Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions page for the About Us part of the website. This page contains all of the most regular questions we receive from website users, but we monitor requests regularly and add-in any questions that we feel need sharing here to support you. If you cannot find answers here please contact us.
The page is quite long, so we have listed all the questions at the top. Simply click on the relevant question to go directly to the answer here on the FAQ page.
- How can students be successful at Magna Academy?
- What is the structure of the academy day like?
- What are line-ups?
- What will students do during Tutor Time?
- What is DEAR?
- What is the Personal Development Curriculum?
- What will students be learning in Year 7?
- How will students be placed into teaching groups?
- How/When will students be assessed?
- How/When will students’ progress be reported?
- How much homework will students get?
- How do students get rewarded and recognised for their hard work?
- What is the Behaviour Policy like?
- Are students allowed to use their mobile phones in the academy?
- What is student life like at Magna and what enrichment opportunities are on offer?
- What is the food like and do students need to bring in money each day?
- How do we find out more about Free School Meals?
- What do I do if I carry medication?
How can students be successful at Magna Academy?
We believe that through hard work and resilience, supported by our framework and culture of high aspirations, students can achieve whatever they set their minds to. The following quote summarises this strong belief to which all our staff are aligned:
‘EFFORTFUL LEARNING CHANGES THE BRAIN, BUILDING NEW CONNECTIONS AND CAPABILITY. […] OUR INTELLECTUAL ABILITIES ARE NOT FIXED FROM BIRTH BUT ARE, TO A CONSIDERABLE DEGREE, OURS TO SHAPE. […] THE PATH TO COMPLEX MASTERY OR EXPERT PERFORMANCE DOES NOT NECESSARILY COME FROM EXCEPTIONAL GENES, BUT IT MOST CERTAINLY ENTAILS SELF-DISCIPLINE, GRIT AND PERSISTENCE; WITH THESE QUALITIES IN HEALTHY MEASURE, IF YOU WANT TO BECOME AN EXPERT, YOU PROBABLY CAN.’
'Make It Stick': Brown et al.
We ask students to think using a ‘growth mind-set’. This is a way of thinking which means students believe in themselves and that they can do anything.
In support, we have four Mantras at Magna Academy. They are:
- ‘Aspire and achieve’
- ‘Work hard, be kind’
- ‘Excellence is a habit’
- ‘Empowered by knowledge’
We believe that everyone is capable of being successful. This means that learning and knowledge grow and develop with effort and focus. We can use a ‘growth mind-set’ by saying positive sentences instead of negative ones. For example, instead of saying:
- ‘I’ve never been good at this subject,’ you should say: ‘I’m going to work on this problem and learn how to do it’
- ‘I just can’t do this,’ you should say: ‘I’m going to train my brain to get this right!’
- ‘This didn’t work…’ you should say: ‘I’m going to try a different way.’
Using some of the sentences above, means that students are more likely to succeed in the future. They will be better at dealing with problems, overcoming challenges and will focus on improving.
What is the structure of the academy day like?
Students can enter the academy between 8:00am and 8:27am.
Students must enter/exit using the student gate as shown in the map. For safeguarding practices the academy gates are locked daily between 8:27am and 3:00pm.
We have academy bells throughout the day. Students must always wait for the teacher’s permission before entering and leaving the classroom. While walking between lessons students must do so in a quiet and calm fashion demonstrating respect for others and the academy community.
To see the times of the academy day for all students, please use the button below:
Structure of Our Day
WHAT ARE LINE-UPS?
Twice per day, students meet with their tutor in a designated area of the academy. Tutors meet and greet their tutees and start the day on a really positive note. Students then follow their tutor to their tutor room where tutor time activities begin.
Line-ups help to reset expectations and ensure a calm and quiet transition to tutor time after students have enjoyed some free time.
WHAT WILL STUDENTS DO DURING TUTOR TIME?
We recognise that every student in our care is an individual with different needs and hopes. We are meticulous in ensuring that our tutoring is carefully matched to the learning needs of each individual student.
Once seated after the line-up the tutor takes the register, completes daily checking exercises such as homework completion, uniform and equipment to ensure students are prepared for the day ahead. The tutor then leads the activity as per the weekly activity rota. These include literacy/numeracy tasks, DEAR, competitions & community tasks and the personal development curriculum.
Once a week, students will have an assembly with their year group based around a theme for the week. The theme could be in line with a year group priority or associated national/internal awareness event.
Tutors are there every day to answer any questions students may have. Parents/Carers can contact the relevant Head of Year if they have any concerns.
Students are carefully placed into their new tutor groups on arrival in Year 7. We use a variety of information received from parents/carers and the feeder schools to support us with this important process. We will always try our best to place students accordingly but, we cannot make any promises regarding requested friendship groupings.
WHAT IS DEAR?
DEAR stands for ‘Drop Everything And Read’.
Reading for pleasure is more important for a student’s cognitive development than their parents’ level of education and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background. A student who only reads for one minute per day will be exposed to 8,000 words per year, whereas a student who reads for 20 minutes per day who will be exposed to 1.8 million words per year.
This is why our DEAR sessions are so important.
Years 7-10 and Sixth Form students follow a weekly tutor time programme, which includes four 30-minute sessions of DEAR. Three of the four sessions are dedicated to reading a novel where tutors expertly use a variety of literacy techniques to support and challenge students, and the fourth session is dedicated to reflection and discussion using a personal response log in which students answer some text-based questions and write about what they have read. Students read one novel every 12 weeks, and titles include:
- Treasure Island
- Romeo and Juliet
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
- Jane Eyre
WHAT IS THE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT CURRICULUM?
Each unit, students will cover six personal development objectives across five 50 minutes tutor periods of personal development. The sessions will be delivered by tutors and when necessary through assemblies and by working with external organisations. Students will have access to a workbook per unit and self-reflection activities. At the end of each unit tutor groups will experience a group-quizzing activity and confidence tracker to maximise their understanding. At the start of each new unit families will receive a written introduction highlighting the topic objectives due to be covered. Topics per unit include:
- Staying Safe Online and Offline
- Health & Wellbeing
- Relationships and Sex Education
- Rights, Responsibilities & British Values
- Celebrating Diversity & Equality
- Life Beyond the Academy – Futures
WHAT WILL STUDENTS BE LEARNING IN YEAR 7?
At Magna Academy, our Key stage 3 curriculum is delivered across Years 7 to 9. Students will study a range of subjects in line with the National Curriculum recommendations which includes:
Key stage 3 curriculum subjects: Number of lessons per fortnight
- English Language and Literature 8
- Maths 8
- Science 8
- History 3
- Geography 3
- French or Spanish 4
- Physical Education 4
- Art/Tech/IT (rotation) 2
- Music/Drama (rotation) 2
- Applied Transdisciplinary Learning* 8
*Our exciting ‘Applied Transdisciplinary Learning’ curriculum in Year 7 seeks to ensure all students actively engage in a curriculum that will give them the building blocks for the future and giving them the opportunity to be confident and aspirant learners. This ‘No Limits’ curriculum outline reflects the knowledge and skills, and the local social and employment context, that students need in order to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
Religious Education concepts are embedded in the curriculum delivery of the following subject areas at Key Stage 3:
- Applied Transdisciplinary Learning
- Personal Development
Our embedded Religious Education concepts are designed to help young people make sense of the world around them and equip them to be inclusive citizens in modern day Britain.
HOW WILL STUDENTS BE PLACED INTO TEACHING GROUPS?
At the start of Year 7, students will sit the GL CAT4 Cognitive Abilities Test and New Group Reading Tests (NGRT). These assessments will form part of the student profile, along with their Key Stage 2 SATs outcomes and feeder school transfer information. This information will also assist in the identification of those students who require initial intervention support, establishing targets for the end of Key Stage 4 and support in the initial setting of students when they arrive in Year 7. It is important to note that not all subjects will be set by ability.
Students will be placed into two mixed ability teaching bands where their timetables will be generated. The teaching bands will also be linked to a student’s modern foreign languages selection. F band for French learners and S band for Spanish learners.
HOW/WHEN WILL STUDENTS BE ASSESSED?
Knowledge Retrieval Tests:
Depending on the number of lessons in a two-week cycle, each subject will set a minimum of 1 Knowledge Retrieval Test every 2 weeks. This is a low stakes test, identifying gaps in a students knowledge and to embed the knowledge learnt. These will always be peer/self-marked and questions that are frequently incorrectly answered should prompt a review of the teaching of that content. They should also form areas of focus for the next lessons. This knowledge will inevitably be based upon the students’ knowledge organiser, within that subject for that unit.
End of Topic Tests:
Each subject will assess students at regular intervals throughout an academic year. The timings of these assessments will be appropriate for that subject, and taken at the end of each topic. These assessments will assess what has been taught within the topic, and are pre-planned within the subjects’ curriculum. The assessment design for each subject has been carefully planned during the 7-year subject curriculum, building upon the recall and application of knowledge when appropriate. These assessments will also support the student development of examination skills over time. An attainment band will be assigned to the level the student achieved.
End of Year Examinations:
For all subjects in Key Stage 3, students will sit an end of year holistic assessment ‘End of Year Examination’, assessing the content from that year’s academic subject curriculum. This is in addition to their regular end of topic tests, and will last 50 minutes. This will take place during Unit 4 for Year 9, supporting students in making informed GCSE Option Choices. For Years 7 and 8, this will take place during Unit 6. These will take place during normal timetabled subject lessons, and will be timetabled during a specific week. They will be marked by the class teacher, moderated within the department, and an attainment mark will be assigned to the level the student achieved. This information will be converted into a ‘Progress’ level, highlighting how each student is progressing in each of their subjects.
HOW/WHEN WILL STUDENTS’ PROGRESS BE REPORTED?
Each student will have his or her Attainment/Progress formally recorded for each subject twice a year. Reports will be generated after each Assessment Point (AP1 & AP2), which will be shared with students and their parents/carers. For all year groups, reports will indicate the progress that the student has made within each of their subjects. This will be based upon their prior attainment on entry to Magna Academy in Year 7.
Please click here to read and/or download our Guidance Notes on Academic Reports at Magna Academy.
In addition to a students’ attainment and progress data, teachers/tutors will report on a student’s:
- Attitude to Learning – tutor and subject teachers
- Behaviour – tutor and subject teachers
- Homework completion and quality – tutor and subject teachers where applicable
- Personal Organisation – tutor only
- Attendance and Positive & Negative Behaviour Summary – will be systematically generated and included
- Our academic year is divided into 6 equal units for teaching and assessing
HOW MUCH HOMEWORK WILL STUDENTS GET?
We believe that homework is critical to learning. It extends a student’s independence and is an opportunity to learn key knowledge. All students receive homework each day.
All years are expected to complete one and a half hours of homework each evening. This includes 30 minutes maths, 30 minutes reading and self-quizzing (SQ) knowledge testing.
Students will receive workbooks and folders in support. Please refer to the existing Year 7 homework timetable as an example.
- Monday: SQ Maths • Reading
- Tuesday: SQ English • Reading
- Wednesday: SQ Science • Reading • Maths Drill Worksheet
- Thursday: SQ Humanities • Reading
- Friday: SQ Modern Foreign Languages • Reading
Self-Quizzing homework is set each day, in line with the rota and is due in to be checked by a tutor the next morning. Reading is set each day and due in the following morning, checked by the tutor the next morning.
So far this year 99.5% Year 7 daily completion rate, with many students going ‘above and beyond’.
The Maths Drill Worksheet will be set by their Maths teacher during the first lesson of the week and due in the following Monday. This will be checked by their maths teacher during their Maths lessons.
Year 7 will be given a tutorial during their first week at Magna as part of our ‘Be Awesome’ induction programme. There is also a daily homework support club and breakfast club on offer to all students.
HOW DO STUDENTS GET REWARDED AND RECOGNISED FOR THEIR HARD WORK?
Effort and success in all aspects of Academy life are celebrated through a range of rewards and events. We actively listen to student voice and we offer them positions of leadership that have meaningful responsibilities.
Students who feel listened to and are leaders who have responsibility build their self-worth, engage fully in learning and develop a sense of purpose that will make a positive difference for others. To help nurture this, we are currently reviewing our rewards system and are in the process of planning a new and exciting policy for a September 2020 launch.
WHAT IS THE BEHAVIOUR POLICY LIKE?
A copy of our Behaviour Policy can be found by clicking here.
We encourage all students and their families to read our Behaviour Policy in detail before students arrive at the academy. The policy also includes information regarding the Uniform/Equipment policy including Jewellery and Hairstyles, Mobile phones/Electronic devices and Smoking. We also have a ‘Home Academy Agreement’ which supports the partnership between the academy and home, this outlines clearly our expectations of students, what we ask of our parents/carers and what we will offer as an academy.
Students have the responsibility of behaving within the expectations of the policy. This shows a level of maturity that allows them to recognise the rights of other students to learn and staff to teach. Students will gain recognition and rewards for positive behaviours.
Our academy aims to:
- Encourage a positive relationship with parents/carers through increased and effective communication
- Promote a safe, calm, orderly and positive environment
- Establish clear routines and high expectations across all aspects of the Academy life, which are commonly understood
- To ensure that all aspects are applied consistently and fairly
- Establish long term impact of enjoyment, engagement and positive outcomes
- Create a well-established culture of praise and encouragement in which all students can develop, progress and achieve
ARE STUDENTS ALLOWED TO USE THEIR MOBILE PHONE IN THE ACADEMY?
As a safeguarding measure we allow students to have mobile phones with them whilst at the academy. Students must ensure that their mobile phones are switched off and in bags, when in the academy, between the hours of 8:27am and 4:00pm (inclusive of extra-curricular activities). The only exception is when instructed by a member of staff that an electronic device can be used for educational purposes. Students must ensure that all electrical devices are used within the guidelines of our e-safety policy.
Any electronic devices that are bought into the academy are the risk of the owner, the academy will not be liable for any damages or loss.
WHAT IS STUDENT LIFE LIKE AT MAGNA AND WHAT ENRICHMENT OPPORTUNITIES ARE ON OFFER?
Students who feel good about themselves are much more likely to believe they can achieve anything. So we work hard at Magna to create the right conditions in which feeling good can flourish.
We have a student leadership team with a range of leadership posts and also appoint Sports Captains and Subject Prefects. Every tutor group also has a nominated Tutor Group Representative. At the same time, we are absolutely committed to a well-rounded education, and currently offer a diverse range of clubs and enrichment activities that we are looking to significantly add to from September 2020. The enrichment programme calendar will be shared with students on arrival with an electronic copy placed onto the website.
As part of our developing enrichment programme we offer a variety of residential trips and educational curriculum link visits. Our current residential trips include destinations like Berlin, Paris, Skiing in the Alps, water sports trips to the South of France and a trip to NASA in Florida.
From September 2020 we launched our new and exciting House system, this has promoted healthy competition throughout the academy and further enriched the lives of our students. There are three houses and students will be allocated to one depending on what tutor group students are in. We have a senior member of staff who leads and takes the House assemblies.
This has been an exciting change for the academy and we look forward to all the successes that the new Year 7s are sure to bring to their House.
WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE AND DO STUDENTS NEED TO BRING IN MONEY EACH DAY?
We are really lucky to have a lovely academy dining hall. The dining hall is open during breakfast, break time and lunchtime. Hot and cold food can be bought there and a three week menu is displayed to tell students what breakfast, lunch, vegetarian and lighter bite options are available. The catering team are also very inclusive of catering for any additional dietary requirements.
Our canteen is cashless and purchases are made via a very secure website called ParentPay. Our ‘cashless catering’ system incorporates the latest technology and eliminates the need for students to carry cash throughout the day thus reducing the risk of loss. As it is biometric, there is no need for students to carry a card, as the system will recognise the thumb or finger print of the child at the tills. Any amount of money can be paid into a student’s account, and any money spent on food and drink will be deducted on a daily basis. As part of the academy welcome pack, parents/carers would have received a ‘Biometric information’ letter. Under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (sections 26 to 28), we are required to notify each parent of a child and obtain the consent of at least one parent before being able to use a child’s biometric information for an automated system. This letter will need to be signed and returned to the academy as requested stating if you give consent or are objecting.
As part of the induction process students will be set up with a biometric account and parents/carers will receive details of how to activate and top up their child’s ParentPay account. Until this has been completed we ask for students to bring a packed lunch for the first week that they join us. Students eligible for free school meals will receive a packed lunch each day from our catering team.
Students eligible for free school meals will be set up on the academy system and payment automatically arranged. If parents/carers have any questions regarding this please contact the academy main office.
The dining staff will tell you which rooms you can eat in or you can go outside and enjoy your lunch on one of the many picnic benches.
HOW DO WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FREE SCHOOL MEALS?
We are aware that some of our families have recently experienced a change in financial circumstances. Consequently, some children may now be eligible for Free School Meals (FSM).
Even if parents/carers wish to provide a packed lunch each day once students return to the academy, it is beneficial to your child and the academy to complete the FSM application as the academy is able to claim extra funding called Pupil Premium. Pupil Premium is additional funding from the Government to help improve the attainment of children receiving a FSM and looked after children. Academy leaders decide how to spend this funding however, a detailed report is published every year on our academy website.
WHAT DO I DO IF I CARRY MEDICATION?
If you need to take medicine whilst at the academy you need to make sure that the Medical Team is aware.
Your parents/carers must fill in a medication consent form and bring it into the academy along with your prescribed medicine. Make sure it is clearly labelled with your name and tutor group and take it to the Medical Room. They will keep it safe there for you. This information will be shared with you before you arrive.