our top 11 achievers gained 10 GCSE passes at grades A* - A. The actions my new leadership team and I have taken in the last year have already had notable impact and we are determined to achieve our shared vision of becoming an outstanding school of first choice at the heart of our local community. I am confident that with the support of our parents we can continue to raise achievement significantly. We know that nothing less is good enough for your children.

Exceptional achievement for every student and the highest examination results possible is our ultimate aim; however, we are not an examination factory. We aim to produce model citizens who stand out through their exemplary behaviour and attitudes and display positive personal attributes that will make them not only employable but also able to contribute to and make a difference to society. One of the most memorable experiences our students have at Dorcan is in Year 7 where they have the opportunity to attend camp. Here they learn vital life skills as well as having a ‘whale of a time’. The Dorcan Academy is committed to serving our local community and we have formed many links with community partners and local businesses which provide an added dimension to the school.

Encouraging high aspirations with our young people and their parents is an ongoing focus; we have some exceptional and nationally recognised careers advice and guidance in school. We have excellent links with universities and run an annual Progression Day for schools in Swindon. Virtually all of our students gain five GCSE passes moving onto education, employment or training.

As students pass through the academy we set them challenging individual targets based on their own capabilities, however, no ‘ceiling’ is ever put on their achievement. We encourage them to beat our targets! Tutors monitor and track students’ progress towards these targets. We have also developed a coherent support and intervention system for any students, at whatever level, who fall behind and ensure they get back on track as soon as possible. At every stage of this process, keeping parents informed about their child’s progress and how they can help is crucial.

The views of students and their parents are very important to us. With the staff and governors working in partnership with you and your children we have a powerful combination that serves as an excellent foundation to further improvement towards our goal of outstanding. Dorcan is a very special learning community where students are valued and nurtured to become the very best they can be. Our strapline is ‘Aspire to Greatness’ because we fundamentally believe that all our students were born to do something great and have greatness within them waiting to be discovered. We see it as our job to enable them to achieve their dreams and it is a wonderful job to have.

I very much hope that you will come and see the Academy for yourself. We are always open to visitors and we warmly invite and welcome you to see The Dorcan Academy students and staff in action.  If you would like to visit Dorcan, or to discuss any aspects of our work please do contact Mrs Louise Hitchen to arrange a time.

Sherryl Bareham

Headteacher September 2016