Your questions answered

We invited viewers to ask questions at our online Open Evening, and we thought we’d share the answers here. There is also a lot of additional information about our school in our prospectus. If you have any further questions, please email info@thearcheracademy.org.uk

As well as our twice weekly enrichment programme, we offer a range of clubs and societies before, during and after the school day. These typically include:

Sports:  Football, Netball, Trampolining, Rugby, Basketball

Creative and Performing Arts: Choir, Orchestra, Rock Band, Wind Band

Other: French Film Club, Debate Mate, Computer Coding Club

Take a look at what’s on offer this term

 

Our school has two campuses; Lower School, home to years 7, 8 and 9, and Upper School, attended by years 10 and 11. Our teachers commute between the two. Students spend the majority of time at their home campus, with the main exception being that Upper School students travel to Lower School for PE.

Our campus model allows each group of students to work and play within their own distinct space, surrounded by others near them in age. Our Lower School has a lively, welcoming feel, and is the place where our students establish themselves and discover their passions and skills. Upper School has a college-like atmosphere, offering a more grown-up environment for our students’ senior studies.

 

We have created an extensive transition programme to ensure that that our new students are excited, not daunted, and feel part of the Archer Academy right from the start. We begin the programme in the spring term of Year 6 and include:

  • Interviews with each family
  • Regular visits to primary schools
  • Our VIP Zone transition website, introducing teachers, subjects, and activities each week
  • Workshops and taster lessons
  • Our buddy programme with Archer students
  • A community literacy project

The result is that we really know our future students, and they know us, before they formally join us. The settling-in process continues once they arrive, with the initial fortnight focused on induction, helping students to build friendships and encouraging teamwork in class as the curriculum is introduced. There is also a residential visit in the first half term.

 

We have entered into strategic partnerships with two excellent sixth form colleges; Woodhouse College, a specialist A Level centre, and Barnet & Southgate College, a more vocationally-focused institution.

Around half to two-thirds of Year 11s move on to Woodhouse College, which is consistently ranked as one of the best sixth form colleges in the country (based on A*-B rates). The college has around four applicants for every place, but Archer Academy students have priority admissions which effectively puts them at the front of the queue.

Other typical sixth form destinations for Archer Academy students include Highgate, UCS, Kings College Maths School, Fortismere, Compton, the London Screen Academy and Westminster Kingsway.

 

Our school is a happy place, and that doesn’t happen by accident. We place great emphasis on building supportive relationships between staff and students, and provide a strong pastoral team of form tutors, heads of year, heads of house and other key members of staff who are focused on our students’ wellbeing.

Our students know that there is always someone they can go to if they have a problem or worry, large or small, and that they will be listened to and looked after. If they need extra support, such as counselling or learning mentors, we can offer it in-school, or point them to the right place. And our Sanctuary is always open for students who are having a difficult day and need space to recharge.

 

We have kitchens at both Lower and Upper School, and offer a range of hot meals, salads and sandwiches. Students can also bring packed lunch if they prefer.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are keeping students in year group bubbles and so are staggering lunch and break times to keep them apart.

 

We consider homework to be a valuable part of school life, allowing students to embed and extend their in-school learning. Year 7 students are introduced to homework gradually, building up to around seven hours per week by the end of the year, and increasing in subsequent years. Most homework is set with a deadline a week ahead.

We run a Homework Club every day after school, offering a quiet place to study and teachers on hand to help if needed. All homework is set via and app called Show My Homework, and parents are encouraged to download it onto their phones and keep an eye on how their child is doing.

Another advantage of our campus model is that students are able to take on leadership roles earlier than they might do in a more traditional set-up.

Our Year 9 students can apply for a variety of leadership roles including Head Prefects, Prefects and Junior House Captains. In Year 11, the leadership team includes a Head Boy and Girl, a Deputy Head Boy and Girl, Subject Prefects and Senior House Captains.

Year 11s also have the opportunity to set up and run student societies, with current examples including Female Leads, LGBTQ+, Black Lives Matter and the Environmental Society.

Our school is a diverse community, with students and staff from a wide range of nationalities and ethnic groups.

Whilst the GCSE curriculum, set by exam boards, is more limiting in terms of set text and topics, we celebrate the concept and reality of diversity in a number of ways, such as through our Thematic Learning curriculum, wider literature curriculum, cultural festivals and our Diversity and Inclusion Society. Over the past term we have carried out a full curriculum review to ensure that are taking every opportunity to address and celebrate diversity.

Like many institutions, we were struck by the impact of the death of George Floyd and the increased awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement. We addressed this as a school within assemblies and other activities, and hosted a virtual BLM event, in which staff, students and guests (including David Lammy MP and our English patron, author Ashley Hickson-Lovence) explored the issues surrounding life for people of colour in today’s Britain. You can watch a recording of the event here.

We are currently working with a group of schools to lobby the Department for Education to create a more inclusive curriculum.

 

Thematic learning is a specially designed subject that is unique to the Archer Academy. Its aim is to help students explore links between different subjects and develop analytical skills, by looking at topics across the curriculum.

Students spend half a term on each topic, and are encouraged to explore their creativity and work collaboratively. Topics studied to date include ‘Books that changed the world’, ‘Protest’, ‘Theme Park’ and ‘Our School, Our Community’.

 

It’s a fact of life that children can sometimes be unkind to each other, and that when relationships change, there can be friction. What’s important is that any issues between students are dealt with swiftly and thoughtfully.

Our zero-tolerance approach to any kind of bullying is underpinned by clear expectations of what behaviour is acceptable, and a robust set of consequences for when these expectations are not met. We also believe that restorative justice is a powerful tool, and encourage our students to make peace with each other, and coexist together, even if they cannot be friends.

 

We pride ourselves on providing a secure, nurturing environment in which students with additional needs are able to thrive. Indeed, our commitment to supporting students with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) is demonstrated by the fact that our Head of SEND sits on our Senior Leadership Team.

Each SEND student has a key worker who works with the student, their family and other members of our team to ensure that their academic and personal wellbeing is being taken care of. They are supported within the classroom by designated learning support assistants, and have access to creative interventions programmes covering topics such as reading, spelling, mental Maths and self-esteem.

We would invite parents with a SEND child to contact us in Year 5 to discuss our provision. 

Whist we pride ourselves on helping every child fulfil their potential, whatever their starting points, we recognise that more able students may need extra encouragement to reach their goals.

Our programme for Able, Gifted and Talented students includes stretch and challenge projects at both Lower and Upper School, and participation in the Brilliant Club. We also offer the chance to take extra GCSES, including Further Maths and additional languages, and put on talks such as Pathway to Medicine and Pathway to Oxbridge, in partnership with Woodhouse College.

It’s worth noting that we make many of these opportunities are available to students who have not been formally identified as AG&T, as we believe any student who is interested enough to give up their time for extra curricular activities should be encouraged to take part. We aspire to guide all of our students to take every opportunity for stretch and challenge.

We believe parents have an important role to play in supporting our school and helping our students to flourish. We see the relationship as a three-way partnership between parents, students and staff, based on mutual trust and respect, and we work hard to make parents feel involved in the life of our school.

Parents are invited to school for Learning Review Days, Parents Evenings and other key events focusing on curriculum choices, core subjects, Sixth Form applications, Further Education information and E-Safety. They are also encouraged to contact teachers directly via email and telephone to share concerns and good news.

In return, we ask our parents to play an active part in our school community, and to support us in helping their children meet our expectations, such as wearing the correct uniform, completing homework on time, and adhering to our smartphone ban.

We also ask parents to support the work of our Parents Association, who raise much needed extra funds for our school, and to sign up to our Parent Contribution Scheme.