We work together to provide outstanding education.
The Levels Academy Trust (comprising Hambridge, Huish Episcopi, Middlezoy and Othery primary schools) met on 25 November for the first time for an intra-academy debating competition.
The competition was judged by Mr Duncan Sinclair (Head of Taunton Preparatory School) and Mr David Warburton (MP). The competition comprised 5 teams who debated topics such as Should Puppy Farming be Banned, Should Drugs be Banned from Sport to the winning topic by Huish Episcopi pupils, Should Teachers Be Replaced by Computers. From the event 2 pupils from each of the schools will be selected to represent a The Levels Academy Trust debating team which will be put forward for other events.
The schools have worked closely together since 2011 to extend and enhance the quality of educational opportunities and inspire and nurture its pupils to be well rounded individuals and the best that they can be in a safe environment.
Delivery of joint level 6 Maths booster sessions was agreed as a priority in order to meet the needs of our most able pupils. This resulted in an improvement of 5% over the first year in pupils achieving Level 6. Maths Leaders within the four schools work closely with a Somerset Maths consultant together to ensure that The Levels Academy is in close touch with all the current thinking behind teaching in Maths.
The Levels Academy believes that Literacy is a fundamental life skill. Literacy develops children's ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. Pupils apply these skills in other areas of the curriculum and of school life as we believe Literacy is a central skill which is needed across the curriculum and throughout life. The Levels Academy holds joint staff training on Talk for Writing and staff work across the schools to evaluate and moderate pupils' writing.
The creative arts provide a unique way of communicating that can inspire and motivate children. It is a vehicle for personal expression, and it can play an important part in the personal development of young people through painting, drawing, dance, music or literature. To further bring this to life, pupils from The Levels Academy have the opportunity of outside visits to eg Buckingham Palace, to learn drawing skills in its garden or to meet authors and write about paintings in the State Rooms or go to the theatre to view shows such as War Horse.
Science is about children developing a sense of enquiry and extending their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Working closely with its Collaborators, Huish Academy and Taunton School, The Levels Academy pupils have the opportunity of attending STEM days and science workshops which helps develop and extend their scientific concepts to enable them to be curious about the world. This enables the children to learn to work as scientists, planning and undertaking practical investigations. Furthermore the The Levels Academy schools hold a science week each year which includes an emphasis on hands-on practical skills and includes a whole Academy trip to @Bristol.
During each term The Levels Academy Schools hold joint curriculum focus weeks which to date have included:
Using outside authors, consultants, historians etc these weeks are very successful and give the pupils additional learning opportunities.
In September 2014, the DfE made huge changes in the way that children in schools are to be assessed to tie in with the New National Curriculum to avoid what has been termed 'The Level Race' where children have moved through the old National Curriculum levels quickly to achieve higher attainment. The old National Curriculum was sub-divided into levels, but these were not linked to their national curriculum year group. The feeling from the DfE was that the old national curriculum and the levels system failed to adequately ensure that children had a breadth and depth of knowledge at each national curriculum level.
To develop a relevant tracking system The Levels Academy Trust hold joint INSET days on assessment without levels. This builds on previous work to develop a tracking system common to all schools in the The Levels Academy which enables teachers to clearly see strengths and areas of development for their classes. Working with outside consultants The Levels Academy is also in the process of developing its own assessment materials based on units covered. This will lead to targeted training across the schools.
Each school has its own curriculum but all of the schools have a strong element of arts and sport.