Today Bristol Mum features an interview with Jon Angell, Principal of The City Academy, Bristol, a mixed gender secondary school with Academy status located on Russell Town Avenue in Redfield.
Here, Jon talks about his teaching experience and background, the values and ethos of City Academy and its long-term aims, how good communication between parents and teachers is encouraged, as well as the great progress City Academy has made in recent months.
How long have you been Principal at City Academy?
I was asked to be the interim Principal in March 2015 as part of a school to school support package between One World Learning who are the sponsors of City Academy and the Cabot Learning Federation.
Initially this package was from March 2015 to August 2015 and I was at City Academy three days a week whilst spending the other 2 days doing my substantive post which is the Principal of John Cabot Academy. During that time the package was extended to run to August 2016 with me full-time at City Academy.
Please can you tell Bristol Mum readers a little about your teaching experience and background?
I came to Bristol to study Chemistry at UoB. I then did my PGCE teaching qualification and then started teaching at Downend School. I then went to Henbury School at a Head of Year and then Hanham High School as an Assistant Headteacher responsible for Student Welfare.
Whilst I was there I studied and was awarded an MA in Education at UWE. I then became Deputy Head at Fairfield High School for Cat Mangham before becoming Principal of John Cabot Academy in 2012.
What are the values and ethos of City Academy?
I launched a new vision and ethos this term and it built around the ambition that at City Academy “Every Student a Graduate – Every Student a Leader”. This vision is built on the following values:
Challenge – We challenge our students in their lessons, we challenge ourselves around our performance and delivery
Trust – We constantly build trust with our community by being honest, transparent and welcoming of external review.
Commitment – We demand the commitment of the staff to work with our students, the commitment of the students to their learning and the commitment of the community to work with the academy.
How does City Academy encourage good communication between parents of its students and the teachers?
We do the regular things like Parents Evenings, telephone calls, emails etc. From this term I will be writing a fortnightly Principal’s bulletin which will be on our website and tweeted as a link. We are using the City Academy twitter feed @_City_Academy to regularly communicate with our community.
The academy’s community lead Aisha Thomas represents us on a number of neighbourhood forums and parent groups. We also run weekly Parent Drop ins at the Academy on Monday mornings which are then also backed up by monthly parent forums about particular topics including having subject teachers talk about their areas.
Were there and particular areas of improvement which you identified as needing improvement when you were first appointed Principal?
The academy had just been placed in Special Measures by Ofsted because the leadership wasn’t good enough and the quality of teaching needed to improve and we have focussed on this a lot. When Ofsted inspected the school only 20% of lessons were good, we are concentrating and aiming to make that 90% of lessons are good or better.
What progress has City Academy made since this time?
1. City has just posted its best ever GCSE results at 44% of last years yr 11 got 5 GCSEs at C grade or above including English and Maths. We also made sure that the most number of students went onto university in the school’s history.
2. As part of being in Special Measure we get regular visits from Ofsted and had one in May and are expecting another this term. The inspector said that the roles and responsibilities of leaders at all levels are more clearly defined and lines of accountability have been strengthened.
“Your focus on improving the quality of checks on teaching and on the reliability of assessment has led to a more secure understanding of the academy’s effectiveness. There is evidence that your expectations in relation to lesson planning, teaching, marking and assessment are becoming established.”
What are your long-term plans for City Academy?
To make it a securely good school that any parent would be happy to send their child to. To make it a school that the local community can be proud of.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Our Open Evening is Thursday 17th September from 5-8pm and we have Open Mornings, 9am -10.30am Tuesday and Wednesday from 22nd September.
For more information about The City Academy, please visit http://www.cityacademybristol.org/