Our Vision and Values
“The task of a teacher is not simply to impart information or to provide training in skills intended to deliver some economic benefit to society; education is not and must never be considered as purely utilitarian. It is about forming the human person, equipping him or her to live life to the full – in short it is about imparting wisdom.”
Pope Benedict XVI (Address to Teachers and Religious, 2010)
- Christ- centred
St. Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy is a Catholic learning community in which all students are provided with the opportunity to develop as a whole person and supported in reaching their full potential in becoming the person God is calling them to be. We are committed to recognising the full human dignity of each of our students and centre our educational provision in our shared Gospel values. At St. Anthony’s all students are treat equally and fully experience genuine care, compassion and respect in our loving inclusive community: we welcome all students from all faith backgrounds and none. We strive to live out our mission as a Catholic school to offer an educational provision of a standard of excellence.
- Mercy Tradition
Our school is proud of our Mercy heritage: we were established in 1902 by the Sisters of Mery. The Sisters of Mercy are an order of nuns who were founded by Venerable Catherine McAuley in Ireland in 1831. The Sisters of Mercy have traditionally rooted their work in education and service for the poor and vulnerable, particularly women and girls. Our Mercy ethos permeates every element of our school community. As a Mercy school we are:
- Christ Centred: The Mercy Academy recognises the dignity of the human person and the command of Christ to love and care for each other. We aim to build up self-esteem among individuals’ ad create a community marked by, caring and belonging that leads to personalised learning.
- Faith Enlightened: In the Mercy Academy, faith, culture and life are in dialogue and harmony. The Catholic faith is at the heart of the school life and is integral to its liturgies, rituals and symbolism and prayer spaces.
- Shows Concern for the Poor, Especially Women and Girls: The Mercy school sets it’s clear aim to work towards eradicating suffering and it’s causes. It seeks to create compassion as the driving force in the search for justice for those at the margins of the community. Students should be educated to question the status quo and to be active for social change and the promotion of equal opportunities.
- Builds Communities: The Mercy Academy shows social responsibility for the world we inhabit. It should work towards creating a world where everyone can live lives of dignity and decency with respect for life. The school is a community where parents, staff and students share a common vision as a community of warmth and love.
- Pursues Excellence: The Mercy Academy enables every student to achieve her potential. It is committed to high quality teaching and learning and to building a community of reflective learners working to the highest standards. Respect is at the heart of the school community. There is a commitment to inventiveness and change.
- Build Communities
We understand our role as educators is to prepare our students for becoming citizens of the wider world and actively encourage students to recognise that they have a responsibility for the communities they will be living and working in and how they can contribute to those around them, particularly to those who are vulnerable. Our students are taught to proactively reflect on and develop their interpersonal skills and relationships; to have the confidence to provide their views and opinions and to listen to those of others; to recognise their own worth and how they can utilise their gifts and talents for the benefits of themselves and others; to consider the impact of their actions; to recognise they are stewards of the planet. We also recognise the value of the home-school partnership and the strength of this relationship in effectively supporting students. We work closely with parents and carers to support our students in their holistic development: spiritual, moral, social, academic, emotional and physical through the provision of a broad, balanced, aspirational and vibrant curriculum that enables our students to ‘live life to the full’ and are fully supported in progressing towards further education and employment.
- Girls’ Education
At the heart of the Mercy ethos is a recognition that women and girls have an equal entitlement to education and that it is through an excellence of provision of education that they can move beyond any barrier to realise their full potential. In a Girls’ school, there is no stereotyping and gender-weighted expectations: girls are free to recognise their strengths and excel in subjects which have traditionally been dominated by boys. Girls’ schools create environments where girls feel confident to lead and put themselves forward. With only girls in the classroom and on the sports’ field, both intellectual and physical confidence can grow: they learn resilience and self-confidence to stand them in good stead for University, work and life. For more guidance on girls’ single-sex education, please see information from the Girls Schools Association (GSA) which highlights a number of benefits, such as the freedom from stereotypes, leadership opportunities and academic excellence.
- Pursue Excellence
At the heart of our Mercy tradition is Venerable Catherine McCauley’s challenge to work hard and to constantly strive for improvement: improvement of self, others and the world around us: ‘The simplest and most practical lesson I know…is to resolve to be good today-but better tomorrow.’ Here at St. Anthony’s we are aspirational for our all our students. We firmly believe all our students are capable of excellence and we proactively encourage our students to work to the best of their abilities in order to fulfil their potential not only in acquiring rich academic knowledge and skills but excellence in character development and service to our community.
We have a broad and balanced curriculum that is based on developing a rich knowledge base where students know more-do more-remember more in order to be more. Our curriculum content is sequenced in a progression model so that knowledge is selected and sequenced at a pace to match our students ensuring learning develops over time and at the right time for students. Subject Leaders have developed the learning curriculum so that it engages, challenges and inspires our students and supports progress in a deliberate and thoughtfully sequenced manner. The learning journey is explicitly articulated to students so they have a full understanding of what they are learning, why they are learning a topic at a specific time and how this fits into the overall sequence of learning.
What is a Curriculum Progression Model?
The curriculum is a progression model – a journey which students take in order to get better at each subject and develop their knowledge.
Like a race, a child progresses (moves) through a purposefully designed and rigorous race route with the teacher as their expert coach who trains, inspires, motivates and challenges the students to excel. Each part of the route is important and is to be mastered expertly, using assessment to measure how successfully knowledge and skills are developing. A successful curriculum is what that is a narrative – that takes prior learning and builds upon it, so that new knowledge can be understood and framed within a bigger picture.
Our teachers have skillfully created subject curriculums, just as architects of a race track would, to ensure that your child has a knowledge rich and diverse curriculum which has both breadth and depth.
- What should be studied?• Why should it be studied?• When should it be studied?• How do we measure and know when progress is being made?
Curriculum Progression Models: please click on each subject area to take you to a detailed overview
We have designed a three year Key Stage 3 in which all pupils have the opportunity to gain a broad knowledge in both the academic and culturally enriching subjects. This provides a strong foundation of substantive and disciplinary knowledge that are both distinctive to Key Stage 3 and also necessary for successful progression to Key Stage 4.
At Key Stage 4, we continue to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to experience success by noticing and nurturing their talents. Students are guided to make the best choices by subject teachers, form tutors, our careers advisor, unifrog and parental support.
As outlined in our curriculum model above, we believe that all students should have equal access to the curriculum. The structure of our Key Stage 4 options provides the opportunity for most students to achieve the English Baccalaureate (EBacc): a GCSE grade 5 or higher in one English, mathematics, two sciences, one humanities subject (geography or history) and a modern foreign language. It is also important that students have some freedom to choose subjects they have an aptitude for and enjoy.
Our Key Stage 5 programme of study is wide-ranging and includes traditional A’ Levels alongside vocational courses. We are able to offer over 30 courses at post -16. Sixth form students are supported through their option choices to ensure they follow an appropriate, personal programme of study to maximise their potential for success at the end of the two years. Students typically study three level 3 courses (although there is an option to study four) and students have the opportunity to combine this with the Extended Project. Our students progress to the top universities as well as directly into apprenticeships or employment.
Exam Board website links
Our Reading Curriculum
“Pupils who struggle to read struggle in all subjects” Nick Gibb (DFE)
Teaching children to read is fundamental to their educational achievement. We are committed to a common goal: to teach children to be effective readers by rooting the curriculum in appropriate fiction and non-fiction reading material, and fostering a genuine passion, enthusiasm and appreciation of reading. At St. Anthony’s we are committed to giving disadvantaged students the same sense of entitlement and opportunity to read for academic purposes and pleasure, as their peers. We believe for all students a strong command of language is not only essential in the wider academic world but it can also affect a student’s self-esteem and confidence.
Reading is very much promoted and supported throughout our community; it sits at the heart of our curriculum. We believe that supporting the development of reading enables our students to access the wider curriculum and so this is a priority both during form time and within lessons across the school. Our Expert Reading programme delivered in form time is designed to support the development of fluency while carefully selected texts enable students to develop their love of reading for pleasure and cultural capital by accessing texts which reflect our ethos and values as a community; female writers/leading characters and diverse cultures; our geographical location.
Reading for pleasure and developing fluency are also supported through our commitment to fortnightly Accelerated Reader lessons at Key Stage 3. These lessons enable students to select and read texts that are both interesting and at an appropriate level. The lessons ensure students have some time for independent reading and also enabling staff to hear students read regularly. Termly Star reading tests also support reading development at Key Stage 3.
Throughout our taught curriculum, disciplinary reading is encouraged through a range of texts which students are encouraged to read linked to the topics they have studied and academic texts are used regularly within lessons as part of the curriculum. Vocabulary is also explicitly taught in subject lessons to ensure students have solid foundation on which to build their learning.
As a school, we also constantly strive to support the development of the reading of those students who require extra support. We identify students early who need extra support and have a range of levels of support which are designed to close the gaps in their reading. These include phonics and fluency support.
Every child who comes to St Anthony’s will have access to reading support and high quality texts which they will encounter across the curriculum and at every key stage.
Please click on this link to take you to a detailed outline of our approach to Reading, Writing and Communication.
Our Enrichment Curriculum
We view our curriculum provision as one that goes beyond the classroom and provides our students access to a coherent, accessible, rich range of extra- curricular, cultural and leadership opportunities; we are proud of the diverse range of opportunities for students and seek to ensure all students have supported access to this critical area of our curriculum. Our enrichment programme evolves year to year dependent on the skills, interests and experience of staff as well as responding to the needs of students and capitalising on the opportunities available both within the local area, nationally and internationally.
- Pope John Paul II Award
- Student Chaplaincy Group
- Cafod Student Group
- Food Bank Student Group
- Safe Space Student Group
- History Club
- Homework Club
- Art Club
- Mandarin Club
- Ski Club
- Film Club
- School Annual Production and Musical Theatre Club
- Junior and Senior Choir
- MFL Immersion Evenings
- Theatre, cinema, museum visits
- Oxbridge visits (KS4 and KS5)
- Art Exhibition, Washington Arts Centre
- Buddies Programme
- Duke of Edinburgh Award
- Arts Award
- Mental Health Ambassadors (Anna Freud Project)
- Eco Committee
- World Class Schools Student Leadership Group
- Empower Student Group
- Student Librarian Scheme
Personal and Social Development including Careers
Our Personal, Social and Health Education programme gives students the knowledge, skills and attributes they need in order to live healthy, safe, fulfilling, responsible and balanced lives. We wish to equip our students with the ability to confidently tackle the many challenges that life brings and nurture morally responsible citizens, who hold our core virtues dear.
At Key stage 3 our PSHE topics include resilience, mindfulness, healthy lifestyles, on-line safety, career skills and discrimination.
At Key stage 4, the topics covered include: mental health, body image, relationships, cyber-bullying, diversity, equality and social issues.
At Key stage 5 our students cover topics on gender and identity, tolerance and respect, social media, employability skills and emotional well-being. There are many opportunities throughout the curriculum to enable students to develop their character beyond the classroom. This includes links with universities to widen participation, personalised support to raise aspirations and links with employers to offer knowledge about the diverse world of work.