Academic Update

Academic Update

Dear Parents / Carers,

Welcome to the first ‘academic update’ of the year 2017-18. It has been reported already in many different ways, but I have to start by once again congratulating our previous Year 10-13 students on their superb performance in the summer exams. For me, the particular highlights were Year 10 achieving record RE results (71% A*-C), 32% of all Year 11 grades awarded being at A grade or above and –undoubtedly one of our proudest moments since opening – Year 13 achieving results that put Chelsea Academy in the top 10% of schools nationally for Value Added.

Key Stage 4

As we move into the new era of 9-1 GCSE courses, there are some key points we would like to reiterate, namely:

  • Doing on-going revision, i.e. students spending short bursts of time going back over what they did one week ago, one month ago or one term ago, is going to be hugely beneficial. The vast majority of courses will be assessed solely through exams at the end of Year 11 (or in the case of RE, Year 10), so students will have to retain large volumes of information. Constant recapping of work and self-diagnosis of their strengths and weaknesses will therefore help students to achieve their goals.
  • Completing all Independent Learning to the best of their ability. It goes without saying that this is vitally important, but since the removal of controlled assessment, it is even more essential for students to be independently backing up and extending what they do in lessons. Remember that in Key Stage 4, students should be receiving at least 60-90 minutes per subject per week.  

We launched a product called GCSE Pod in September to provide additional support for students. GCSE Pod has thousands of bite-sized lessons across most of our GCSE courses available for students to listen to, and also download onto their laptops or mobile phones. The product has proved to be extremely popular in its first few weeks. Here are our stats after 3 weeks of usage:

  • 68% of Year 9 students have created accounts
  • 83% of Year 10 students have created accounts
  • 82% of Year 11 students have created accounts

So that’s over 400 learners already signed on, and over 2700 podcasts have already been streamed. Please ensure that your son / daughter has created an account (they have been instructed how to do this) and have browsed the content.

Key Stage 3

We refer to our Key Stage 3 curriculum as the ‘3Cert’; courses that have been planned to lead onto GCSEs. Students are assessed on an on-going basis, as teachers decide if they are ‘emerging’, ‘developing’ or ‘mastering’ in each term’s ‘I can’ statements. All statements are openly available for every subject on the Academy website:

Students’ progress in the ‘I can’ statements leads to certificates when they reach certain thresholds. Bronze is the first certificate and diamond is the highest, and represents a very high level of challenge. Certificates are awarded in the following order: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, diamond. If no certificate is shown next to a subject, it means the student is working towards bronze in that area.

If you have any queries about the 3Cert please do read through the additional information on the website by clicking on the link above. If any questions are still unanswered, please contact me at

SAM Learning

As many of you will already know, we subscribe to a product called SAM Learning, where students can access a whole range of activities for their subjects in both Key Stages 3 and 4. SAM Learning usage goes from strength to strength, and we have already seen a mind-boggling 1,400 learner hours completed in September alone.

SAM Learning is a brilliant revision / catch-up tool that studies show improve students’ grades at all levels when used consistently. The main ingredient in its recipe for success is that when students make mistakes on tasks, they look carefully at where they went wrong, then re-try the exercise.

Here is a reminder about how to log on:

Centre ID: SW1CA

User ID: Your child’s date of birth, followed by their 2 initials in capital letters

Password: the same as their User ID

Example – Charlotte Church, whose date of birth is 23rd March 2005


In addition, it is worth noting that the highest SAM Learning users in each year group (also known as SAM Learning champions!) will receive £10 Amazon vouchers.

Show My Homework

Show My Homework continues to be our product of choice for communicating with you what Independent Learning your son / daughter needs to complete. We would strongly encourage you to download the app, create your own login using the details we sent to you via letter, then set up notifications so that you know exactly what work is due in, when. If there are issues with your son / daughter’s login, please could learning coaches be informed as soon as possible and they will know what action to take. Over 1,100 pieces of work have been set over the course of this month alone, so it is vital that students are accessing the app regularly.

It has been a very busy but very productive start to the term, with students working hard and clearly caring a lot about their academic performance. I look forward to the year continuing in a similar vein.

Tom Cragg,
Vice Principal, Curriculum.

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