A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 14 September 2018

In September 2018, we’re delighted to welcome the staff and pupils of Badock’s Wood Community Primary School to the trust. Located in Southmead, Bristol, Badock’s Wood is just a stone’s throw away from St Ursula’s E-ACT Academy.

New Headteacher Becky Harriman is an experienced member of the E-ACT family, having previously served as deputy headteacher at Greenfield E-ACT Academy. We caught up with Becky and her team to find out more about our newest addition to our South West region.

High expectations for all

Badock’s Wood E-ACT Academy is the sixth academy in the South West region, and one of three new academies joining the trust this term.

Like many E-ACT academies, Badock’s Wood serves a high percentage of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, with more than half of its pupils eligible for Pupil Premium. The academy also has a number of pupils with English as an additional language (EAL).

But according to Headteacher Becky, being classified as disadvantaged or EAL should not act as a barrier for any of the children at Badock’s Wood.

“One thing that I’ve learned during my career with E-ACT is that you should always have high expectations for yourself and for every single child, no matter their background. When you have those high expectations, children will achieve.” Becky Harriman, Headteacher

“Care, attention and training”

Badock’s Wood had already been working closely with the trust prior to becoming an E-ACT academy, receiving special educational support since January 2018. With guidance from the region, the academy’s leadership team have introduced systems and practices that have already proven effective in our five other academies in the South West, from new behaviour and marking policies to different ways of teaching.

For Becky, introducing these systems at Badock’s Wood was important, as it has allowed her team to bring about consistency in teaching and learning.

“I wanted us to be confident that there was good practice throughout the academy. So we’ve implemented strategies for maths, writing and reading and rolled those out from Years 1 to 6. We’ve brought in a new marking policy, we’ve thought about how we want the environment to look – from one classroom to the next, there is consistency.”Becky Harriman, Headteacher

Year 6 teacher Joe Elwood, who has taught at Badock’s Wood for two years, had reservations about the school becoming an academy, but has been impressed by the work of the new leadership team and the support that Badock’s Wood has received.

“The amount of care, attention and training that was put into the school and the staff before it was even officially an E-ACT academy was so impressive. There was useful guidance before the new team had even set foot in the door: they stressed that this is the one chance that our pupils get before they go on to secondary education, and that it is our job to get them to where they need to be. That really changed my view of what it meant to be part of an academy trust.” Joe Elwood, Year 6 Teacher

“A beautiful site”

Aside from setting high standards academically, a priority for Becky is also ensuring that pupils have unique experiences during their time at the academy.

“I want this to be a place with a rich and varied curriculum. I want children to experience those things that perhaps, due to their circumstances at home, they may not have access to. I think it is so important that we make it our mission to provide those experiences at the academy.”Becky Harriman, Headteacher

The team are working to give pupils access to unique extra-curricular activities, making use of the academy’s close proximity to Badock’s Wood: a nature reserve with woodland, streams and meadows, right on the academy’s doorstep.

“There is huge potential here as we have such a beautiful site. We’ve always had activities like gardening club for the pupils, but the difference is that now they are continuing with so much more support and focus. It’s a lot more purposeful.”Joe Elwood, Year 6 Teacher

Part of the E-ACT network

According to Becky, working closely with the five other E-ACT academies in the region has also been incredibly helpful in getting the basics right at Badock’s Wood.

“Our teachers have been able to go on visits to see what an E-ACT academy looks like – whether it might be one year on, or two years on, or five years on. We’ve had a lot of support regionally to ensure that the set-up has happened in the E-ACT way in the South West, and it has had a massive impact already in the short space of time that we’ve been here.”Becky Harriman, Headteacher

And for Joe, the ability to work closely with the other academies in the region has meant more training and development opportunities for him and his colleagues.

“It’s a really lovely network and we’ve been made very welcome. There’s just huge potential now for training and getting the absolute best out of everyone. Especially for the younger members of staff here, who had worked so hard but hadn’t been invested in, it is so good for them to really understand the difference between what was inadequate and what will be outstanding.”Joe Elwood, Year 6 Teacher

We’re so pleased to welcome Badock’s Wood to the trust and we are looking forward to working closely with the academy over the coming months. Make sure you check out our website for the latest stories and updates from Badock’s Wood E-ACT Academy.