Parent and Carer Information Events

What home learning plans will Edgar Wood have in place if issues with the pandemic continue? Would home learning then be in place for snow days or any other unexpected closures?

We will ensure that staff are trained to deliver online lessons, so that should a situation like this occur again in the future or if there are exceptional circumstances, such as snow days, we will be able to deliver online lessons.

Rochdale Sixth Form College, which is part of the Altus Education Partnership, has been nationally recognised for its online delivery by the Department for Education. RSFC are currently reviewing best practice and Edgar Wood Academy will adopt those best practice approaches to ensure that we are well prepared if the need arises to switch to remote learning.

What year will pupils select their GCSE options? What subjects are offered?

Students will choose their GCSE options in year 9, to start their courses from year 10. In year 9 there will be a parents and carers information evening. During that evening we will discuss the options process and highlight the areas to consider. There will also be representatives from the main colleges so that you are aware of how choices can affect post 16 destinations.

Edgar Wood Academy will offer a range of subjects: Mathematics, English Literature, English Language, Science (including separate sciences of Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Geography, History, RE, a Modern Foreign language, IT & Computing, Food Technology, Art, Drama, Music, PE and Design and Technology. We will regularly review our curriculum offer and may offer other additional courses.

There will also be some vocational options, such as Construction. We will work very closely with Rochdale Sixth Form College and Hopwood Hall College to ensure that our GCSE courses and vocational courses lead on to recognised qualifications.

Can you post a school prospectus to parents yet?

Due to the current pandemic, we have worked hard to ensure that our website provides far more information than a prospectus could provide, so, unfortunately, we are not able to post a prospectus to you at this moment.

We are developing a prospectus which will be available in the autumn, and we will be sending a copy of this to all our parents and carers when it is complete.

We are very aware that transition to secondary school can be daunting, and we are currently working on a transition booklet for year 6 students, parents and carers which will have information about key staff in the school, subjects, key dates, subject information, the rewards and sanctions at the school, form tutor groups and maps of the school to give you and the students as much information as possible.

How will the classes be organised during the first year at Hopwood Hall College? How will they be organised in the new school building?

The first year will be in temporary accommodation, there will be 5 classes of 24. The classes are deliberately small to ensure more time is given to students and that we can instil routines around behaviour, study skills etc.

As we move into the new building and we begin to recruit more staff, then we will look to set in certain subjects, such as Maths, English and Science, whilst other subjects will be mixed ability.

How will you stretch the higher ability children?

High-quality teaching is fundamental and we will ensure that all students will have aspirational targets. One of the benefits of small class sizes is that high-quality feedback is provided to students and that students are supported to act upon it.

Edgar Wood Academy will run a range of additional events and activities to enrich our student learning. There will be a very comprehensive range of enrichment clubs, for example, STEM clubs for those students interested in Maths, Engineering and Science. We will also put additional resources, such as reading lists, on our VLE, so that students can read a little bit wider around the topics they are studying.

Educational visits will be an important part of our curriculum. As part of our careers programme, starting in year 7 there will be visits to colleges and some of the best universities in the country. Edgar Wood Academy will participate in the Brilliant Club, which is a charity which aims to increase the number of students from underrepresented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities.

In year 9 the Scholars’ Group, with links to Rochdale Sixth Form College, will begin to study the HPQ (Higher Project Qualification), where students undertake an independent piece of academic work, aimed at developing core study skills, such as research.

During their GCSEs, years 10 and 11 will receive additional revision support to ensure students achieve their aspirational grades.

Whilst higher ability students need the opportunity to be stretched it is also vital that we ensure a good work/life balance is promoted and supported. Students throughout their time at Edgar Wood Academy will receive regular sessions to help balance their academic studies with a healthy and happy life.

With SATS not taking place, how will year 7 be assessed?

Edgar Wood Academy, like all other secondary schools throughout the country, is working closely with primary schools to ensure that we have a good understanding of the ability of the students joining us in September.

There are advanced discussions for assessments that are still to take place. Currently, these are likely to be reading, writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling and mathematic assessments. The primary schools will moderate the assessments and provide them to the local authority. So, whilst not ideal, some evidence of students’ learning and ability will be available.

Edgar Wood Academy is acutely aware of the impact the last year has had on students’ learning. As we would ordinarily plan, year 7 will undertake internal assessments and we will continually assess students over the year to ensure they are on track. This will be reported at parents and carers evenings and through school reports.

Reading is known to have a huge impact on students’ learning. Edgar Wood Academy will have three reading assessments a year, taken in English lessons and the results for these will help us to identify which students need some additional support to develop their reading and comprehension skills.

Will there be catch up lessons?

Edgar Wood Academy will be working closely with primary schools to identify which aspects of the curriculum have been missed.

In the planning for next year additional Mathematics and English sessions are being scheduled. There will be a combination of class sessions and more targeted intervention. A benefit of smaller class sizes ensures we maximise every opportunity to deliver additional literacy opportunities, for example ensuring that Heads of departments work in collaboration. This means that the work we do in English is reinforced in all our subject areas, allowing students to catch up on some of the missed content and skills.

What provision will be put in place to combat disruption from ongoing building works and moving buildings?

Ensuring minimal disruption has been paramount in our planning. This is a key benefit of having a temporary school at Hopwood Hall for our first year. The transition to our permanent new school at Bowlee will predominantly be done during the summer holidays in 2022, ensuring limited impact on teaching and learning.

How will staff and the senior leadership team be recruited? What level of experience will they have?

In our first year all staff at the Edgar Wood Academy will be either senior or middle leaders (Heads of Department), along with two newly qualified teachers. We are starting the process of recruiting staff and intend to have appointed an Assistant Headteacher and Head of Year from Easter and June 2021.  A key priority is that we have the right staff at the right time to ensure that the transition to Edgar Wood Academy from your child's current primary school is as seamless as possible.

Moving forward the staff requirements will be reviewed regularly as we add further cohorts. Delivering a strong teaching community with high expectations is at the heart of our planning.

Will school buses be arranged? Is transport available to take children to Hopwood Hall from the Heywood area?

We have met with Transport for Greater Manchester to consider a range of options. These discussions are currently ongoing. We aim to be able to provide clearer information about the bus routes, along with potential travel times and costs by our next information evening on Thursday 28 January 2021 at 6pm.

How many pupils will be in each form?

In 2021 we will have 120 students with 24 students in each form. We feel it is important to keep the groupings smaller as this will help us to establish our expectations with students, helping to create a calm and nurturing environment.

Please can you confirm if it is your proposal to fill all year groups in 2022 when the school building opens or whether the school will fill up on a yearly on intake?

We will fill the school one year group at a time. In 2022, we will only have 2 year groups in the school, year 8 (the current year 6), and a new year 7 (current year 5).

Will pupils wear a school uniform?

Yes, we are just finalising the design. It will be a traditional uniform, with a tie and blazer. Some pieces of uniform will be branded but these have been kept to a minimum, in order to keep the price as affordable as possible. More updates on our school uniform will be available at our next information evening on Thursday 28 January 2021 at 6pm.

Are there going to be any before or after school clubs available for children to attend?

We do expect students to attend enrichment clubs after school when we are in the permanent building. These will be accredited by Rochdale Sixth Form College as part of the Children’s University Programme and will result in a graduation ceremony. However, in year one when we are in temporary accommodation at Hopwood Hall, this would be voluntary due to the potential travelling issues.

On the website it states that some school days will finish at 3:45pm. I am concerned about my child walking that distance in the dark during the winter.

We take safeguarding very seriously and the safety of our children is of utmost importance. We will have staff on duty at the end of the school day to provide some assurance to parents, and we are working with Transport for Greater Manchester to ensure that there are bus routes available from the school at the end of the day. Further details will be provided on the next information evening on Thursday 28 January 2021.

General free school FAQs

What is a free school?

Free schools are independent, state-funded schools. They have the same legal status as academies.

Are free schools able to make a profit?

No. Free schools can only be set up and run on a not-for-profit basis by a charitable trust. The school will be run by the Headteacher and their leadership team and they will be answerable to a board of governors.

Why a new secondary school in Middleton?

There is a projected growth of primary school-aged pupils in the area. The Trust is committed to working with the Department for Education and Rochdale Borough Council to meet the pressing local need for secondary school places.

Where will the school be located?

Outline planning permission has been granted for the permanent site, which will be located on land at Bowlee, accessed off Heywood Old Road in the Middleton area of Rochdale. This will be a new modern building with state-of-the-art facilities.

Edgar Wood Academy is proposed to open with year 7 students in temporary accommodation within the grounds of Hopwood Hall College’s Middleton campus in September 2021. The permanent school building is targeted to open in September 2022.

When will the school open?

The school is proposed to open in September 2021 with 120 students in year 7 with a view to increasing the PAN (published admission number) to 180 in year two of operation.

How big will the academy be?

The size of the school when full will be 900 pupils.

The academy will be large enough to meet the demand for additional school places but small enough to offer an intimate and caring approach to all pupils and families.

Why are you proposing to open with only year 7 classes?

Our proposed intake reflects where demand for places has been identified. When starting a new school, we believe that it is vitally important to nurture the first year and establish the culture of the new school. Our first year 7 classes will also be our first classes to take GCSEs or equivalent qualifications, and to be able to work with them exclusively for their first year will establish solid foundations for their success.

Have you chosen a Headteacher for Edgar Wood Academy?

Marcin Kojder has been appointed as Headteacher Designate. Please click here for further information.

Are free schools selective?

No. All free schools have to follow the Admissions Code in the same way as all state-funded schools and our inclusive admissions policy will at all times be open, transparent and fair. We will be working closely with colleagues at the DfE and at the local authority throughout the admissions process. Children of all abilities and from all backgrounds will be welcome to apply.

If the school opens, will that mean less money for the other schools in the area?

No. Funding for free schools will be equivalent to the funding of maintained schools and academies in the same local authority area. The opening of a free school does not mean that the overall funding available in an area goes down. However, the total funding an individual school receives will depend on the number of pupils attending.

Will the Edgar Wood Academy be inspected by Ofsted?

Yes. All free schools are subject to inspection in the same way as other academy category schools. The school is also inspected by Ofsted prior to opening and will be subject to termly visits from the DfE during its first year.

How will the school be accountable?

The school will be run by the headteacher and a Local Academy Council who will be accountable to the charitable trust which oversees the school. In addition, the school will be accountable to the Secretary of State for Education through the terms of its funding agreement.

Although we are working closely with Rochdale Borough Council, for 2021 admissions only, applications should be made directly to the school.

Parents who have not yet applied for a place at Edgar Wood Academy and wish to add their child to the waiting list for a 2021 year 7 place are asked to complete the short online application form at www.edgarwood.org/apply.

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As we open in September 2021, we do not yet have an Ofsted report or exam results to share with parents.