Ofsted Report Highlights Positive Aspects of School

Ofsted Report is released


Pictured: Me and the Senior Leadership Team

This week saw the release of our recent Ofsted inspection (click here to read) that used the new, tougher framework. . The report doesn’t hold any surprises for me as it verifies what I have known since joining the Academy in January: there are many positive aspects to the school, however it needs to improve further. That is exactly what the Ofsted report highlights.

The Academy is currently heavily oversubscribed and we are managing a waiting list of those wanting to join us. For me, it is easy to see why parents and children are queuing up to attend and these points are highlighted in the report.

The inspectors saw many encouraging features during their two days with us and I feel the report reflects what a fantastic school this is. This praise will not sway me from the job that I know is still to be done here over the coming weeks, months and years. Our Governors and Trustees believe that I have the team to continue making these positive changes, a view that was echoed in the report which states “the recently-appointed Principal and his senior leadership team are highly effective and have made a very good start on bringing about improvements”.

The Ofsted report doesn’t change the approach I will be taking to leading the Academy as I arrived with a plan that I started to implement from my first day. We will continue to build upon the improvements the school has made since its last inspection. During this time, the percentage of students who achieved 5 A*-C including English and Maths has risen from 31% to 50%. This year the school was in the top one hundred most improved schools in the country.

We have set out our vision for the future of the Academy in a document called TA 2020; this describes the school in the year 2020 in a number of key areas. The changes we make will be in the pursuit of becoming the school we have outlined. It is a rather long document and is available here.

During the final report to Governors the lead inspector said the feedback he had received from parents was in the top 5% of any school. This, coupled with us being heavily over-subscribed in September, demonstrates that parents have confidence in what is happening at Torquay Academy.

If there is one thing that reminds me how special our students are, it is writing this blog each week. I continue to be amazed at the wide variety of wonderful achievements and activities that take place within our community.

I believe that Torquay Academy has many strengths and enormous potential and I am excited by the prospect of leading its next phase of development.


Year 9 Students lead South West Musical Futures Conference


Pictured: Our students performing at the Musical Futures South West Conference

Our wonderful Music Department has been recognised as a Musical Futures champion School – one of only 35 in the whole of the UK. This award is prestigious, and acknowledges the curriculum that is in place, and also the teaching strategies that we use. Musical Futures is an approach to Music teaching: ‘a movement to reshape music education driven by teachers for teachers to provide engaging, sustainable and relevant music making activities for all young people.’

Last Friday our Musical Futures Champion teacher, Miss Pappin, and four of our Y9 students led the Musical Futures South West Conference at Ivybridge Community College. Music teachers travelled from across the region to receive training about Musical Futures approaches, and experience it in practice.

The main focus of the day was the sessions led by Ryan Bailey, Leon Bradley, Andrew Courtenay and Peter Micuda. The students performed music they had developed in their lessons to the delegates and led classroom sessions working directly with the other teachers and students – often peer teaching them as they might do in lessons.

Year 9 student Ryan Bailey commented, “I really enjoyed the day. It was a great opportunity for us to share what we have been doing in our lessons with other teachers and students outside of the Academy and help them improve what they do at their schools.”

Miss Pappin said, “The students were an absolute credit to the Academy and shining ambassadors of the 21st century teaching and learning approaches used in the music department at TA. These put our students at the forefront of music education”.


Student Artwork Brings School to Life

Pictured: Students and their work

During the Year 10 work experience week, some of our students began work on transforming our Performing Arts department by turning the walls into pieces of art.  Now they have finished I wanted to show you how wonderful their work is and share what the students had to say about them.

Banksy – Chelsea Peter: “Banksy is my favourite graffiti artist. I like his work because he doesn’t sugar coat anything and there is always a touch of irony.”

Van Gough – Starry Night – Sharon Chiang: “Starry night is my favourite piece from Van Gough. I think the colours are amazing!”

H R Giger – Alien – Louis Ruegg: “Giger’s work fascinates me. The biomechanical appearance of his work really caught my attention”.

Musical Graffiti – Lucy Robinson: “I chose to do a graffiti wall as it connects with younger people and makes the wall more vibrant”. Year 8 students, Ocea Jackson Graves and Deni Barras also helped Lucy.

Indian Henna – Hannah Alpress and Sophie Halling: “We really like to draw henna designs and thought it would look good on the walls.”


Year 5 Days


Pictured: Year 5 students from Homelands Primary school enjoying their PE lesson this week

Our second week of Year 5 taster days was another great success. Sherwell Valley, Homelands, Barton and Ellacombe Primaries all came to sample our school for the day.

To see so many students enjoying themselves whilst being immersed in lessons such as Science, PE, Performing Arts and Digital Learning was a real pleasure.

One student in particular I will not forget could not contain his excitement and shouted to me “I love TA” as I walked past him in his Science lesson!


Year 12 Graduation Assembly


Pictured: Me saying a fond farewell to some of our Year 12 Students

This week we enjoyed saying farewell to some of our Year 12 students, who have completed their courses and moving on to higher level courses or apprenticeships.

This gave myself, Mr Harries and our Sixth Form tutors a chance to say goodbye and good luck to them. I also enjoyed chatting with our students after the assembly, whilst enjoying scones and tea!

In what has been our first Year of the Sixth Form, I am proud of what our Year 12s have achieved and I can say that the bar has been set high for future years.



Year 9 Have a Taste for International Food


Pictured: (left) George Fenn and (right) Sidnei Keel

Year 9 students enjoyed making pizzas this week as they learnt about multicultural food.

They are currently working on a project entitled ‘International Food’ and have displayed a high level of skill in making their own bread dough and preparing their own various toppings.

Sidnei Keel (pictured) had never made pizza before and said “I found making the dough quite difficult but was really happy with the end result”.



Year 7 Opening Minds – Cloud Spotting


Pictured: Cole Holmes, Hannah Field and Elizabeth Cook cloud spotting

Year 7s have been cloud spotting in the last 2 weeks. Although on some days this has not been easy due to the unusually settled weather.

Students have seen a lot of altostratus and altocumulus cloud which is quite high up and typical of a high pressure system and indicative of good weather. I have learnt a lot about the weather since we had our weather station installed!

Students learn to predict the weather by looking at the clouds, identifying the type and therefore know what changes are likely to occur.



Year 7 Puppet Making


Pictured: Year 7 students with their completed hand puppets

Miss Bowden Williams’ Year 7 Textiles group have been putting the finishing touches to their hand puppets for their latest project.

The design brief was to make a children’s story and a glove puppet to help act the story out.

Students came up with lots of different ideas and designs; Amber Kennard created a story with Peppa Pig as her main character and Renee Turton created a puppet and story entitled ‘The Minions’s day at the funfair’. Renee said “I found making the puppet quite hard as it was the first time I have ever used a sewing machine”.



Year 7 Recycling Project

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Pictured: Our students hard at work with their recycled materials

The Year 7s are currently engaged in a recycling project that follows on from other topics that they have covered in their Opening Minds lessons this year.

The students have been given a challenge that involves creativity, enterprise, and teamwork in order to produce innovative items from things that might otherwise be thrown away. They have been raiding their recycling bins to bring in suitable materials and have come up with some great designs.

Next week there will be a display of all of the teams’ work in E10, along with advertising posters for their products, information about how to make the products and leaflets about the consequences of not recycling. This will be followed by a prize giving, including categories such as ‘Most Innovative Design’, and ‘Student Choice’.


Year 12 Work Experience


Pictured: Matt Mason setting up a PE lesson during his work experience placement

The Year 12 BTEC Sport students followed in the Year 10s footsteps last week, by completing a week long Work Experience placement within the Sports Industry.

Students placements included working with Torquay United Football in the Community, Executive Fitness, Castle Gym, Aztec Gym, Imperial Hotel, Riviera Centre and working with many sports coaches within the community. Some students also spent the week within Primary Schools and Secondary Schools focusing on PE and Sport.

All students thoroughly enjoyed their experiences and came back with great ideas of future careers to pursue.

The feedback gained from the employees was very positive. Babbacombe Primary school hosted Ryan McGee and said “Ryan has been a super addition to our Year 1 team; he has been a real credit to TA and we will miss him. He is welcome back any time”.

Emma Baker enjoyed a placement at Queensway Primary school and had some great feedback from the staff: “Emma was a real star during the week, especially with a very busy sports day, she was extremely positive and listened well and applied her skills to all instructions”.

Students have, as always, been outstanding ambassadors for our school.



Future Scholars visit Southampton University


Pictured: Year 9 students outside Southampton University

Five of our Year 9 students recently had the opportunity to visit Southampton University (part of the Russell Group). The visit was organised to increase aspirations for the students by showing them what awaits them if they work hard in school.

Here is an account of the day written by Amy Mealing and Bethany Rainbird:

As soon as we arrived at the University, the students and staff welcomed us. We sat down for an introduction and then joined three other groups of students for a campus tour. We visited the cinema that had the exact same features as a real cinema and the ability to turn it into a club. They even had a pet cat living on campus!

We then visited the wind tunnel, a room that simulates wind speed of up to 40mph. The tunnel has been used to test F1 cars and train athletes such as Olympic Skeleton Champion, Amy Williams.

We visited the astrodome where there was a projection of space around the portable planetarium.

After all of the activities, we visited a lecture hall for a laser light show, combing Science and entertainment.

We all had a really interesting day!


Sports Round Up

Elyse Storms Home with yet another Personal Best!


Pictured: Elyse with her medal

Year 9 student, Elyse Leech, made headlines again this week after winning gold in the South West Championships on Saturday.

Elyse achieved another personal best in the 200m sprint of 26 seconds and a very proud mum said “She was amazing!”

Elyse has now been selected to represent Devon and compete in the English Schools Athletics Association (ESAA) Championships in Birmingham next month, which is the 4th largest athletics event in the world.

The event brings together the best athletes from each county and is a real honour for any athlete who attends.
I wish Elyse the best of luck and can’t wait to hear the results of the ESAA National Championships.


Year 8 Student Rowing Success


Pictured: (left) Torin Pook of St Margarets Primary School and (right) Year 8 student Jordyn Watkins

Year 8 student Jordyn Watkins added even more silverware, in the form of the Lang Perpetual Trophy, to his collection at the weekend as he competed in the J14 Men’s Double 500m sprint at the Totnes Regatta.

Jordyn and his rowing partner Torin Pook had been training for two months prior to the event and felt confident at the starting line.

Jordyn said “We were nervous at the start but that soon went as we were ahead throughout the whole race. I am really happy with our performance.”

Jordyn already has his sights on his next event in Wimbleball, Exmoor, where he will be competing in the Mens J14 Single and Double. I wish him the best of luck.



Year 7/8 Cricket v St Cuthbert Mayne


Pictured: Our Year 7/8 Cricket team

No prisoners were taken when the TA Cricket team faced St Cuthbert Mayne on a beautiful June evening at Barton Cricket Club.

Batting first Jack Bell and Kieran Bailey got to work quickly scoring runs at ease. Jack scored 30 and then retired to let others bat. Josh Hurrell and Kieran Bailey kept up the good work and they both retired with 30 runs closely after each other. Cole Harford (14 runs) and AJ Tehrani (25 runs) finished them off with a total of 191 in the 20 overs.

Superb bowling by Cole Harford, Kieran Bailey, Josh Hurrell and Jack Bell produced one wicket for 42 after 8 overs. Luke Owen got a wicket, which enlivened our players around the bat. Ross Knight produced two excellent balls and the visitors were 5 down for 74 runs.

The best was left for last with hatrick hero Louie McKinley-Smith getting his three wickets from 2 overs to finish the game off.

Fantastic performances all round and the boys are looking forward to the rematch.



Year 8 Rounders


Pictured: Our Year 8 Rounders team

Our Year 8’s visited Teignmouth Community College on Tuesday for their Central Venue Rounders Tournament. The team were in a pool with KEVIC, Paignton and Teignmouth. Despite some fantastic fielding from Martha Farkins, Macey Harvey and Katie Robinson the team were unable to secure a win, losing out by a couple of rounders each time.

However despite losing, the team worked really hard and showed great enthusiasm throughout each of the matches. Well Done.

Concordia Levinta said “Our team played explicably well however due to some miss played rounders, we did not get through to the semi-finals”.



Year 12 Rounders


Pictured: Our Year 12 Rounders team

The Sixth Form students took part in their mixed rounders tournament on Wednesday night at Churston Ferrers Grammar School. The team were up against some tough competition and despite some great batting and fielding from the team they were unable to secure the win. Fingers crossed for next year.

The Bowls team had mixed success against Cuthbert Mayne on Tuesday 24th. The A Team lost 9-6 and the B Team won 8-6. A few players made their debut with some excellent performances and will be playing in the final next Tuesday. The finals will be against Tower House and St Cuthbert Mayne B at Torquay Bowls Club with a 3pm start.

Bowls Team:
Dan Smith
Chloe Entwistle
Curtis Young
Vas Velu Thenral
David McNally
Alex Jarvis
Jarrell Simmonds
Robbie York
Angel Gibbs



The Week in Weather


Pictured: Return of the rain

This week’s weather summary comes from Tyler Shannon (8CC) & Aaron Harris (8EZH) using data from our weather station:

The week started off sunny and warm just like last week, but from Wednesday the weather changed and we had more cloud and heavy rain. The monthly rain total has now increased to 21.8mm and it’s still raining now. We recorded Thursday as being the wettest day of this month.

The weekend looks to have heavy rain showers with some thunderstorms possible. More clouds will move in but the temperature should remain the same at around 17 – 180C.

If you do decide to venture out this weekend then don’t forget your coat and umbrella! Good luck to those walking on the DofE expedition this weekend.